The main aim of the project is to improve the competences of higher education graduates in Montenegro, through the development of generic model of dual education (DUALMON model) and legal framework for introduction of dual education in order to support different needs and interests of students, companies, higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country and to provide recommendations to HEIs for implementation of dual education in the entire Montenegro. The model will be implemented, as a pilot test, at four faculties of University of Montenegro, from different fields: Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality and Faculty of Maritime Studies.
Development of generic model of dual education (DUALMON model) will be conducted through transfer of knowledge from HE institutions from programme countries: University of Novi Sad (Serbia), FH Joanneum Gesellschaft M.B.H. (Austria), and Academia (Slovenia). Dual education in Austria and Slovenia is considered to be very successful and Austrian model is among the best in the world. FH Joanneum and Academia have several dual educational programs in the fields of information and communication technologies, engineering and engineering trades, and manufacturing and processing, while University of Novi Sad has participated in the project of introduction of dual education in Serbia and has experienced teaching staff in the implementation of dual education and development of legal framework in HE.
The overall aims of the project are:
- Improvement of the competencies of higher education graduates in Montenegro, according to the needs of employers,
- Increase motivation to study as well as to improve the employability of graduate students,
- Enable students from lower income families to access higher education, and
- Improvement of legal framework and accreditation standards in Montenegro in order to adapt to dual education.
Dual Higher Education (DHE) will enable students to acquire more relevant knowledge and skills by combining formal education with training acquired at the work place. The result of this type of education is reflected in the student’s higher competencies in accordance with the requirements of the employer, which makes it easier to find a job. Internship in the company often leads to the employment of a student in the same company. This will increase interest of companies to offer internships, but also the student’s motivation to study, as well as the desire to acquire professional skills during education. Possibilities for career development, more secure first job, and higher possibility for gaining employment will motivate young educated people to invest in themselves and study at the university.
Besides, the project will enable innovation and changes in the area of legal framework of accreditation process in Montenegro, because it aims at creating amendments to the law on HE and labour law, which will be submitted to the authorities, development of drafts of new law on dual education which will also be submitted to authorities, and creating amendments to accreditation standards which will be submitted to the authorities for approval and integration into the practice. These elements will lead to the greater match between universities in Montenegro and business companies, and between universities from this country and universities from other countries with well-developed dual education programs.
Also, it is expected that the companies would provide scholarships to selected students realizing their internships during their studies. This will help students, especially those from lower income families, to cover their costs during studies (tuition fees, accommodation costs etc.). The significance of this approach is reflected in the ability of students to earn during studies and to become more employable on the market.
In order to achieve these aims, the project needs to realize the following specific objectives:
- Define the specific needs of companies in various industrial sectors and find companies that are willing to participate in pilot implementation of dual higher education during the project;
- To develop a generic Dual Higher Education Model (DUALMON model) to support different needs and interests of employers, higher education institutions (HEIs) and students in different industrial and business sectors and to provide recommendations to HEIs for implementation of Dual Higher Education;
- To test the specific dual models generated from the developed generic DUALMON model, by realizing their pilot implementations during the project and to analyse achieved results; and
- To propose changes to legislation/regulations to implement dual higher education in Montenegro.
The aims of the project, set as the creation of the generic model of dual education (DUALMON model) to support different needs and interests of various stakeholders in Montenegro, changes of legislation/regulations in this area, and provision of recommendations to HEIs for implementation of dual education in entire Montenegro, are in the line with the national and international contexts. Creation of more universal educational trajectories through dual education and better connection between HE and companies in Montenegro is in line with the action of Capacity-Building in the Field of Higher Education. In the context of the partner country, the project will be bedrock for introducing practice-integrated dual study education as known in EU. Dual HE will enable students to acquire more relevant knowledge and skills by combining formal education with training acquired at the work place. As a consequence, this will provide them with competences that are more in line with the needs of companies, and they will get the opportunity to get jobs easier. In most cases, it is expected that they will get a job offer by the company that provided their internships, or at least a good recommendation for future employment. This will not only raise the motivation of students to study but also raise the interest of companies to offer internships and scholarships to students practising dual HE. Dual education will bring better and more intensive cooperation between industry and higher education and it will contribute towards the increase of innovation capacities. Students in dual education will be the channel for transferring knowledge and ideas from companies to academia and vice versa.
This is very important if we bear in mind several facts:
- a high unemployment rate of young people between 15 and 24, around 20.7%, in Montenegro,
- a trend of growing inactivity of young people, early dropout of education and long-term unemployment,
- low level of work experience of graduates,
- employers rarely recognize the graduates’ degree of competence,
- problems are in legislation, which does not recognize the student labour in manner of reducing the administrative procedures and tax obligations for employers enough to make the students a desirable workforce, etc.
The government in Montenegro is striving to introduce dual secondary education in order to solve most of the problems related to the youth unemployment since this problem leads to another one, called brain drain. The national employment agency implements advanced retraining or additional training in order to reduce unemployment among the surplus occupations. The project consortium sees this project as a long-term solution in the area of HE.