Posted on August 29, 2012

Literature review on higher education & research in the Western Balkans

Few national higher education systems or policies can claim to operate in total isolation from their international environment. Systemic changes and policy shifts in higher education are linked in various ways to what is happening in the international arena, as well as to developments in other national systems. (Gornitzka, A.)

In the framework of the project “European Integration of Higher Education and Research in the Western Balkans”, a literature review report on the existing knowledge on higher education and research in the Western Balkans has been prepared. The aim of the report is to review theoretical and empirical material about the relationship between (a) European initiatives in higher education and more general European integration process and (b) national policy developments in the Western Balkan countries (WBC).

The review focuses on three types of scholarly sources: (a) more general studies on European integration and Europeanization of public policy, predominantly belonging to comparative politics, policy analysis and international relations, (b) studies on European integration and Europeanization in higher education and (c) studies mapping higher education policy developments since the end of 90s and early 2010s until present day in the countries under study.

The review, among other things, demonstrates that the Western Balkan countries are primarily similar in terms of the embeddedness of higher education policy development in European processes, such as the Bologna Process and EU’s Lisbon Agenda. Further similarities, though to a lesser extent, include some commonalities with respect to Communist heritage, with a clear distinction between Albania and the countries that were part of the former Yugoslavia. In addition, the countries are also somewhat different with respect to the size of their higher education systems (number of students and institutions), participation rate (expressed as Gross Enrolment Eatio) as well as investment into higher education and research capacity.

The literature review has been included in our recently launcher Working Paper Series.

You can download the full paper here.


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Project partners

  • University of OsloUniversity of Oslo
  • University of ZagrebUniversity of Zagreb
  • Faculty of Political SciencesFaculty of Political Sciences
  • Centre For Education PolicyCentre For Education Policy
  • Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and EducationNordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education

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