Tatjana Bilevičienė Gintarė Paražinskaitė


Purpose — the purpose of this article is to extend discussion towards the need and importance of joint degree programs in modern universities, introducing the perspective of the employers toward this question. Design/methodology/approach — the research was conducted to analyze the demand of joint degree programs from the perspective of employers, identify weak and strong aspects, opinion and demand for graduates of such programs. To achieve this purpose, a combination of theoretical and empirical methods was chosen: document analysis (previous studies, statistics) was conducted and an online qualitative survey was organized. Findings — The analysis of articles, studies and statistics points out the challenges and threats faced by universities nowadays, forcing higher education institutions to find new ways to raise the quality of studies and raise the interest of employers to choose graduates from MRU, as well as the satisfaction of employers with their choice of employees. Theoretical analysis pointed out these challenges and requirements for the modern employee, summarised the challenges in preparation of IT field specialists. The conducted research results showed that the diploma of joint degree programs would not be treated as an advantage of possible employee from the perspective of employers in case some important aspects will not be taken into consideration by program creators. On the other hand, undeniably there are strong sides, such as knowledge in the fields of foreign language, international experience, innovativeness and creativeness of employees that would be treated as an advantage in the process of selection for positions of any technical support related positions. Research limitations/implications — employers, whose business activities are closely related to information technology, have been invited as experts. In addition, these experts have a good understanding of the specifics of joint degree programs. The received answers can be analyzed as qualitative research results, results can be only achieved by performing an overview of experts’opinions. Practical implications — evaluation of respondents’ choices shows that more than half of employers that surveyed the joint degree program do not see an advantage. However, their indication of the shortcomings is related more to physical circumstances and developments, while highlighting the advantages associated with the program content and trained student competencies. In addition, a majority of respondents confirm that the labour market is in need of students who graduated from the joint programs. The opinion survey carried out must be taken in formulating education policy and university policy. Originality/Value — though joint degree and double degree is kind of new trend in high education, the social implications and importance have not yet been widely investigated, the strong and weak sides were not validated by scientific research methods. This article extends to students opinion research with new data giving insights to employers opinions on the same question and even looks for the points were those opinions are the same and on which aspects it implements EU and Bologna process goals. Research type: research paper and viewpoint.