6th Ministerial Meeting of the Western Balkans Platforms on Education and Training & Research and Innovation was held in Belgrade on September 28-29, 2017. Meeting in Belgrade was a continuation of initiative launched in 2012 in Danilovgrad in the field of education and training in the Western Balkans region. These meetings are is aimed at identifying joint priorities at regional level, as well as possibilities for further elaboration of these ideas, that may serve as topics of interest for potential joint projects supported by EU funds.
Meeting was organized in form of panel discussions of ministers of education and ministers of science, as well as alumni who are drivers of regional alumni association. This association as such is one of the products of previous ministerial meeting, and is aimed at encouraging youth to use mobility programmes, as well as to encourage marginalized students` group to use mobility opportunities. European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics actively participated in this panel.
This year meeting was in a way different from previous ones, because it included science and research in the platform, since one of the conclusions from previous meeting was necessity of close cooperation of these two sectors.
Topics of importance for WB region have been identified at the meeting, such as recognition of foreign educational credentials, quality assurance, as well as ranking of HEIs in the region. An issue of better visibility of HEIs in the region has been raised too, and their involvement in Erasmus Mundus joint programmes. Allocation of funds for mobility in primary and secondary education was mentioned for the first time. This issue will be subject of further discussion at some of the following meetings.
It was also concluded that it would be necessary to establish regional centers of excellence, as a model to overcome problems regarding participation of WB region in EU research projects. In that way, by using regional infrastructure, WB region could become more competitive and could better use possibilities of participation in EU research programmes, Horizon 2020, in the first place.