Zrenjanin is the largest town in the Serbian part of the Banat region, and it represents its political, trade, cultural and sports centre. When the territory this town covers is taken into consideration, Zrenjanin is the largest town in Vojvodina and it has around 120 thousand inhabitants who are of 20 different ethnic origins.
Today, Zrenjanin is known as a multicultural and multiconfessional town that prides itself on its interethnic tolerance and cultural heritage. Zrenjanin is a town oriented towards culture, arts and sports. It has a long tradition in different forms of fine arts: theatre, music and visual arts, as well as amateur creativity. It is famous for its world-renowned choirs, National Museum, National Theatre, popular sport players, water colour art colonies, as well as numerous cultural events organized during one of the oldest tourist and trade festivals of that kind in Serbia.
Zrenjanin has been developing for almost seven centuries now. The first records about this town date back in 1326, when it was mentioned as a settlement called Bečkerek. The first primary school was opened in 1722 and the first hospital in 1769. In 1779, the Torontal county was founded and Bečkerek was the administrative centre of it. The official Administrative county building was built in 1820, which was later turned into the Town Hall. In 1839, the town’s grain storage building was reconstructed and transformed into a theatre hall, which is the oldest in Serbia. The grammar school was opened in 1846, and the first newspaper in German, “Gross Betschkereker Wochenblattˮ, was published in 1851, and in Serbian, “Glasˮ, in 1887. The town changed its name in Petrovgrad in 1935, and later, in 1946 in Zrenjanin.
The historical framework in which the towns in Vojvodina were founded is mostly related to the 18th century. This applies to Zrenjanin as well. After the town’s centre was created, other buildings were erected along the banks of Begej. The organized settling of Germans, which lasted till 1785, led to the creation of the first planned urban part of the town. Bečkerek had a most complex urban structure, non-typical and uncharacteristic, yet its development was steady, which was not the case in other nearby towns.
The number of inhabitants was almost doubled during the 19th century, and in the centre of the town the first monumental buildings were erected, which stand even today as symbols of the building heritage and tradition: The Town Hall, The Theatre, Roman Catholic Cathedral, Merchant Academy, Reformist Church, The Palace of Finances, which today houses the National Museum. At the turn of the century, the town and its inhabitants tried to adapt to the new business, economic and social environment. New industrial, working and residential areas were created and the General urban plan of the town was made for the period 2006-2026, as well as the Strategy of Sustainable Development. At the end of the year 2007, the municipality of Zrenjanin was given the administrative and territorial status of a City.
In 1974, in Zrenjanin, the Educational-technical faculty was founded, as a higher educational and scientific institution for the polytechnic education and training. This faculty was later named Technical faculty “Mihajlo Pupin“, and it is one of fourteen faculties that make up the University of Novi Sad.
During 1979, the Faculty extended its activities to include the education of future IT specialists and teachers of IT. In between 1979 and 1983, it trained teachers for the undergraduate programmes in the Basics of technical processes and production, as this was an obligatory course in the secondary schools at that time. In 1983, new programmes were introduced, namely the education of teachers in the field of practical aspects of the Transport and Mechanical Engineering, and since 1987, another two graduate programmes have been introduced, (Managing Technical Systems and Clothing Technology). This Faculty was the first institution in the region connected to the academic Internet network in 1995.
The Faculty offers all three levels of degree studies (graduate, postgraduate and doctoral) and is involved in scientific activates and research. It publishes course books and journals, carries out various local, national and international developmental projects; it evaluates the quality of its own activities and it promotes active student participation in all segments of business activities. Also, the Faculty has effective national and international cooperation with universities that deal with similar scientific and research areas; it organizes six international conferences and public forum debates and it does many other activities that are within the framework of defined basic aims of the Faculty.
After a forty-year long tradition, the Technical Faculty “Mihajlo Pupinˮ has become a renowned scientific and educational institution that has accepted the Bologna Process as its goal for further development. Many contracts and agreements on cooperation have been signed with other European universities. In the process of creating a modern European educational system in Serbia, this Faculty has taken the responsibility of providing academic answers on different social issues as well as creating scientific and technological support for the development of this region and the City of Zrenjanin.