This year, as part of the project “Conducting graduate surveys and improving alumni services for enhanced strategic managements and quality improvement” (CONGRAD), a number of higher education institutions (HEIs) from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia will embark on a joint venture to conduct a graduate survey. This will be the first time for a HEI in the Western Balkans region to conduct a systematised survey on its graduates.
The graduate survey covers all types of degrees: new degrees like Bachelor, Master and PhD, and old degrees like Basic Studies and Magister and all graduates who completed a degree in 2007 and 2012 (or academic years 2006/07 and 2011/2012) will be invited to participate by their institutions. The survey focuses on the assessment of study programmes offered at respective HEIs and the professional career after graduation. The topics it will cover are: course of studies, employment situation after graduation, transition to first job, qualifications, professional career and professional success, relationship between studies and work, satisfaction with employment situation and retrospective assessment of study offerings and study conditions.
Why are graduate surveys important?
Graduate surveys aim at exploring the development of the graduates’ professional careers after graduation in relation to the study programmes they have completed. With their experiences in both domains – higher education and the world of work – graduates can be perceived as experts regarding the transition from higher education to the labour market. They can assess their previous study programmes and study conditions, and relate them to their work experiences.
The information obtained are valuable for quality assurance and for the improvement of study programmes, teaching and service facilities. The graduates’ feedback is one of the most important sources of information for evidence-based decision-making at HEIs.
Participants in the survey will have an opportunity to provide valuable suggestions how study programmes and study conditions at their higher education institutions could be improved. The survey results can be used to design study programmes according to the needs of the students and with regard to labour market demands, or in career guidance and counselling for current students and recent graduates. Also, prospective students can refer to the results for when making course decisions and exploring prospects of professional careers.
CONGRAD is a TEMPUS IV Joint Project within the period from October 2011 until October 2014 and has been funded with support from the European Commission. It brings together eight Serbian, one Montenegrin, two Bosnian and four EU institutions from Germany, Czech Republic, Finland and Spain in a collaborative network. Centre for Education Policy (Belgrade) is leading project's Analytical Unit and will be assisting HEIs from the region in establishing the practice of graduate surveys.
CONGRAD addresses the need of higher education institutions in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve their institutional strategic management and self-evaluation capacities by the establishment of a Graduate Contacts Collection System and the implementation of regular Graduate Surveys.
More about the project, participating institutions and the activities can be found at www.congrad.org.