Written by: Direkt-portal
J. Đ. from Trebinje graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka. She has been unemployed for more than ten years. When she sees a job advertisement in the public service, she usually skips it because she knows it is already predetermined for someone. When she saw the competition for a teacher of the economic subject group at the Golub Kureš High School Center in Bileća, she thought it could be a good opportunity for her. She didn’t mind that she would have to commute 30 kilometres to work every day. She decided to apply.
She knew, she says, how many points she had for the competition because there are scoring regulations. However, she didn’t know that some regulations are stronger.
J. Đ. does not want to tell her story with her full name, but she strongly wants to emphasize what she went through in just a few days and encourage those who have been wronged to always point out irregularities.
“Errors” in Scoring
At the end of December last year, the Golub Kureš High School Center announced a competition for the hiring of a teacher for the economic subject group – mathematics, accounting, business economics, and bookkeeping, on a temporary basis – until the return of the teacher from sick leave.
In addition to J. Đ, another candidate applied for the competition, who, due to a series of more favourable circumstances for him, had already started teaching at the school.
For J. Đ, who filed complaints about the entire process with multiple authorities, this is still considered a closed chapter. Our interlocutor believes that if they are capable of orchestrating this, they will do everything else necessary.
Both candidates lacked a professional exam and experience, which the competition allowed if no candidates with such qualifications applied.
As J. Đ immediately noticed, the initial results had incorrectly calculated points regarding the time spent on unemployment for both candidates. She was ranked second on the list.
“I was damaged by 2.5 points due to that incorrect calculation, and the second candidate by 1.25. I scored 1 point on the test, while the second candidate scored 2.5 points. In that situation, after my correction, I would have been in an advantage over him”, J. Đ. tells Direkt, explaining how she had hoped that this was the final settlement and the mistake would be rectified.
“I presented this to the school secretary, and pointed out these mistakes; she saw that it was indeed an error and said that it must be corrected for me. I saw that she became nervous, that it wasn’t easy for her. She called everyone, from the commission president to the director, one after another, but no one appeared in front of me that day, even though the director said they would come. They scheduled a new meeting for me only two days later”, says J. Đ.
What can happen from Monday to Wednesday?
That meeting with two members of the Commission extinguished her last hope that the competition would be fair.
“They apologized for making that mistake in calculating the points from the employment office for both me and the other candidate. Then, imagine, they said that they had noticed more mistakes with the other candidate – that he hasn’t been unemployed for five years, but six, so they increased his points there too. Also, on the test, instead of the initially recorded 2.5 points, he actually had 3.5. This means that he answered only one question incorrectly, and all the others were correct”, continues our interlocutor.
She explains that she was told that the school secretary was to blame for this, who allegedly incorrectly transcribed the points from the test of the other candidate from the commission’s minutes.
“Now, that one point makes a big difference”, says J. Đ. and adds: “I can believe the part about the employment office, maybe there was some interruption, maybe they overlooked it, but what I absolutely don’t believe is that test. The test carries four points, eight questions worth half a point each. They relate to economic issues, and some are related to the professional exam. We did not pass that professional exam, and naturally, we couldn’t answer those questions, at least that’s what I think. How the other candidate managed to answer them is unclear to me”, says J. Đ. and mentions that, to mitigate the damage and create the appearance of fairness, they also recognized one more answer for her on the test.
Our interlocutor filed a complaint about the entire competition procedure with the school board, regional, and republican inspectorate.
The Republican Inspectorate confirmed to “Direkt” on Friday that they received the submission and that the inspection in this case is yet to be carried out.
We also sought an explanation from the school. In a brief response to our portal signed by the director Zdravka Milićević, they do not provide more details other than that the competition procedure, including the appeal process, has not yet been completed. They say the candidate started teaching because classes cannot be delayed.
“Due to teaching duties that cannot be postponed, a worker has been hired until the end of the competition procedure”, they emphasise.
They do not respond to inquiries about the exact university the selected candidate graduated from or provide explanations about why the candidates’ scores were changed.
“Direkt” tried to get a comment from the candidate who, if we are to believe the commission, performed better in the competition, but he also didn’t spend many words on explanations.
In a brief phone conversation, he told us that he started working but did not answer whether he has already received a contract.
“I applied, was duly invited as the best candidate, and I started working. I wouldn’t like to comment on anything more”, he said.
Thus, we did not have the opportunity to ask him about the exact university he graduated from, where, and when. J. Đ. says she has information that it is a private university, although, in terms of the competition’s fairness, it doesn’t matter since private and public universities are equal according to the law.
While the entire process is still formally ongoing, our interlocutor seeks answers on how she ended up in all of this.
Incidentally, it is not irrelevant information that one of the three members of the commission is the son of the educational inspector from Bileća, Miodrag Vitković.
“I really didn’t expect this, I wonder who these people are, these commission members, who choose them, who they answer to for their actions. They are educated people; can they really stoop to such a level, and do they really think that someone believes all this now? In my opinion, they are doing suspicious jobs for someone; I doubt their work. What can people who are willing to do all this teach students in school?” wonders J. Đ.
She doesn’t believe in so many coincidences and mistakes, especially since there were only two candidates in the competition.
“It’s impossible that out of four people, the commission and the secretary, no one knew how to calculate the points, overlook one year on unemployment, incorrectly transcribe points from the minutes, and finally, notice a mistake in correcting the test. I really believe that they came up with all this from Monday to Wednesday. When the inspection comes, maybe everything will be regular. If you want something, you can retrieve the old test and put in a new one; there are many options. It’s so unprofessional that if elementary school children had done it, they would have done better”, concludes our interlocutor.
Due to all this, there remains a suspicion and a question of whether the “best” candidate in this competition was always just the favourite of the director, the commission, or someone else, or if he was indeed just better than his colleague.