SCIENTIFIC, VOCATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES
In addition to regular academic education, the Faculty is oriented towards other types of education and conducts programs for vocational training and professional improvement of coaches and managers in sport. The aim is that this part of the educational process of sports experts also be at a higher level and thus contribute to the improvement and development of the Serbian sport. In accordance with the law and applicable regulations of the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Serbia, all the standards and regulations in physical, financial, scientific and professional potential have been fulfilled.
Moreover, the Faculty launched several initiative aimed at bridging the higher education degree/vocational training-experience gap. The Faculty of Sport from Belgrade, Serbia, faces a number of problems in the area of the recognition of the role of non-formal educators and relation of formal/non-formal education of trainers. In particular, we have tried to determine the weaknesses and strengths of the current role of Educational Sport Trainers in Serbia and the Western Balkans in general, and to offer some initiatives for its improvement. Main setbacks for trainers in the Western Balkans could be summarized as follows:
a) Inertia of the educative system and legislation in the field – sport trainers are not recognized as a separate profession under the official Serbian Regulation of academic and professional titles and ranks (“Sl. glasnik RS”, br. 30/2007, 112/2008, 72/2009 I 81/2010). Their work is subsumed under the Physical education and sport label, which means that degrees issued are primarily Physical education in schools and completely overlooks the role of trainers in non-formal or recreational education and learning.
b) Lack of standardized model for sport trainers, in particular those working with youth – without official recognition of trainers on different levels of expertize, this profession is left to improvisation and personal talent (or the lack of thereof). Particularly problematic is that least experienced are trainers working with children and youth. This follows from the still common assumption that one needs less experience and knowledge to act as sport trainer for younger categories. This is in stark contrast with the EU trends, which recognize the specificity of trainers working with young people and youth, and demands specific requirements and standards of youth trainers and recognizes them as separate and specific training profession.
c) In order to address these issues, we have launched a number of initiatives, such as:
1. Created a dynamic and up-to-date curriculum, adjusted to the best international practices, at the BA and MA level, for Sport trainers, Sport management and Sport journalism. We are the only faculty in the Western Balkans that educates specifically sport trainers, without subsuming them under Teacher in Physical education or sport profession.
2. Conducted vocational training, which so far included several hundreds of de facto trainers in various sport disciplines in Serbia. This vocational training is aimed to provide some basic (or advanced) theoretical and practical knowledge to those numerous persons in Serbia that already work as trainers, but have no official education in this respect and thus cannot get a license as trainers, even though many of them possess rich experience and knowledge that is not completely overlooked by the current Serbian legislation. The aim of our vocational training is exactly to combine practical and theoretical knowledge, to recognize education and expertise gained outside the classroom, and to legitimize and
upgrade it with academic knowledge.
3. Launched an initiative for the recognition of Sport trainers among the academic and
professional titles (see above)
4. Passed amendments to the Serbian Law on Higher Education, demanding that internationally acclaimed Serbian trainers in Serbia (i.e. those who won medals on European and World championships and Olympic games) should be entitled to the rank of lecturers and hence to transfer their knowledge at the academic and vocational studies level.
5. Started a long-term project the Standardization of training process, led by our distinguished colleague Nenad Manojlovic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nenad_Manojlovi%C4%87), internationally acclaimed trainer (gold medals at European, and silver and bronze medals on World championship and Olympic games with the Serbian national water polo team), with the particular aim to standardize the process of early sport activities among children and youth.