For the second time, PERFORM supported Public Policy Days organised by the Group for Analysis of Public Policies (GAJP) at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade.
PERFORM Deputy Manager Nenad Celarevic moderated the first session on Demography and Population Policy. Giving a presentation on the importance of demography and population policies, Minister Slavica Djukic Dejanovic said:
“Serbia is characterised by depopulation and there are only six municipalities with a positive natural growth.”
She stressed that Serbia is ranked 8th in Europe by the median age of population:
“Some of the measures of the Government of Serbia to resolve demographic and population issues include financial assistance to the families with three or four children, battling the issue of infertility, support to the local self-government units in the regions where population problems are most pronounced.”
Prof. Mirjana Rasevic from the Centre for Demography at the Institute of Social Sciences talked about conditions that affect the degree of migration in Serbia:
“Although the assessment of the economic situation is one of the most important factors, there are others such as the level of development of democracy in the country, the building of institutions in society, the status of women, the level of environmental protection, climate conditions, and the sense of security.”
Earlier this year, PERFORM supported GAJP in conducting a study on the quality of PhD studies in Serbia. Boban Stojanovic from GAJP presented the results of this study at a session moderated by PERFORM Programme Officer Jelena Mirkovic. He talked about some of the main problems faced by PhD students: discretionary power of committees that conduct admission interviews, lack of good quality subjects dealing with methodology of research and research skills, access to various scientific journals, visits to scientific conferences, funds for field and empirical research, as well as mentoring relationship.
Prof. Dr Ivanka Popovic, Rector of the University of Belgrade confirmed that raising the quality of PhD studies is important:
“PhD studies present an opportunity to start research work and they should enable students to become independent researchers.”
Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development, Mr Bojan Tubic said that the Ministry is working on several draft laws that will be an improvement of previous legislation and are expected to be adopted by the end of the year.
“The Ministry is here to support ideas proposed by the faculties with the aim of improving the quality of PhD studies”, said Mr Tubic.
The Sixth Public Policy Days were yet again a success. In addition to the above, the students of the Faculty of Political Sciences had an opportunity to engage with policy- and decision-makers in discussing important issues, such as dual education, policy toward national minorities, the impact of ideology on public spending, and the protection of copyrights. Engaging students to discuss about various public policies will raise their interest to contribute to better quality policies in their future careers.