Corporate: Milovan Stanišić Ph.D., President of Singidunum University:

Study Programmes for Faster Employment

Although Serbia is only just introducing a dual education system, Singidunum University has for years insisted, in cooperation with industry, on a better education and observation of the quality of students, which leads to a third of graduates gaining employment already during their practical training placements in companies

Singidunum University is Serbia’s first private university to be accredited under the new Law on Higher Education and whose curricula are aligned with the principles of the Bologna Declaration and enable the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All study programmes are market-orientated, which improves the quality of education and the rate of employability of graduates both in the country and abroad.

How would you evaluate conditions for the development of dual education in Serbia and what are the preconditions for its full implementation?

The starting conditions for dual education are not favourable. Following privatisation and during the war years industry was devastated and, with industrial capacities becoming obsolete, we do not have enough successful, modern, appropriately staffed companies, or employees in them that have the theoretical knowledge presented to students in real factories and in the sphere of real business.

Singidunum University has 10,000 students and cooperates with over 500 companies. How do those companies respond to the drive to employ young people through the process of dual education, which has not yet been institutionalised in Serbia?

We have for years been developing relationships with businesses in the field of dual education. The effort and investment have paid off in manifold ways, because in that way, through cooperation with industry, we have ensured a better education and better observation of student quality. For these reasons, about a third of students gain employment during the course of their practical training placements in companies, while a further twenty per cent gain employment in those same companies after graduation. Mandatory work placements in the third and fourth year of studies for students of economics, tourism, hospitality, information technology, software engineering, electrical engineering and English Language is actually their ticket into the business world. Many of our students take advantage of that in the proper way.

After the testing of students’ aptitude and capabilities for professional orientation and talks about motives, they receive our stance regarding their predispositions for certain study programmes. However, the will of students or parents is decisive

What standards does Singidunum University apply in order to provide high-quality candidates for the market that can be included in work processes as quickly as possible?

We apply a quality standard that we have created ourselves. High quality and advanced study programmes, high quality teaching staff, classes held in Serbian or English, our own or high quality textbooks, a combination of theory and practice, the learning of at least two foreign languages, acquiring IT knowhow in all study programmes, gaining personal and business skills etc. One special advantage is our young teachers, who completed their doctorate at the world’s most prestigious universities and who return to our country and take up employment with us. There is also the evaluation of teaching and extracurricular activities by students.

In the last couple of years we have had a special activity of the University focused on the formation of our own companies, or companies with foreign partners, through which we offer students practical training. That improves the quality of education and raises the percentage of graduates who are employable both in the country and abroad

Due to all of the aforementioned, we have a good market position, and an ever increasing number of foreign students study at our university.

In the last couple of years we have had a special activity of the University focused on the formation of our own companies, or companies with foreign partners, through which we offer students practical training. That improves the quality of education and raises the percentage of graduates who are employable both in the country and abroad.

As a university that educates highly qualified personnel for the market and experts in different domains, in which fields do graduates most quickly gain employment?

Almost all of our study programmes are well positioned on the market. In recent years the leading area has been the rate of employment of software engineers, graduate engineers of modern information technology, graduates in information technology, electrical engineers, graduates in economics for accounting and auditing, banking and finance, human resource management, graduate economists specialising in hospitality management, tourism and the food economy.

To what extent can the University influence the professional orientation of students when it comes to their real abilities for work in a specific profession?

The University has an advisory role. After the testing of students’ aptitude and capabilities for professional orientation and talks about motives, they receive our stance regarding their predispositions for certain study programmes. However, the will of students or parents is decisive. We also have a Career Development Centre for students that engages in consulting work, finds work practice placements and organises work practice fairs and employment…

Will Singidunum University adjust its teaching plans and programmes in order to further harmonise with the international standards of dual education?

We will certainly change and improve study programmes in order for students to be better trained when they head into the real world of business. They will, with the help of new and improved study programmes, and in a shorter period of time, achieve better results on the labour market, and thus secure paid working posts and positions. Likewise, let’s not forget that this also means that employers acquire a trained and qualified workforce. That also impacts on our market position in the field of higher education.