INTERVIEW: Secretary General of BURCH University, Mr. Esad Oruč MA.
1. If we can go back to several years ago, since the establishment of BURCH in 2008 until today, what has changed?
To Talk about BURCH University, several years ago, for me personally, is to speak about a very long series of successes that this institution has achieved in a relatively short time period. If I would try to summarize the whole period of time in a few sentences, then I certainly could say it was the fulfillment of the long-term development strategy of the institution. The word "strategy" is the key to all the positive changes in development of our University. In addition to a clear strategy and commitment of university management to fulfill the same, an essential factor in assessing success is the wealth of experience of the founder, Bosna Sema Educational Institutions, in the field of education. In this connection, although, according to all parameters a young institution, from the beginning, the University has used the rich experience of Bosna Sema Educational Institutions gained back some 20 years in preschool, primary, secondary education, but also the experience of sisterly and brotherly universities worldwide. This first part of the development path of universities can be characterized as a period of major infrastructure investments, followed by the inevitable development and investment in human resources. It is little known that it is Bosna Sema Educational Institutions, which is the biggest investor in the region, but also the largest employer in the area of private education; not only in our country but in the region as well. From the very beginning, aware of all this, BURCH University has recognized its social role and responsibility, so that today our university is almost invariably spoken of as the most successful university. Now it is an accredited institution with a degree recognized everywhere in the world. It is an institution which educates students from over 25 countries worldwide, and classes are held with academic staff from over 10 different countries.
2. Four years in a row BURCH was named as the best private university in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tell us what is the factor that made it ascend to the top position?
I must say that formal recognition, in the form of the proclamation of our university for the best private university in the Webometrics ranking of world universities, for us, is an additional compliment for the activities of the University and a recognition for our hard work. What it could be that led our university to this goal? For the most part, as already disccussed in previous answers, but with a small addition to aformentioned, it is also the result of our desire to make BURCH University grow into the next generation of universities with an equal footing with the component of education and scientific research, innovation, and entrepreneurship through mentoring and advising students.
3. It is often we have the opportunity to hear how private universities have low quality, and how graduation comes with money rather than knowledge. What do you have to say on this point?
The claim that you have expressed in your question, unfortunately, is not too far from the truth when we talk about private universities in BiH. I think it is a reflection of the overall crisis of society, where the system of values is very shaked and unstable. In such an environment, even the appearance of this type, is not surprising. These kind of things are simply a reality, from which we can not run or hide. Nonetheless, it is necessary to strive every day and act on the root causes, in order to make prevent them. I believe that in the latter case, we share an equal responsibility. States should develop mechanisms that will make a clear selection between the university, which is the primary goal of those who aligned themselves with the real mission of universities. The last accreditation was an opportunity to do so. To what extent we succeed, remains to be seen.
From the very beginning, we have been aware of the fact that we will be thrown into the same "basket" with all other universities. However, we have made a number of strategic steps which clearly separated us from all of the above.
Let me briefly elaborate on the matter: guided by the definition of education as a non-profit activity, BURCH University has developed a system of financial activities where all profit is focused on further investment; which is certainly visible through infrastructure investments. Another important step concerns the very study programs. BURCH university, particularly in the early stage of development, has determined the establishment of primary engineering majors that require large investments in facilities, equipment, laboratories and human resources. This is not the case with most private universities that are primarily oriented to the social sciences and humanities that do not entail greater investments. The third difference concerns the teaching process. Most private universities' educational process is based on part time programme which BURCH does not have at all. The entire teaching process, in all cycles of the study programs, is based on the so-called „regular study“. This means the obligatory presence of the student in class and regularly carrying out their teaching duties. This last question was with a view to clear the selection of students who are truly committed to the study and our system which proved to be a very effective mechanism in the previous period.
4. We have already mentioned that BURCH was 4 times voted as the best private university in BiH, what is your vision of BURCH in the near future. Are you planning to change? Did you introduce new faculties or departments?
As in the previous years, we will try to keep track of needs of customers and markets. I believe changes should occur when there is a need for them and when they are sufficiently grounded. A quality education system is a complex system. It consists of high-quality professional staff, modern and functionally equipped premises for work as well as space and healthy environment to work at. So far we have achieved all of these conditions but the market is not idle, and neither we with it. Let's go with the modern era, with innovation, quality staff trainings and bolster education in all segments. Also advancing to the Regional Planning. Currently we have the construction of a sports hall, a fitness centre, a pavilion made of recycled materials as a place for students, and many other useful projects. These are just some of our plans for the realization, which we have already started.