Serbia split may plug Montenegro brain drain

July 21, 2006

The future of Montenegrin students at Serbian universities is in doubt after the separation of the two former Yugoslav states following the May referendum, writes Vera Rich.

The Serbian Government initially suggested that the Montenegrins would have the same status as Serbian students. But within days Mladjan Dinkic, Finance Minister, denied that any decision had been made.

Montenegrins enrolled at Serbian universities might find themselves next year treated as foreigners.

This prospect is not entirely negative for higher education in Montenegro.

There has been a brain drain of graduates from Montenegro - about 100 in the past eight years (a major loss for a country of fewer than 650,000 inhabitants) with Serbia attracting almost half of those.

Earlier this year, a joint project was set up by the University of Montenegro, Unesco-ROSTE and Hewlett-Packard in an attempt to halt the brain drain. It provides the university with computers and funding, allowing a database to be set up on the university website listing expatriate Montenegrin physicists and mathematicians willing to help train experts in these fields.

  • In Kosovo, the Albanian-taught University of Pristina has ended its long hiatus without a rector.

    Last month, a steering committee voted to appoint Enver Hasami. The news was greeted by Agim Ceku, Kosovo's (Albanian) Premier, as the "crown of the reforms" and the "finalisation of the efforts to return legitimacy to the university".

    But Serbian academics who set up a rival Serbian-taught University of Kosovo-Mitrovica, after Albanian-taught courses were reintroduced in Pristina, show no signs of a rapprochement.

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