Serbia ranked number 1 in the world by brain drain

BELGRADE – President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) Vladimir Kostic warned yesterday that Serbia is ranked first in the world by brain drain and added that in 10 to 15 years there could be a serious deficit of available resources with higher education, reported Serbian portal “Koreni”.

“Certain data indicate a scenario: more rooms than students, and less students then we need for development. One of the consequences is the race for students, considering that is the basis of financial security for higher education institutions. And what about the quality?” warned Kostic in an interview with Novi magazin.

He reminded that according to PISA testing in 2012, 45.5 percent of students in Serbia are functionally illiterate, while only two percent of students were in the highest category and that it certainly isn’t the fault of students.

Kostic cited as a problem the quality of teachers, because criteria of promotion are low and non-specific, but also, as he said, “unreasonable expansion of education institutions”.

“For example, 2000/2001 we had 86 faculties, a decade later, 236 (209 state and 27 private), with 1,228 study programs. In addition, in 2010, only a list of names of managers contains 25 names the market does not recognize. A sad conclusion: the shortage of competent teachers… There is a dramatic jump in the number of defended doctoral dissertations: from 206 in 2007 to 770 in 2012,” he said.

The first man of SANU recalled that the recent report of World Economic Forum shows Serbia ranked number one in the world in brain drain, or the departure of experts to work in other countries, while at the capacity for innovations it is ranked 132nd of 140 countries surveyed.

“Compared to the number of people with college or university listed in 1971, the share of the most educated in the “foreign-migrant contingent” of Serbia at the end of this decade of the 21st century has been increased by more than 11 times,” said Kostic.

He said that therefore it is necessary to introduce a number of changes such as the review of the dimensions of the system, prevention of dislocation of young people to areas that are not necessary for the development of Serbia, the introduction of national ranking of higher education institutions and raising the quality of doctoral studies.

It is also necessary to unify criteria for the selection of teachers independently of institutions, include foreign universities in the evaluation system on different levels and enable reciprocal migration from university and in it, as well as mobility of students and teachers within Serbia itself.


  1. Their Kosher Master plan has been executed to perfection, as the farm animals continue to challenge each other, over who is the smartest of the mixed breed !
    At the end the day, the Master will have the last say …

  2. “Certain data indicate a scenario: more rooms than students, and less students then we need for development.”

    Actually it is the students leaving – after they get their free education at Serbian taxpayers’ expense. So if there are less students then Serbia won’t be subsidizing brains for other countries.
    It is also too bad that many of the students go to NATO countries instead of countries which didn’t kill Serbs and bomb Serbian schools.

    • As a brain who drained away, I do no care which country, as long as I can live nice.

      Almost got killed by NATO bombing, but as well almost got killed by fellow neighboor, same fools in the end.

      If Serbia becomes a better place, I would gladly come back. If not, I stay where is nicer to live :)

      • Well no one can say you are a true patriot, unless you have done some kind of humanitarian work back in Serbia, or sent money to an organization which you definitely knew was helping Serbs, or you sent it directly to people who needed aid, including family/relatives.

  3. The common thing in Europe is for students to spend some time studying abroad. It is a good praxis, it helps students to form as persons and as future experts in their fields. In one hand the problem with Serbia is that rare are those who want to come back after spending certain time abroad. And no one can nor should blame them! Only IT sector is not in a bad shape, and if you work as an IT expert you are destined to look at your peers doctors, plumbers, engineers, biologists, linguists, architects, electricians, psychologists and all the others living on a bare minimum, struggling or planning on leaving.

    “A sad conclusion: the shortage of competent teachers…” In Europe, people in academia are encouraged to change institution every couple of years until finding the tenure position in order to exchange and expand the knowledge. The usual academic path in Serbia is student, teaching assistant, docent, associate professor and full professor. And the most common way to achieve it is to stay in the same classroom (and ofc the institution) while advancing. Even those who want to come back to Serbia after finishing for example PhD abroad, in the majority of cases can not, because they were not the part of the system from the beginning. It should also be mentioned that the average university professor discourages people to come back, feeling threatened by their knowledge, youth and enthusiasm.

  4. Not to long ago, in our very own solar Galaxy we had country called Yugoslavia . A well designed and implemented Socialist blueprint, for a Farm animal Experiment that had its run for many many years.

    Education was basically Free for all with a Special hidden undertaking ” Uci sine skolu da nista ne radis ” Life was good ?
    Which brings me to the point, deep down to the very bone of it ~ can this brainwashing after so many years be our reap the rewards, for the future of our next GENERATIONS.
    Lets annualize this carefully now … Brain Drain or is it really Brain Dead ??

  5. What Serbia needs is more entrepreneur-ism where people start their own business and don’t rely on the buddy/friend/nepotism system. Unfortunately communism crushed or chased away many Serbs who were entrepreneurs when Tito took power (and that is those who survived the WWII bombings/genocide).

    But today, with the internet and e-commerce, Serbs can supplement their sales by using it to reach a much broader and larger customer base. I know there are some Serbian craftspeople who do this. I think it can be expanded by hooking up Serbs with IT experience with entrepreneurs and crafts folk. They can have a storefront/webpage online and can advertise and/or sell through it.