There are students that due to different reasons do not reach the bachelor degree or can not study regularely and in expected age. Dropout rates are high and many students with one or two years uncopeted bachelor studies abandon their studies. They need shorter studies prividing exact qualifications for certain jobs with beter employability prospects. Some employers are also looking for cost effective, but qualify labour for cerain jobs (evoiding overqualified and more expencive employees). Short cycle (SCHE) studies might be the solution for these cases. PT studies should offer to mosltly employed and adults students, more appropriate modes of studies. The Strategy on Education Development till 2020 in the Republic of Serbia identified the need for part-time (PT) and short cycle (SCHE) studies and two relevant action plans were adopted, as current HE system does not define neither PT nor SCHE studies. This project aims to address this problem, providing an appropriate legislation framework, tested and prepared for adoption.
From the aspect of organization of studies, Education Development Strategy in Serbia (but not the current HE system) is making distinction between two types of students: 1) those who study with normal speed (reaching 60 ECTS per year), and 2) those who are studying with slower pace (30-40 ECTS per year), which is adapted mainly for employed students. The Strategy also envisages students which should be able to complete their short programs (short-cycle), narrower and functionally related knowledge with up to 120 ECTS.
Why this problem was selected instead of others? Besides of implementing the Strategy, other most important reasons are:
- Widening access to HE: PT & SCHE will be more convenient for larger population of new students (shorter, cheaper, employability prospects, etc.)
- Increase of efficiency of bachelor studies: Students having difficulties to reach bachelor degree, instead of abandoning their studies (dropout), can choose short cycle programs.
- Making HE more flexible and in line with labour market: SCHE studies aim to provide necessary knowledge and skills sets exactly specified for certain jobs, providing HEs to offer shorter programs in line with needs of employers.
- Increase of employment: PT & SCHE studies usually target areas where employability is relatively high and promising. Unemployed may faster and easier get new qualifications according to labour market demands.
- Lifelong learning: with PT & SCHE, employees may easier upgrade or change their qualifications according to needs of employers.
As the final result, the HE system will become more relevant and adaptable to the labour market in Serbia.
As there is neither recognition nor legislative support of PT & SCHE studies in Serbia, the project will provide a very important and missing component of current HE system in Serbia. Due to this fact, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and National Council of Higher Education, not only supported, but also initiated creation of this consortium, and as project partners intend to work on legislation of these studies and realization of two Strategy’s action plans.
The project is also in line with national priorities specified for Erasmus + Structural Projects for Serbia (Categories B and D):
- Definition, implementation and monitoring the reform policies: The project will provide neccesary legislation documents for new, currently missing PT & SCHE studies in Serbia. Currently Serbia has no defined studies for EQF Level 5. PT & SCHE studies will nicely fill this gap of the HE system of Serbia.
- Non-University sector at tertiary education level: SCHE studies are expected to be mostly professional, instead of accademic, as part of tertiary eduction level, offered by all interested HEIs.
- Category B: New approach to personalized e-learning will be implemented providing flexible learning paths of students with different starting knowledge and skills.
In almost all EHEA countries, there are policies promoting flexible HE provision, but different countries have different views on policy support and they have different perspectives about diverse types of policy actions. In HE systems which are formally making difference between full-time students and students with other statuses, the most common alternative status to full-time student is the status of a part-time student. Yet, although all countries are formally recognising a part-time student status, they do not necessarily define it in the same way. The same case is when it comes to the short-cycle studies which either prepare for certain professions or are intermediate qualifications in programmes leading to a first-cycle degree. Also, the length of short-cycle studies can be different, from one year (60 ECTS) to three years (180 ECTS). With expected project outcomes, HE sytems in Serbia will become more integrated with EHEA and will provide studies for EQF Level 5.
PT&SCHE structure and methodology
In order to achieve the project objectives, all major types of working packages and needed activities with milestones are planned
Based on the analysis of EU practice and legislation in area of PT&SCHE studies, a report will be prepared with recommendations.
WP1 Benchmark analysis of the policies and legal frameworks for PT&SCHE in EU
1.1Analysis of policies and legal frameworks of PT&SCHE in EU
WP2 Development of legal frameworks for PT&SCHE: Based on the survey and roundtable discussions with stakeholders a draft of a poicy document with be prepared (M6) and presente on a conference with all stakeholdesr interested to discuss it (M7). Based on the conference discussions and conclusion a recommended poliicy document will be prepared (M8), legislation documents (M12) and accreditation criteria will be defined (M18).
Activities: 2.1Survey on needs of PT&SCHE, 2.2Round table discussions, 2.3Drafting policies for PT&SCHE, 2.4Conference, 2.5Definition of recommended policies, 2.6Definition of drafted legal framework for PT&SCHE, 2.7Definition of accreditation criteria for SCHE
WP3 Strengthening sustainability of PT&SCHE with adoption of eLearning technologies & pedagogical approaches: In order to implement some inovations (personalized e-learning) a specific authoring tool (M18) and eLearning platform (M24) must be devloped.
Activities: 3.1Analysis of needs and requirements for online PT&SCHE, 3.2Analysis of existing eLearning methodologies and technologies for PT&SCHE, 3.3Development & adoption of eLearning technologies & methodologies, 3.4Development of authoring tool, 3.5Development of eLearning platform
WP4 Organization and teaching methodologies of face-to-face (F2F) of PT studies: PT studies require special mode of studies (longer duration, felxibility, online) as they are mosly used by employed students. This WP will provide recommendations of organization of these studies (M12). Activities: 4.1Analysis of needs, existing practices & constraints of F2F PT studies (M9), 4.2Definition of recommendations for organization of F2F PT studies (M12)
WP5 Pilot implementation of online PT&SCHE programs: It aims to test proposed concepts, pedagogical and technological solutiions, to analyse their effectiveness and to generate implementation guidelines to HEs planning to implement PT & SCHE studies. Three online programs will have the pilot implmenetation. The education for the first group of PS & SCHE students wil start form 15-10-2017 (M25). After the first year, a survey and analysis of effectivness will be done. Activities: 5.1Development of curricula & course syllabi (M15). 5.2Development of eLearning material (M24), 5.3Purchase of equipment (M19), 5.4Set-up eLearning portal (M24), 5.5Implementation of online programs (34)
WP6 Pilot implementation of F2F PT&SCHE: It has the same aims as the aims of WP5, but related to face-to-face (F2F) studies. Two study programs will have their pilot implementations (M34). Activities: 6.1Development of curricula and course syllabi (M15), 6.2Development of teaching and learning material (M24), 6.3Implementation of 2 F2F programs (M34),
DISSEMINATION AND EXPLOITATION ACTIVITIES
WP7 Dissemination and exploitation of project activities and results: Tha main ams of this WP to raise awarness among stakeholders and general public for PT & SCHE studies. As new types of studies, it is importan to be publicely and professionally recognized as a significant new componennt of the HE systems in Serbia. The project final conference will present all project outcomes and provide recommendation and guidlelines for their succesful implementation in Serbia. Activities: 7.1Set-up D&E plan (M1), 7.2Design of project visual identity (M1), 7.3Design and setup project web site (M2), 7.4Raising awareness for PT&SCHE (permanent activity), 7.5Final Conference (M36).
QUALITY PLAN ACTIVITIES
WP8 Quality control and monitoring: It is important to define metics for meauring performances and effectivenes of PY & SCHU studies. These matrics will be defined (M15) and be implemented in pilot implementations of five F2F and online ST & SCHE programs (M34). Also, all project activities will be monitored and analysed in order to acgeived specified milestones and outcomes on time, and with appropriate quality. Activities: 8.1Defining plan for project QC (M2), 8.2Defining metrics for PT&SCHE (M16), 8.3Internal project monitoring and control (quartally), 8.4Monitoring metrics for pilot implementations (quartally)
WP9 Project management: This WP aims to coordinate and manage all project activities assuring timly delevery of planned outcomes, with expected or required quality. After the kick-off meeting in Estonija, six Steeering Committee meetings are planed (twice a year). Beside ovaerall management, one merson will be assigned to manage project activities locala, at eahc project partner site. Activities: 9.1Organization of coordination meetings (every 6 months), 9.2Coordination of overall project activities (permanent activity), 9.3Local project management (permanent), 9.4Reporting (M18 and M36).
Measurable indicators for both project activities and for PT & SCHE studies will be defined in WP8 and WP9. At this moment, we have the rough idea about these indicators. Project indicators: Start and end date of an activity, timely delivery of results as planned, quality of deliverables verified by QA team. PT studies: number of PT & SCHE students, dropout rates, average ECTS achieved per year, average mark per year, satisfaction level of students, satisfaction level of employers, % of employment 6 months after graduation, number of PT & SHE study programmes offered