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.