HIGHER EDUCATION IN BALKAN REGION AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO THE EARTH OBSERVATION
The needs for spatial data as well as techniques of Earth Observation are changing, and new professional areas are developing very rapidly. In addition, scientific work and its connection with the teaching process have influenced the introduction of new cognitions into the higher education programs in general. Considering these facts, in the period shorter than one decade, the higher education institutions in the Balkan region, which have study programs in the fields of spatial data acquisition, analysis and spatial decisions, have made significant changes of the curricula. In our research, we have analyzed the current higher education programs in the Balkan region having focused on curricula related to the Earth Observation. Due to historical reasons, these curricula have its roots in surveying study programs in the most Balkan countries. The competences of classical surveying higher educational programs have been changing and nowadays include the wider area of spatial data acquisition, geoinformatics. In parallel, we present the current Earth Observation activities in the selected countries from the Balkan region. Based on the results of our research in the framework of the European program Observe, which aims to establish a new Balkan Earth Observation (EO) community of multilevel stakeholders that will make use of state of the art technological developments, products and knowhow from the existing European EO community and industry, we estimate the contribution of advanced higher educational programs to the Earth Observation activities in the selected countries.