O. Sedlak, Z. Ciric, A. Marcikic, D. Stojic

University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Economics Subotica (SERBIA)
This paper analyses the state of the competitiveness of higher education in Serbia and AP Vojvodina, through observation and analysis of selected indicators of competitiveness and through calculating the index of competitiveness of higher education. Higher education is of particular importance for the economic competitiveness of any society, as higher education institutions generate knowledge and develop expertise and skills which enable individuals to achieve their personal goals as well as become valuable members of society. The competitiveness of higher education should be implemented so that it can be enjoyed by all institutions, regions and countries, and contribute to a global society based on education. Different investment models result from the social conditions in certain countries, the method of implementation of the Bologna Declaration, as well as historical, educational and cultural characteristics. The choice of the investment model depends on the budget capacity but also on the commitment of the state regarding the amount of public funds spent on investment in higher education. The goal of this paper is to present an overview of the possibilities for increasing the level of the competitiveness of higher education in Serbia by implementing a new investment model. The period investigated in this paper is from 2014 to 2016, and the methodology applied involves the use of methods of analysis and synthesis and the use of statistical and mathematical methods.

The results of the analysis presented in this paper suggest an unsatisfactory competitiveness of higher education of Serbia and AP Vojvodina, as a European region. The competitiveness is not adequate to the need and dynamics of development of higher education in transition countries like Serbia. Stronger social and economic development is conditioned by creating a knowledge based society, and by learning and innovation. The results indicate that a unified approach to strategy development and higher education competitiveness in the European Union is necessary. This is because there are very large differences in the competitiveness of higher education among the European countries analyzed. The need to increase the quality and quantity as well as the international competitiveness of higher education is one of the basic issues for which authorities in the higher education sector in European countries should find appropriate solutions in the future. Restrictions regarding the research are related to the fact that this research did not analyze the higher education competitiveness of the EU as a whole. Some factors which are not only in the spheres of policy makers and development strategy of higher education affect the change of these indicators, such as demographic changes, the socio-economic status of the population, the interest in studying in the function of labour market trends, and the like. Bearing this in mind, the directions for further research will be related to the DEA analysis of the competitiveness index of higher education by researching other relevant indicators of competitiveness of higher education, such as the number of graduates in the total number of students and higher education participation in total employment.