New Rigged Job Competition in Education?!

New Rigged Job Competition in Education?!

It's no news that job competitions are being manipulated in Republika Srpska, but it's especially painful when it happens in the field of education. T

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It’s no news that job competitions are being manipulated in Republika Srpska, but it’s especially painful when it happens in the field of education. The case of Sanja Đukić is particularly distressing, given that Sanja spent more than 180 months unemployed, and, as she says, because she doesn’t belong to any political party, the doors of every school are closed to her in advance.

The latest of many bad experiences with competition procedures is at the Public Institution Center of Secondary Schools “Petar Kočić”, as Sanja Đukić begins her testimony.

“Although knowing that it’s an impossible mission to get a permanent job as an educator without protection or the influence of political parties, I applied for this competition. Before the competition, I called the school to ask how I would find out if my documentation was valid and if I could attend testing and interviews. The school secretary, even though the commission was in session and reviewing the documentation at that moment, informed me that my documentation would probably be rejected because I didn’t have work experience in the field. The fact that I have passed the professional exam was ignored”, Đukić starts her story and explains that she consulted with the republican education inspector afterwards, who, as she claims, thought the secretary was wrong and advised her to send a complaint.

Đukić emphasizes that the conversation ended when she mentioned the inspection to the secretary.

“Testing and interviews were scheduled for Monday, January 15th, and until Friday in the late afternoon, I couldn’t get information about whether I was on the list of candidates meeting the competition criteria. The list arrived by email around 5 pm on Friday, January 12th, after I continuously called the school. I consider the school secretary’s actions illegal and unprofessional because he abused his official duty and tried to discourage me as a candidate from participating in the testing. The final ranking list speaks for itself: the top candidate has 0.08 points more than me. She achieved the maximum score on the test, for which we were not given enough time for a review”, explains Đukić.

The first-placed Danijela Gužvić from Srbac was unemployed for only 2 months and has 0 points in that category. She has been working as a teacher for 20 years and has completed a teacher training college. Đukić, on the other hand, has the maximum number of points – 5, in the same category, as she has spent 180 months unemployed and has been working as a teaching assistant for over 10 years without reporting her work experience.

As our portal unofficially learns, the first-placed candidate in the competition is a member of the United Srpska party, and her husband is a judge at the Basic Court in Banja Luka. Due to last year’s amendment to the Criminal Law of Republika Srpska and the criminalization of defamation, we are unable to publish photos that prove this.

The Republic Administration for Inspection Affairs told the Infoveza portal that a petition for inspection control in the Center of Secondary Schools “Petar Kočić” in Srbac has been received, regarding the implementation of the competition procedure through the public competition announced for the position of a pedagogue.

“Article 35, paragraph (2) of the Law on Inspections in Republika Srpska (“Official Gazette of Republika Srpska”, number: 18/20) prescribes that the inspector is obliged to promptly act on petitions from individuals, companies, entrepreneurs, public enterprises, institutions, agencies, associations, and other legal entities related to the violation of regulations within his jurisdiction, conduct inspection supervision, and inform the petitioner in writing about the established factual situation and measures taken within 30 days from the date of receiving the petition”, said the Inspectorate, adding that the inspection control will be carried out in the upcoming period in accordance with the legally prescribed deadlines.

Political scientist and president of the NGO “Restart Srpska”, Velizar Antić, explains to Infoveza that in the specific employment issue in society, the most significant manipulations and abuses occur in the part called the interview or test.

“In Restart, we have been addressing this issue and the problem of employment in public enterprises, agencies, and institutions. In some of these institutions, it is even possible to be employed without a formally announced competition, which provides a huge space for manipulation and the discretionary right of those at the helm of these institutions to decide whom to hire. However, even in institutions where there is a mandatory competition procedure and ranking of candidates based on specific criteria, in Restart, we have noticed a significant problem precisely in the part called the interview or test. Namely, those who manipulate competitions assign the highest number of points to privileged candidates in this section. We had situations where candidates with much better averages during their studies, longer periods of unemployment, and other characteristics were rejected because they received significantly fewer points in the interview than privileged candidates. So, this section is definitely recognized as the most problematic and full of manipulation and abuse in the employment process”, concludes Antić.

Interestingly, despite sending inquiries to the “Petar Kočić” school in mid-January and asking for their comment, we have not received a response by the time of publishing this text.

Incidentally, Sanja Đukić worked for years as a teaching assistant, and according to her, she is very proud of the success she achieved with a girl diagnosed with autism. In collaboration with the teacher, pedagogue, and parents, exceptional progress was made with the student. Very satisfied with the progress achieved, the school psychologist at “Nikola Tesla” school in Prnjavor later wrote a scientific study on successful inclusion in education, citing Sanja and the mentioned student as an example.

Written by: Stefan Blagić