In accordance with the General Law on Education, teachers are entitled and obliged to undergo professional development in various fields through professional development programmes. Secondary legislation further clarifies the implementation process of professional development of teachers and the manner of selecting programme authors.
Continuous professional development of teachers is primarily the responsibility of institutions dealing with development of education - Bureau for Educational Services and Centre for Vocational Education, as well as the educational institutions themselves. It is carried out in accordance with the General Law on Education and secondary legislation, as well as the documents approved by the National Council for Education.
The professional development of teachers is achieved through various forms of development: individual, formal and informal.
The Rulebook on organisation of teacher professional development and the manner of selecting authors of professional development programmes prescribes the manner of organising professional development of teachers, preschool teachers, professional associates, teaching associates and other educators, as well as the method of selecting authors of professional development programmes.
The continuous professional development implies various activities, namely:
- professional development programmes;
- use of professional literature and other sources;
- implementation of exemplary and demo lessons/activities;
- participation in the work focus groups, round tables, panel discussions, poster presentations, debates, etc.;
- carrying out action research;
- participating in the work of professional networks at different levels;
- national and international conferences and science gatherings.
In the process of organizing professional development, the Bureau for Education Services and the Centre for Vocational Education prepare guidelines and propose priority fields of professional development.
Programme authors are selected through a public call which is announced biennially. An author of a programme applying to the call can be a legal entity or a natural person, performing educational or scientific-research activities, a licensed higher education institution or a professional association of teachers. The evaluation and expert assessment of their programme is carried out by a committee established by the Bureau for Educational Services and the Centre for Vocational Education.
Programmes that meet the required standards are proposed to the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports for accreditation, and afterwards published in the catalogues of the Bureau for Education Services and the Centre for Vocational Education. The Catalogue of professional development programmes of the Bureau for 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 school year offers 360 programmes, whereas the Catalogue of the Centre for Vocational Education offers 85 programmes.
The Bureau for Education Services and the Centre for Vocational Education, as the institutions responsible for teacher training, implement training programmes by organizing professional development seminars in accordance with the national education policy, findings of external and internal evaluation of schools, as well as surveys of educational practice. The Bureau and the Centre can also organise a programme from the Catalogue, at the request of an educational institution or a teacher. Teachers apply for programmes by submitting their application to the Bureau or the Centre.
The model of professional development at the level of kindergarten/school, as part of the professional development system, has been introduced into all kindergartens, primary schools, gymnasiums, combined schools and secondary vocational schools in Montenegro. The system is based on the implementation of professional development activities at educational institution itself. The assessment of the institution’s needs, as well as the needs of every individual who is a part of, it is taken as the starting point for planning the activities. In this sense, both institutional and individual professional development plan are prepared. At school level, the professional development activities are conducted by professional development teams which are led by coordinators.
In the field of vocational education, employer-based training programme for practical education teachers is carried out. Employer-based training of teachers aims to support continuous professional development of teachers of vocational theoretical subjects within vocational education.
Changes to the Andragogical Training Program for Teachers prepared in order to modernize it were adopted by the National Council for Education in 2019. In order to further regulate this area, the Rulebook on Andragogical Training was adopted in accordance with the Law. So far, 926 teachers, instructors, associates and other teaching staff previously employed in adult education institutions have been trained under this program.
Incentives, supporting measures and funding for participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities
In order to provide continuous support and improvement opportunities for teachers, the System of teacher professional development has been established. The system is based on the General Law on Education, and is supported by the relevant rulebooks, as well as publications issued by the Bureau for Education Services.
The most important components of this system are teacher training, organized professional development at institutional level (in order to support the implementation of this model the institutions have been provided with the manual Professional development at the level of school/kindergarten), the system of professional ranks and the mentoring process.
The system of professional ranks has been established as a motivating factor to support teachers who are willing to undergo professional development and improve their knowledge and skills, as well as practically apply what they learn in this process. The system offers the opportunity to progress to one of the following four ranks: teacher mentor, teacher adviser, teacher senior adviser and teacher researcher.
Internships for beginning teachers are carried out through the mentoring process. Providing support to an intern teacher (mentoring) is the process in which teachers give support to the beginning teacher in order to introduce him/her to practice, help with gaining certain experience with a view to purposeful and successful completion of internship. The mentoring process provides both mentor and the teacher being mentored with an opportunity for professional development. To this end, teachers have undergone training to implement this process at school, and the publication titled Mentoring - a manual for teachers has been prepared, as well as the Programme of mentors’ work with intern teachers.
The General Law on Education prescribes that the continuing professional development of teachers should be funded from the government budget. The government is also required to provide resources for the necessary hours of training for all teachers so they could renew the license for work every five years.
The National Council for Education approved the catalogs of the Teacher Professional Development training program for the school year 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 proposed by Bureau for Educational Services and Centre for Vocational Education.