Violeta Jovanović Ph.D., Dean Of The Faculty Of Education In Jagodina, University Of Kragujevac:

No Better Teachers Than Ours

The educators and teachers of the 21st century are highly educated, creative and free-thinking personalities trained not only to work in Serbia, but also throughout the world, thanks to their knowledge of foreign languages

The state has finally begun to recognise the enormous potential of teaching personnel and to include them in the educational process, thus as of this year teachers will be able, besides languages, to teach computer science in the higher grades of primary schools.

Although the first association with your higher education institution is its rich tradition, you are managing to respond to the demands of the 21st century education system faster than others. Do you simply monitor those demands, or do you also create them?

– The Faculty of Education in Jagodina represents an avant-garde higher education institution that has cooperated very actively with the most distinguished universities in Europe and around the world over the last two decades. Thanks to this fact, but also a tradition of education dating back 120 years, our faculty has created a unique curriculum that – over the course of bachelor’s and master’s studies – not only prepares students to be teachers, but also educators of a single subject in the higher grades of primary school. Accordingly, as of this academic year, following the decision of the Ministry of Education, teachers will be able to teach, apart from the English language, computer science in the higher grades of primary schools. We are glad that the state has begun to recognise the enormous potential of teaching personnel and to involve them in the educational process at both levels of basic education.

Your college is one of the few that manages to fill all available places as early as the first enrolment period. How do you explain this fact?

– We are convinced that students opt for our faculty due to its stimulating working atmosphere, excellent material-technical conditions for work, expertise and the level of pedagogical training of lecturers, as well as due to the large number of extracurricular activities that enable young people to discover and develop their talents and interests. A unique entrance exam, which selects the best candidates for work in education, a wide range of courses for foreign languages, IT, inclusive education and subjects conceived with contemporary concepts of methodology, along with many hours of professional work placement practise in schools and nurseries, produces our finished students – teachers and educators with the top level of expertise who are happily seen not only in the most elite schools in the country, but also throughout Europe and America.

Also contributing to the popularity of the Faculty of Education is the fact that the local self-government of Jagodina, a small but dynamic provincial city, takes care of students and young people like very few other municipalities in Serbia

Thanks to your international cooperation programme, your students and professors have for years monitored the work of their colleagues from the region and the majority of Europe’s most developed countries. How important is that for advancing the education system in Serbia as a whole?

– Thanks to international cooperation within the framework of our numerous development projects, our faculty has accredited several master’s programmes that should contribute to the professionalisation of education specialists. The master’s programmes of Educational Policy and Leadership in Education, as well as the master’s programme Education of Professors for Subject Teaching, were created in collaboration with the top European colleges. Thanks to the offer of 40 syllabuses in English, our Faculty can host foreign students and professors under the auspices of the Erasmus plus programme. It simultaneously enables our students to spend part of their education at prestigious European universities and thereby prepare for work not only in our country, but also elsewhere in the area of European education.