The institutional conditions of adapting to future challenges in the Serbian education system
CEU Center for Policy Studies
Place of Publication:
CPS Working Papers
This paper presents the analytical study of the contemporary Serbian educational system in the relation with two past decades and continuous challenges expected in the societal, economic, technological, demographic and political environment in the nearest future. These future changes are already imposing serious adaptation challenges to individual schools and school systems. The paper aims to create a case study of Serbian educational system that could be compared to the other educational systems in Eastern Europe with a joint framework of a country that witnessed dramatic social change from communistic to the “neoliberal” societies based on free market economy (“transition”). The study focuses on the following five sets of major external challenges: (1) the impact of new technologies on the labor market, (2) demographic changes and the new patterns of migration, (3) the impact of populist and authoritarian politics, (4) prevailing old and emerging new societal inequalities and (5) the impact of the globalization of learning environments and the internationalization of education. Paper starts with a broad overview about historical and social changes in the last 30 years important to understand current changes and anticipating future challenges. It continues with the more in-depth view of the major and broad social changes in the last five years that had impact on the education policies interpreting also the signals from the political and social system. Study addresses the preparedness for adaptation to the growing and changing skill demands on the labour market due to the technology innovation, economy changes and fluctuating and unstable labour markets as well as a more centralised political system. Study also describes the school level and government level of capacities for future challenges through the lens of the recent policy changes. At the end, study tries to anticipate the future adaptation capacity of the Serbian education system in facing strange and unseen crisis caused by COVID – 19, seeing this unfortunate event as some kind of experiment in vivo that can depict the flexibility and capacities of the teacher and students, as well as policy makers to cope with stressful and unexpected circumstances.