Articles 40 and 41 of the 2001 General Law on Education use the term “technologies” in the context of developing new teaching technologies and other technology applications in education.
The 2002 General Law on Education mentions the term education technologies in the context of integrating different technologies into the teaching process.
Article 2 of the 2002 High School Law mentions the terms technologies and the 2011 Law on Adult Education mentions the use of Information and Communications technologies in the context of adult skills. However, these laws do not provide any definitions for these terms.
The 2016-2020 Strategy for the Development of Higher Education in Montenegro refers to the term “technology" while highlighting the ubiquitous role of technology in education, society and economy. However, it does not provide a definition for it.
The 2022-2026 Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro uses the terms “ICT”, “e-education”, “digital skills” among other relevant terms without providing specific definitions for the terms.
Constitution and laws: Article 75 of the 2007 Constitution of Montenegro refers to the right to education but does not refer to technology in education nor information and communications technology in general. Article 40 of the General Education Law aims to develop educational technologies.
Policies, plans and strategies: Multiple policies, plans and strategy documents highlight the importance of digital education in the country. The 2022-2027 Montenegro Education System Digitalization Strategy has three main goals – a) Foster the innovation of ICT, enhance the efficiency of public sector operations, and promote collaboration across different sectors; b) establish favourable environments in educational institutions to effectively enhance the use of ICT in all operations, thereby enhancing the quality and accessibility of education; and c) enhance students' digital competencies necessary for ongoing learning, future career prospects, and effective engagement in a knowledge- and innovation-driven society and economy. The objectives and principles of this strategy are based on the common European goals and principles for adapting the education and training system to the digital age such as those mentioned in the 2021-2027 EU Digital Education Action Plan and the EU Digital Strategy among others.
The 2022-2027 Strategy for Digitization of the Education System covers all levels of education except tertiary and non-formal education, which is included in the Strategy for the Digital Transformation of Montenegro 2022-2026. E-education is one of the strategic goals of the 2022-2026 Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro which provides the development framework necessary for improving the digital environment of Montenegro. The Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media adopted the 2022-2026 Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro along with an Action Plan for 2022-2023. It includes a development framework that defines the preconditions and initiatives needed for the rapid development of a digital Montenegro. One of its first strategic goals is to improve the capacities and capabilities for digital transformation, and the second one focuses on strengthening the digital awareness of Montenegrin society as well as the digital competitiveness of the ICT sector.
Similarly, the 2016-2020 Strategy for the Development of Higher Education in Montenegro aims to encourage the use of modern IT technologies in the teaching process, knowledge transfer, research and innovation as well as cooperate with the European Union in the field of science, technology and innovation. The 2020 Strategy for the Development of Information Society builds on the previous 2016 strategy and explains the strategic tools for developing an information society in Montenegro. It further outlines the necessary steps to achieve compliance with the European Union's Digital Agenda 2020 and Digital Single Market Strategy. One of its key goals is the development of e-education and the integration of technology in education systems. Digital education is also emphasised in the Strategy of Vocational Education (2020-2024) for improving the quality of vocational education in the country.
Digital competency frameworks: The 2022-2026 Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro draws on the broader strategic framework of the European Union in its goals and actions. The European Skills Agenda is the main umbrella strategic framework guiding the Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro. The strategy document aligns itself with the understanding of digital skills as specified by the European Commission which views digital competence or digital skills as encompassing the confident, critical, and responsible utilization and involvement with digital technologies in educational, professional, and societal contexts. It encompasses various aspects such as digital literacy, effective communication and collaboration, creating digital content (including programming), ensuring security (including competencies related to cyber security), and problem-solving. The definition also recognizes that the required digital skills evolve alongside technological advancements.
Similarly, the 2022-2027 Montenegro Education System Digitalization Strategy draws upon common the EU Action Plan for Digital Education 2021–2027 which has identified two priority areas: Encouraging the development of a successful digital education ecosystem; and the development of digital skills and competencies for digital transformation. It also draws upon the EU Digital Strategy includes objectives related to strengthening citizens’ digital skills; and Protection against cyber threats. By 2023, the 2022-2027 Montenegro Education System Digitalization Strategy envisions developing a Framework for the Development of Digital Competencies of Teachers. For learners, the implementation of the Framework of Digital Competences of Students is a priority. The strategy document highlights the importance of the European Union’s Digital Competency (DigComp) Framework.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The development of the 2022-2027 Montenegro Education System Digitalization Strategy is part of an EU-funded project implemented by UNICEF and aimed at mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of children and families in the Western Balkans and Türkiye. Montenegro launched several initiatives and programmes to cope with school closures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which are discussed in the section on distance education.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
The 2022-2026 Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro recognizes that infrastructure is a key prerequisite for the widespread use of developed digital solutions and recommends improving last-mile availability and cyber-security of ICT infrastructure.
Electricity: The 2021 Energy Law of Montenegro aims to provide safe and quality access to energy, including through renewable energy sources to ensure that all individuals can carry out the necessary public and private activities.
Computers and devices: In the 2020 Strategy for the Development of Information Society in Montenegro, the e-education sector prioritizes two key aspects: the ratio of available computers per student in schools and the competency of teaching staff. To achieve the set objectives, several goals have been established. Firstly, the ideal computer-student ratio by 2020 is aimed to be 1:10. This means that there should be one computer available for every ten students in schools.
Internet connectivity: Through various government-driven initiatives like the 2020 Strategy for the Development of the Information Society and the 2016-2020 Strategy of Innovative Activity, Montenegro has made significant advancements in its ICT sector and the availability of broadband services across the nation. According to the 2017 ITU ICT Development Index (IDI), Montenegro holds the 61st position out of 176 countries, indicating its progress in ICT development.
The 2013 Law on Electronic Communications was implemented to guarantee that Montenegrin users have access to telecommunication services at reasonable rates. It also encourages healthy market competition and aims to diminish monopolies in the domain of high-speed Internet connectivity.
The 2020 Strategy for the Development of Information Society specifies that all educational units up to the university level have access to an internet connection, which can either be an ADSL connection with a speed of 4Mbps or satellite internet with a speed of 8 mbps. It recognises the need to focus on improving the Internet signal coverage in the regional units of primary schools. Additionally, efforts should be made to increase the internet speed in the main units of educational institutions that are already covered by the internet.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
The 2020 Strategy for the development of Information Society aims to promote the inclusion of minority social groups such as young people in rural and impoverished areas in the development of distance learning opportunities. This includes improving the quality of Internet content and the development of e-learning platforms, to enhance their educational opportunities. Additional efforts will be undertaken to organise educational workshops and campaigns for women in rural areas who have a limited level of technology proficiency.
The 2021-2025 Strategy on Early Childhood Education mentions that digitalization of education is one of the key development areas of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports which includes the development of a distance learning platform.
The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports designed and implemented the project „UčiDoma” within which classes are recorded and broadcast via TV channels TVCG 2 and MNE SPORT and published on a specially designed website. For students who attend classes in Albanian, classes are broadcast on TV Teuta and TV Boin. The content that is broadcast on TV channels is also published on the YouTube channel of Uči Doma. Classes have been broadcast continuously since the beginning of the pandemic and were continued to be broadcast up to the end of the school year 2020/2021.
The 2016-2020 Strategy for the Development of Higher Education in Montenegro encourages improving digital libraries within universities and their networking within Montenegro. The National Library of Montenegro “Đurđe Crnojević”, a member of the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL), has already set up its own electronic catalogue, a shared catalogue of Montenegrin libraries, as well as one part of its digitalized collection on the web portal of The European Library.
The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport in cooperation with the UNICEF Montenegro Office has created the concept and a framework on “Digital Schools” through which, with the help of the Microsoft 365 (Office 365) software package, schools can implement all school activities through an adequate digital environment.
The 2022-2026 Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro emphasises the development of digital skills in education right from the earliest stages of schooling, and later built on through secondary education and then during tertiary education. One of the goals of the strategy is to increase the percentage of graduated students from study programs in the field of IT in relation to the total number of graduated students at all universities by 15% by the end of 2024.
Moreover, the strategy recommends including informatics and computer science as mandatory subjects for students starting from the fifth grade of primary school. Informatics should also become a compulsory subject in secondary schools, as currently, it is only an optional subject in the first year. This subject should cover knowledge about information and communication technologies, digital literacy, and fundamental concepts of computing. Additionally, during preschool years, children can enhance their digital skills and logical thinking in problem-solving by utilizing visual programming languages. Furthermore, higher education curricula should be aligned with the practical requirements of the job market, incorporating aspects like dual education and lifelong learning. The strategy also recommends facilitating collaboration among universities, high schools, IT companies, and other relevant industries (specifically those identified as conducive to skill development in the Smart Specialization Strategy) to establish tailored curricula that align with the demands of the job market. This collaboration aims to identify and prioritize qualifications required for occupations experiencing a shortage of skilled professionals.
Strategic Goal 3 of the 2022-2027 Montenegro Education System Digitalization Strategy is the development of digital skills and competencies. To ensure a comprehensive understanding of information and communication technology (ICT), primary school students undergo mandatory IT and Technology courses. These courses are scheduled for one lesson/hour per week during the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. As students' progress to general secondary school, specifically in the first grade of the gymnasium, the IT curriculum is expanded to two lessons/hours per week. In terms of elective ICT courses/modules, primary school students can engage in specific subjects such as "Creating Graphics and Processing Images and Photographs," which is studied for one lesson/hour per week in one grade between the seventh and ninth. Additionally, an "Introduction to Programming" course is available, typically taken in either the eighth or ninth grade, with one lesson/hour per week. Moving on to general secondary school, several elective ICT courses are offered. "Algorithms and programming" are taught during the third or fourth grade, providing students with three lessons/hours per week. Another course, "Computer and web presentations," is available for students in the second or third grade of general secondary school, with a weekly allocation of two lessons/hours. Lastly, "Computer Science in Business" is offered in the second or third grade of general secondary school, with students attending two lessons/hours per week.
The 2020 Strategy for the Development of Information Society in Montenegro recognises the importance of developing information and communications skills among learners. It highlights that ICT-related skills and subjects should be taught both at the primary a school levels so that students can develop the skills required to make use of such technologies in the future. The strategy document includes indicators to measure the growth of basic and advanced digital skills in the country. It aims to increase the number of ECDL certificates issued should reach 15.000 by 2020. The ECDL is a vendor-independent European framework for basic computer knowledge and skills.
Article 2 of the 2002 High School Law highlights that high schools must enable students to acquire skills related to technology and science that would enable them to continue their education even after high school. The 2016-2020 Strategy for the Development of Higher Education in Montenegro aims to strengthen women’s knowledge and skills in the fields of STEM and increase the percentage of employed women/IT experts.
To promote a safer Internet environment for Montenegrin citizens, it is crucial to educate the public about the significance of cyber security, particularly about protecting children online according to the 2020 Strategy for the Development of Information Society in Montenegro. Currently, Montenegrin universities offer cyber security courses across thirteen subjects at the bachelor's, specialist, and master's levels. However, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Universities in Montenegro, greater emphasis should be placed on the importance of cyber security, and additional subjects should be added to the curriculum to ensure that the workforce has specialized knowledge in this field. Furthermore, the strategy recommends that as there is currently no subject that covers cyber security in secondary schools, at least one subject that addresses this area should be introduced.
Digital education is also emphasised in the Strategy of Vocational Education (2020-2024) including components on training teachers in the effective use of ICT.
The 2020 Strategy for the Development of Information Society in Montenegro highlights that to enhance the fundamental IT skills of the teaching staff, a series of training programs have been conducted to equip them with the necessary knowledge in this area. Through the initiative "ECDL for digital Montenegro", around 20% of teachers and administrative staff in educational institutions have been trained, while 150 teachers, or 1.5%, have undergone IT security training. However, the current level of development of digital materials for teaching and learning, such as didactic software, e-books, and e-learning resources, is considered insufficient. Moreover, the strategy specifies that apart from training teachers in information technology at a basic level, it is important to train them to apply ICT in the teaching process itself to improve students’ learning.
The 2016-2020 Strategy for the Development of Higher Education in Montenegro highlights the need for continuous teacher training in the use of education technology and e-learning. It explains that teachers face many challenges brought about by the rapid advancements in educational technology, in which they may not have received adequate training. It encourages educational institutions to continue placing greater emphasis on providing continuous professional development programs to teachers, to help them improve their teaching skills and become better equipped to incorporate modern technology into their pedagogical practices. It also includes goals such as ensuring that at least 30% of the total teaching staff are trained to operate computers, to ensure that students have access to the necessary tools and resources for their education. Furthermore, to promote cyber security, at least 20% of the total number of teaching staff should have specialized knowledge in this field.
The 2017-2024 National Strategy for Teacher Education in Montenegro emphasizes the need for initial professional development of teachers and training to improve their digital skills. One of its key aims is to ensure that teachers acquire digital competencies during their initial teacher education. Initial teacher training study programs should incorporate the needs of modern teaching and learning by increasing the scope of ICT usage.
2.4.1. Data privacy
Montenegro has a Law on personal data protection, the 2008 Personal Data Protection Law (Official Gazette of Montenegro Nos. 79/2008, 70/2009, 44/2012 and 22/2017). The 2018-2021 Cyber Security Strategy of Montenegro and the Cyber Security Strategy 2022-2026 were developed in accordance with international standards to build an integrated, functional and efficient cyber space. The 2018-2021 Cyber Security Strategy of Montenegro includes, among other things, activities related to the harmonization of the legislative framework with the General Regulation of the European Union on the Protection of Personal Data (GDPR) as well as the establishment of a system for the protection of critical IT infrastructure.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
The Law on Information Security recognises and criminalises various cybercrimes. Moreover, the 2018-2021 Cyber Security Strategy of Montenegro discusses the various threats facing the Montenegrin cyber space including online abuse of social network profiles, attacks on websites, inappropriate content and online scams etc.
The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports holds the responsibility of devising, executing, and enhancing educational policies. Additionally, it oversees the implementation of accredited programs that are designed to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and skills including the development of digital skills and competences of all population groups. The ICT department of this ministry is responsible for implementing the digital education agenda for the country.
According to the General Education Law, the Bureau for Educational Services’ competence aims to “propose the measures for the development of certain levels of education, of new educational technologies and of their application".
The 2014 Law on Higher Education allows all public institutions to establish centres of innovation related to technology aimed at conducting innovation activities and providing infrastructural support for development. The Institute of Education is an administrative body that oversees improving the quality of education through advisory, research and development across pre-school, primary education, secondary, vocational and special needs education. One of the activities in its jurisdiction is to propose new teaching technologies and their application.
In 2017 the National Council for Information or Cyber Security was established as an umbrella body in the country that will advise the Government of Montenegro on all important issues in cyber security. Moreover, the development and support of the Montenegrin Research and Education Network (MREN) will enable local connectivity and boost ICT development in Montenegro. Connecting educational institutions to MREN would further enhance the scientific, research, and innovation base of the ICT sector.
In April 2023, a bill was introduced in the Montenegrin parliament to ban the use of mobile phones in primary and secondary school classrooms. Montenegro has not passed a law banning the use of mobile phones in classrooms.