Zoran Bundalo Ph.d., Director, High Railway School of Vocational Studies, Belgrade

Our Time is Yet to Come

The High Railway School of Vocational Studies, Belgrade has been educating future staff for the needs of the railway for 63 years, while it additionally organises prestigious international scientific and professional consultations, participates in the development of studies, projects and research aimed at improving the development of rail transport in the country and the region

Zoran Bundalo

In accordance with the current needs of the economy and society, and within the scope of the Academy of Technical and Artistic Vocational Studies of Belgrade, we will continue developing new study programmes that educate students for certain professional profiles for which a clearly expressed need exists, states professor Bundalo.

The High Railway School of Vocational Studies, Belgrade was established as far back as 1957, when education courses lasted two years. How has the college and its programmes changed?

– There was initially only one department – Traffic – but in 2007 the School grew into the The High Railway School of Vocational Studies. Basic vocational studies are taught in five study programs: 

High Railway School of Vocational Studies Logo

Railway Transport, Railway Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering in Transport, Commercial Railway Operations and Public Urban and Industrial Traffic. Vocational master’s studies are taught in three study programmes: Transport Engineering, Electrical Engineering in Transport and Commercial Operations in Transport.

Basic vocational studies last three years (six semesters) and carry a total of 180 ECTS, while vocational master’s studies last an additional two years (four semesters) and carry 120 ECTS.

Interest in the The High Railway School of Vocational Studies among young people is growing year on year. Do you have the spatial capacity for all of them? What kind of working conditions do you offer them?

– In addition to personnel and the modernising of teaching, there have also been investments in space and equipment. Today we have an amphitheatre with 163 seats, six traditional classrooms, three computer suites and three laboratories, cabinets of teachers and associates, the spaces of the school’s professional services and a library.

All classrooms are equipped with projectors that ease our work and the conducting of teaching, especially for applied vocational classes. We also have several specialised equippedspaces for laboratory and experimental work – laboratories for physics and electrical engineering, energy, electronics and stable electric traction plants, computer laboratories, rooms with a specialised simulator of stationary settings and telecommunications control in rail traffic.

You have eight study programmes, 2,000 square metres of space and the latest equipment, but how do you stand when it comes to staff; to lecturers?

– The school has 25 teachers who are employed on a full-time basis and cover over 80 per cent of classes. The scientific title of ‘doctor of science’ is held by 13 professors of vocational studies, while the academic title of ‘master of science’ is held by five lecturers. One teacher of practical courses and six teaching assistants hold the academic title of ‘master’. The remaining classes are covered by part-time teaching staff and associates from the business.

Thanks to TEMPUS projects, we’ve improved the quality of studies and student services, and developed cooperation with numerous higher education institutions

We are proud of the scientific research work of our lecturers that’s focused on writing textbooks, working on studies and major projects, publishing expert scientific articles, giving presentations at scientific gatherings in the country and abroad, writing reviews for textbooks and other professional literature, knowledge innovation, monitoring local and foreign professional literature in the relevant fields etc.

The school participated successfully in two TEMPUS projects, thanks to which it improved the quality of studies and student services, and developed cooperation with numerous foreign and domestic higher education institutions.

Where do your students acquire practical knowhow? Do you have good cooperation with companies and other educational institutions?

– Our school has 57 contracts for business and technical cooperation with a large number of companies, higher education institutions and institutes both in the country and abroad. We collaborate with 11 railway companies from Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the Directorate for Railways of the Republic of Serbia, 23 faculties, institutes and colleges from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Bulgaria and the Russian Federation, as well as with 22 manufacturing, freight forwarding and logistics companies from Serbia and Croatia.

It is thus no surprise to anyone that our students quickly and easily find work upon graduation. Many of them also work in management positions, where they’ve proven to be successful holders of functions. It is an honour for us that our former students are now leaders of the railway profession on the railways of the former Yugoslav republics.

You have a rich, bright history behind you, as well as a great future ahead of you. What kind of path has been outlined for the The High Railway School of Vocational Studies?

– Under the scope of the reform of higher education, the Government of the Republic of Serbia’s decision of 29th August 2019 established a higher education institution called the Academy of Technical and Artistic Vocational Studies of Belgrade. A status change was made with the merging of five vocational higher schools – High School of Applied Railway Studies, the High School of Electrical Engineering and Applied Computer Studies, the High School of Vocational Studies for Information and Communication Technologies, the High School of Civil Engineering and Geodesy, and the High School of Applied Textile Studies for Design, Technology and Management. This reform will streamline higher vocational education and contribute to ensuring a better and higher-quality education for young people.

We are proud of the more than 6,000 students who gained higher education diplomas with us and who today apply their knowledge and skills across the region

For everything that it has achieved during the past 63 years, the High Railway School of Vocational Studies has reason to be proud. In accordance with the current needs of the economy and society, and within the scope of the Academy of Technical and Artistic Vocational Studies of Belgrade, we will continue developing new study programmes that educate students for certain professional profiles for which a clearly expressed need exists.

Your vision extends beyond the borders of Serbia. Can you tell us more about that?

– Out vision is to achieve a unique relationship throughout the European higher education area, to attain the highest standards of quality in certain areas and to occupy a high place in the company of the best. The continuous process of perfecting our own resources and equipment increases the value and quality of our vision, even ahead of the demands of society.

In the process of realising our vision, we will expand our competences and complement them with partnerships with faculties and vocational colleges in the country and abroad, exchanges of teaching staff and students, and the joint implementation of projects, which leads to the gradual adopting of rules from the global education system.

Our tasks in the coming period are, primarily, to continuously innovate and modernise study programmes in accordance with the demands of the market for the personnel that we educate, the organising of expert meetings and the improving of research work alongside constant publishing.