On Thursday 19 April 2012, the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence supported by Erste Foundation organized the second round table dedicated to the issue of strong need for an adequate qualifications system in Serbia, with a special emphasis on the existing problems with recognition of foreign qualifications.
This roundtable is part of a wider initiative that aims to emphasize the importance of the reform of the qualifications system in the context of building human capital in Serbia. At the same time, this initiative addresses the problem of unequal access to the labor market of those whose qualifications are not automatically recognized, or do not exist in the current qualifications system. Such are, for example, degrees from foreign universities, some of the new "Bologna" degrees obtained at various Serbian universities and qualifications gained from non-formal or informal education.
Presentations were given by professor Neda Bokan, vice rector of Belgrade University and the Chairperson of the Working Group of the Ministry of Education and Science, which was entrusted with the preparation of the draft law on recognition of foreign qualifications, professor Srdjan Stankovic, President of the National Council for Higher Education, the body that has been entrusted with the development of the Higher Education portion of the National Qualifications Framework, professor Radivoje Mitrovic, State Secretary of Education and Science, as well as the representatives of the Institute for the Improvement of Education, Serbian European Integration Office, National Employment Service and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. Among the participants of the roundtable were also representatives of the ministries of education, economy and regional development, youth, diaspora, members of the academia, the media and representatives of civil society.
Through presentations and round table discussions, the participants made a cross-section of the current situation in the system of qualifications and mapped its various shortcomings. The main result of the roundtable is a list of suggested practical steps for the next government, which need to be made in order to establish an adequate qualifications system. The key proposals are: (a) the process of reforming the qualifications system should be coordinated from the level of the Prime minister’s Cabinet. This process should be viewed in the context of building human capital, social inclusion, and harmonization with EU legislation and the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, (b) the separate processes in the development of the National qualifications framework for different levels of formal education ("pre-university" and "university ") need to be integrated as soon as possible, (c) a law regulating the recognition of foreign qualifications needs to be developed in line with the Lisbon Recognition Convention and the EU directives and other regulations concerning professional qualifications.