1 University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Sciences (SERBIA)
2 University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Economics Subotica (SERBIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 6809-6818
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1576
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
The idea of sustainability originates from ecologically oriented analysis of reality, but it ceased to be exclusively the idea of the environment and become a relevant topic for all spheres, including the education. Education is a sensitive field where emotional incompatibility, social statuses and different economic interests collide, producing different effects.

Higher education institutions and the factors affecting their sustainable development represent the research subjects of this paper. On the one hand, there are tangible elements of educational sustainability (such as the available physical resources of the campus, the structure and content of the curriculum, the achieved level of development of communication with certain categories of actors), while on the other side, there are intangible elements that are often neglected in the analysis of educational efficiency, because they are not so obvious and are difficult to measure. The focus of this paper is precisely on this low-structured, so-called 'soft' (intangible) elements of the educational process that affect the sustainability of higher education, as well as on finding a standardized system of metrics and measures for monitoring the impact of certain factors on sustainability ie. educational efficiency.

The aim of this paper is to highlight the key intangible parameters that affect educational performance. Through the relevant literature review, authors made a selection of battery of tests that measure the intangible elements of educational efficiency (such as the emotions of curiosity, optimism, caring, personal efficiency, personality traits, boredom and other socio-psychological factors.). Emotions are an inevitable and powerful part of life and learning, especially during adolescence, which is a very important period in terms of emotional development, which explains the unstable behavior in this age. There are studies that prove that negative emotions block learning, and emotional conditions caused by fear or stress, for example, directly affect learning and memory. Therefore, the pilot survey was conducted by using a combination of identified and selected tests, and the research sample was consisted from the students of the University of Novi Sad, Serbia.

The research results are summarized in the proposed theoretical model for evaluating the sustainability of higher education institutions, in which emotions are having a key role. This paper proposes a list of key intangible factors of educational efficiency. According to the fact that emotions either encourage or disturb the processes such as the ability to pay attention, problem solving and maintaining social connections, they can be a powerful stimulus or barrier to learning. If a person is emotionally unstable and/or immature, he or she is less efficient in the utilization of their intellectual potential.

The proposed model in this paper should provide a set of standardized measurement of the intangible factors’ impact, which affects the sustainability of higher education institutions (together with the known tangible factors, of course), thus creating the basis for higher education institutions ranking in terms of sustainability. Furthermore, the application of the proposed model among the higher education institutions will enable the creation of concrete actions to reduce identified barriers to learning, which are crucial for raising the level of educational efficiency and sustainability.
Educational efficiency, barriers to learning, intangible factors, sustainable development.