06/02/2023 | News

WBAA Report on the first four years

First years WBAA

A report on the “history” of WBAA and its objective, structure and activities since 2018 was published. This report shows how WBAA contributes to the regional exchange of EU alumni, the promotion of mobility programmes, the modernisation of higher education and the academic and professional development of young people in the region.
WBAA emerged from the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training held in Vlore, Albania in 2015, where the Ministers of Education of the six Western Balkan economies agreed on the need to establish a regional network of students and alumni. Since the official launch in March 2018 on a confluence meeting in Ohrid, North Macedonia, WBAA has come a long way! Today, the association brings together about 1000 students and alumni (including academic and university staff) from WB as well as other relevant actors from the region (including public, private, and civic sectors) to make sure that the young people’s voices in the region are heard loud and clear and their messages are being communicated to relevant higher education actors.
Have a look at the WBAA timeline of important events throughout the last four years (2018-2022).

Three regulating documents for WBAA are the Statute, WBAA Internal Rules and Regulations, and the WBAA Code of Conduct.
WBAA has a well-defined organigram, enriched and fine-tuned over the years, including: WBAA members from six chapters (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia), the General Assembly, the Regional Board, the Liaison person, WBAA teams, and the Advisory Council.

There are currently four WBAA teams that work as a collaborative body and support the objectives of the WBAA organisation according to democratic principles: Higher Education Reform and Equal Access to Higher Education, Quality Mobility and Student Exchange within Higher Education, Transition from Higher Education to Labour Market and Professional Life, and Research.

The possibility for WBAA members to implement their own project is one of the key activities of WBAA as a regional network contributing to HE reform, research and promotion in WB that also contributes to fulfilment of WBAA objectives. WBAA Projects often tackle important issues arising from the needs of young people in WB providing constructive solutions and measures to respond to those challenges. They represent one of the main tools that gives WBAA members room to express their creativity, to foster outreach, to mobilise local and regional networks and young people and to make WBAA more visible and relevant in WB. Throughout the years 57 WBAA Projects have been realised.

Another important part of WBAA’s contribution to regional cohesion, cooperation and knowledge in the field of higher education and learning mobility is research. Over the past years, our WBAA Research team has been contributing to the foundations of scientific research and publications from the WBAA Projects.

One of the most complex and durable undertakings of WBAA and its Research team, has been the co-creation and realisation of the Tracer Study. It has been facilitated by the European Commission, DG EAC, Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna, Austria and members of the WBAA Regional Board representatives and Research team head and collaborates, throughout 2018-2022. The Tracer Study involved 1330 alumni from the six Western Balkan economies who have spent part of their studies outside the Western Balkans in one of the Erasmus+ Programme Countries, gathering relevant perceptions, opinions, experiences, knowledge, memories, pathways & ideas. Its purpose is to support the improvement of the academic and economic aspects of various institutions by collecting qualitative and quantitative data and reliable information from the students and staff who have had an exchange experience, as well as enable the evidence-based evaluation and policy advice of higher education systems in the Western Balkans. The Tracer Study has motivated the alumni to engage in it, so that the real potential of the region could be mapped.

Remarkable individuals have been recruited to found, build and sustain the WBAA, many of whom are not only members but also play an important role as current and former Regional Board members and Heads and Vice Heads of the WBAA Teams. The understanding for each other has grown and the adventures experienced together in projects and meetings have been decisive for the growth of WBAA. The development of WBAA was also only possible due to the continuous financial and strategic support of the European Commission.

Together, as a collective across the WB region, interconnected with the world, the WBAA members co-create, generating emergent effects which continuously improve the higher education in the region, but also its economies and collaboration. WBAA has shown great growth so far and will continue to evolve in the years to come.

Read the full Report on the first years of WBAA here! (PDF)

Albania, Tirana, 6.02.2023

Klejda Harasani

edited by service provider

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.