Serbia has actively participated in the Tempus programme since 2001, when it joined the first Call of Tempus III phase (2001-2007), up until the Call in 2013. That was the last Call of Tempus IV phase (2008- 2013), when the programme ceased to exist, i.e. it has been replaced by the Erasmus+ programme.
It has been estimated that the total value of Tempus projects involving institutions from Serbia, as either partners or coordinators, is about 45 million euros. Throughout this period (2001-2013) Tempus has been the largest financial instrument of support to modernisation of higher education in Serbia.
It has helped Serbian higher education institutions keep up with the current trends of changes within the European Higher Education Area.
In the beginning, the biggest impact of the Tempus programme was on higher education institutions – on concrete study programmes, purchase of equipment and on teaching staff capacity building through mobility periods spent abroad. These projects were called Joint Projects for Curricula Reform, and they remained the largest group of Tempus projects in Serbia (almost two thirds of the funded projects) in the course of the programme. These projects largely reflected the support to the reforms initiated by the Bologna process.
Through Tempus priorities for applications, the focus was also placed on other important challenges for higher education related to improving the work of institutions in terms of quality standards, internal procedures, work of student services, student representative bodies and management of institutions . These projects were called Governance Reform Projects, and for the most part were structural by their nature, i.e. the results achieved therein could be transferred to any university in the country, even those that did not directly participate in Tempus projects.
An important new development in Tempus IV phase was the reinforcement of links between higher education and society. This group of projects particularly focused on strengthening the links with non-academic partners, in terms of development and delivery of training courses for employees in business enterprises and other organisations, as well as other forms of cooperation. Similarly, each of the projects for curricula development in Tempus IV phase emphasised the need for study programmes to be revised or introduced in accordance with the specific needs of business organisations or the labour market.