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A team of researchers in Serbia have for the second time undertaken a national student satisfaction survey to rank universities in the country. They conducted the research on a sample of 5 169 students and recent graduates from 76 public and private universities. The 84 questions in the questionnaire were divided into 6 areas related to students' experiences: 1) Studies: price to overall quality 2) Quality of study programmes 3) Staff behaviour towards students 4) Extracurricular activities 5) Infrastructure 6) Future prospects. The objective of the research was to compare the results of the prior ranking in 2012 and to reflect the developments in the higher education system in Serbia through the eyes of its students.
Based on the overall ranking, two public universities top the chart – one is Belgrade and the other is Novi Sad. The two highest-ranked institutions are the Belgrade Faculty of Organisational Sciences and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering while the third place belongs to the Novi Sad’s Faculty of Technical Sciences.
Looking at the six criteria separately, two out of the six top spots are taken by a private university – Megatrend. One is with regard to the staff treatment of students (politeness, helpfulness, etc.) and the other one is the infrastructure, i.e. conditions for studying. Megatrend University has for long been widely frowned upon for the supposedly low quality of teaching. Its negative publicity only culminated recently after its president had been accused of plagiarising one of his two PhD theses. On top of that, he was involved in a few other cases of suspected plagiarism at the government level. Nevertheless, despite dubious top management activities, it seems that students see the university as good value for money.
Comparing the 2012 and 2014 results, the overall conclusion is that the universities are lower-marked in 2014, mostly due to sluggish reforms in higher education. Major dissatisfaction is attributed to the slow modernisation of curricula, a lack of traineeship provision and of career guidance centres.