Speech by the President of the Republic of Srpska Željka Cvijanović at the ceremonial academy on the occasion of 45 years of work and development of the University of Banja Luka
Distinguished deans, professors, academic and scientific workers,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to express my satisfaction since we are celebrating a very important jubilee today – 45 years of existence and work of the University of Banja Luka, as one of the pillars not only of academic, but also of the overall development of the Republic of Srpska.
The University of Banja Luka, as well as our entire society, has faced various challenges during these four and a half decades, but it has managed to overcome them and to be continuously developed and improved.
This is evidenced, among other things, by the fact that today there are three times more higher education institutions which function within the University than it was at the moment of its establishment.
Certainly, in order for the University to be able to fulfill its role and realise its goals, it is necessary for it to enjoy the full support of the competent institutions.
The Government and the line ministry are obliged to create material preconditions and conditions for the work and development of the University and all its members.
At the same time, the quality of the teaching and research process, as well as the reputation and authority of the University and individual higher education institutions, largely depend on the university staff themselves and this is something that requires hard work and commitment.
During the previous time, we have managed to achieve that – to improve the working conditions of the university and to preserve and strengthen its reputation.
But, bearing in mind that education is a very sensitive social process and that its quality significantly depends on whether we will succeed in our community and society to do what we planned or designed, it is necessary to constantly improve, reform and standardise higher education so that we can achieve our development goals and keep it in line with modern international trends.
The Republic of Srpska and its competent institutions have invested significant funds in the construction and development of both our public universities, both through the construction of new and reconstruction of existing faculties, and through their equipment as well.
Also, we have improved the student standard through the construction of the new and renovation of existing student dormitories, so that today the accommodation capacities and conditions for the students are incomparably better than it was before.
In addition, the cost of studying at our public universities is more than competitive and, due to the subsidies from the Government of the Republic of Srpska, the costs of tuition, student accommodation and meals are many times lower compared to our neighbouring region.
In addition, we have improved the student scholarship system, whether it is regular scholarships or scholarships intended for talented and successful students.
One of the key tasks ahead of all of us is the successful connection and cooperation between the University and the business sector, and we can say that significant progress has been made in that regard in recent years, but that connection must be constantly improved. This is also the case with the teaching process, which is modernised, but it is inevitable that it is constantly adapting to the requirements of the new time.
There are also things that, I would say, we still approach timidly or insufficiently energetically, and that is planned enrollment according to the real needs of society and the labor market, then a thorough revision of the study programmes which should be in line with our development goals and equalisation of criteria when it comes about public and private universities, i.e. faculties.
However, we know that this is a complex and long-lasting process that requires additional efforts, both by the University and all competent republican institutions, but it is important that we remain committed to these issues.
In addition to all other challenges, a particularly aggravating circumstance today refers to the existing pandemic and the implementation of all educational activities in very demanding conditions, both for our primary and secondary schools, as well as for higher education institutions.
Nevertheless, even in such complex circumstances, we have managed to ensure the continuity of the teaching process at the faculties, and on this occasion I would like to express my gratitude to our university staff, students and the relevant ministry.
I hope that we will celebrate our further anniversaries in far better circumstances and that we will soon return to our usual way of schooling, working and living.
I believe that the University of Banja Luka will continue to successfully fulfill its role in the future as it has been the case in the previous 45 years and that it will continue to be one of the key levers in the development of our community and our society.
With gratitude for everything you have done so far and wishes for successful future work, I congratulate you on this important jubilee!
Thank you for your attention.