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The Re-Institutionalization of Higher Education in the Western Balkans

The Interplay between European Ideas, Domestic Policies, and Institutional Practices


Jelena Branković, Maja Kovačević, Peter Maassen, Bjørn Stensaker and Martina Vukasović

Higher education in the Western Balkans is currently undergoing substantial changes as a result of European reform ideas, new domestic policy initiatives as well as universities and colleges in the region trying to adapt to new expectations and challenges. The book analyzes the changes in both policy and practices in various countries in this region predominantly through a comparative approach. Through a number of empirical studies in which new data was collected and systematized, the book shows how countries in the Western Balkans are struggling to maneuver between adapting to broader European reform ideas while at the same time handling domestic challenges. Hence, the book is a valuable contribution to those interested in studying how various higher education systems are developing in the different European regions.
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Jelena Branković is a doctoral student at the Department of Sociology of the Ghent University. Previously she worked as a researcher at the Centre for Education Policy in Belgrade, where she mainly worked on projects on higher education, focusing on the Western Balkans region. In 2010, she graduated from the Higher Education Master Programme jointly offered by the University of Oslo, the University of Tampere, and the University of Aveiro. Her research interests lie in the domain of governance, organisation and change in higher education. Contact:

Maja Kovačević is an assistant professor at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Political Sciences (International Studies Department) on the courses European Integration – Developments and Problems, European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy, European Union Enlargement Policy, European Union as a Global Actor. Previously she was a researcher at the Institute of Economic Sciences, head of the European Integration Office of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and researcher on several Serbian and international projects. Her research fields include: governance of the EU, EU enlargement, EU and Western Balkans, EU Common Foreign and Security Policy. Contact:

Peter Maassen is professor at the University of Oslo, Director of HEDDA (Higher Education Development Association) and leader of Higher Education: Institutional Dynamics and Knowledge Cultures research group at the Department of Education of the University of Oslo. His main research interests include: higher education policy, university reforms, European integration, institutional autonomy. Contact:


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