Education and VET System in Kosovo*
The education structure in Kosovo is in line with the International Standard Classification of Education as presented in the table below:
|Levels according to ISCED ||Formal levels of Pre-university Education in Kosovo||Age
|Adult education/Life long learning education in broader scale (forman and non formal)||23/24+|
|ISCED 6||Post university education||23/24+|
|ISCED 5||University education|
|ISCED 4||Level 5 of National Qualification Framework||Post – secondary non tertiary education||18 +|
|Level 4 of
National Qualification Framework
|Upper secondary education
Gymnasym grades X-XII
Vocational schools (grades X-XII)
|Level 3 of
National Qualification Framework
|Upper secondary education
Vocational schools (grades X-XI)
|ISCED 2||Lower secondary education Grades VI-IX||11-14|
|ISCED 1||Primary education Grades I-V||6-10|
Pre-school education represents the first educational level during which children are educated either in their families or in pre-school institutions (ages 0–3 and ages 3–5); this may also take place in pre-school institutions and/or primary schools (ages 5–6). Pre-school education is based on the standards of early childhood learning and development for ages 0–6; such standards support and foster children’s optimal development. Pre-school education represents a period of rapid and substantial physical, cognitive, emotional and social development for children. Given the importance of this development phase for the establishment of a good basis for lifelong learning, children will be exposed to basic essential learning processes in order to stimulate their curiosity about themselves, society, nature, culture and new technologies. The aim of the educational process in this phase is to stimulate their creativity and enthusiasm in approaching new experiences and facing real-life situations. During this period, children will be encouraged to develop communication skills in their mother-tongue in simple everyday situations, to increase their attention and concentration skills, and to develop their basic social skills. Particular attention during this level will be paid to their physical development through physical activities and experiences that will increase the children’s awareness of their physical well-being and their health and safety. In the pre-primary grade (ages 5–6), children will be exposed to learning experiences that include the basic elements of reading, writing and numeracy, thus raising their level of preparedness for subsequent schooling and life
Pre-primary education (Preprimary Grade)
This grade involves the basic elements of reading, writing and numeracy. Children should become familiar with letter signs and simple text structure through making use of photographs/drawings and analysing elements of various pictures. Learners should also become familiar with basic mathematical operations, such as the grouping of elements, the identification of mathematical symbols with different concrete objects, and the ability to solve simple problems of daily life using mathematical operations. At this age, activities related to arts should be an important part of the programme in order to develop children’s emotional and affective capacities
Primary education (Grades 1–5)
At this level, learning experiences at school should contribute to children’s familiarity with more systematized forms of learning through “games/work/learning”, so that the children can distinguish between games and tasks. The learning process takes place in an integrated form, allowing for a holistic understanding of children’s relations with the natural and man-made environments. Curriculum Framework for Pre-University Education in the Republic of Kosovo 27 The main focus of the educational process at this level is on the acquisition of basic literacy skills, establishing a sound foundation for cognitive, social, emotional and motor development. Special attention will be paid to the development of the child’s personality and positive attitude towards learning as a foundation for the development of basic learning habits—that is “learning to learn”. Teaching and learning in primary education should be basically organized, provided, facilitated and co-ordinated by class teachers, supported by assistant teachers if necessary, and with the possible support of specialized subject teachers.
Lower secondary education (Grades 6–9)
Lower secondary education provides learners with new challenges for their cognitive, physical, personal, social and moral development. Students’ natural curiosity will be further nurtured in order to make sure that the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes acquired at this level represent a sustainable foundation for higher levels of education. By building on their “basic literacy” acquired during the previous level of education, students at this level will be encouraged to develop and reinforce this literacy by gradually making it functional and sustainable for different aspects of their entire lives, such as for information, culture, science and technology. This, indeed, implies learning to access information efficiently and effectively, to assess information critically and competently, and to use information accurately and creatively. Visual and digital literacy are of equal importance at this level. Visual literacy refers to the student’s ability to decipher, interpret and detect knowledge patterns and communicate ideas using imagery. Digital literacy supports students to use time effectively and be creative in expressing and communicating their ideas, in identifying and using information resources during their current learning activities (e-libraries, different scientific web pages, reliable media, etc), organizing and maintaining their resources and assignments in e-form, quick and accurate calculations, etc. At this level, the curriculum will be enriched by exposing students to a wide range of learning experiences (i.e. combining conceptual and practical approaches; abstract thinking and contextualized action; contact with concrete and virtual reality); students will be encouraged to identify their personal preferences and areas of special interest. At the lower secondary education level, learners are further prepared for their career orientation through the support of professional mentors/counsellors, who will guide them to pursue their personal learning interests and to define their future options appropriately
Upper secondary education (Grades 10–12)
- General higher secondary education
General Secondary Education – in Kosovo consists of three-year general high school (general education) courses. Secondary schools with general education are those schools that offer an education that generally aims to develop student academic skills and prepare them for university education. There are four types of general schools in Kosovo: (1) Specialized Mathematical Gymnasiums; (2) Social-linguistic Gymnasiums; (3) Specialized Foreign Language Gymnasiums; and (4) General Gymnasiums.
The education provision in the schools above is based on the Curriculum Framework for Pre-University Education of the Republic of Kosovo. It defines the learning and the development of knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes by taking into consideration the need of preparing young people to take responsibility for their own lives, to participate in society as active and competent citizens, and to engage successfully in competition on the labour market. Therefore, learners will be exposed to a more challenging process of knowledge acquisition and the development of their intellectual, emotional, and physical potential.
- Vocational Secondary Education
Vocational Secondary Education, meaning Vocational Schools, as the main aim has the preparation of the staff for the labor market, and according to the vocational education strategy and law on vocational education and training it offers even the possibility for its application in the post-secondary higher education and university education.
The duration of the vocational higher secondary education, as a part of the pre-university education, is leveled in 2 levels. The first level includes grades 10+11. This level offers a basic qualification and enables employment at the labor market as a semi-qualified worker. The second level is a continuity of the first level, and includes grade 12 and offers employment at the labor market as a qualified worker. In these two first levels, professional and competent staff can be created for quality work at the labor market. In total are 69 VET schools including four Centers of Competences offering more then 140 profiles. (https://www.rks-gov.net/EN/f276/education/vocational-education)
Post-secondary, non-university education
Post-secondary, non-university education follows upper secondary education, and eligible candidates should be 18+. It corresponds to ISCED level 4. In Kosovo, this type of education is provided by technical secondary education institutions, by higher vocational schools, as well as by universities. The post-secondary education level provides for vocational specialization, cross-sectoral vocations, general vocations and general higher education. Students completing their education at vocational and general schools may enter this educational level, where they will acquire vocational competences for different fields. For certain vocations, such competencies may have been defined by international standards; if not, they are then defined by the National Qualification Authority (NQA). Based on the National Qualification Framework (NQF), the diploma obtained at this level of education will correspond to level 5 of the student’s qualification; this will serve to enter the labour market or to re-qualify for certain jobs. Successful candidates at this level are qualified to enroll at university level without fulfilling the minimum requirements in the matura test. Post-secondary educational institutions should already have assessment instruments and mechanisms in place to certify candidates who have achieved a certain level of experience and concrete results in their work but do not possess a diploma providing evidence of their qualification. In order to provide this requirement, institutions shall establish procedures for the recognition of prior learning in compliance with the requirements and regulations of the NQA.
University Education is offered in public and private universities, colleges, and Institutions of higher professional education. These educational institutions offer studies for Bachelor, Master and PhD. The students may choose full-time or part-time studies. The platform of the development of high education system in Kosovo was drafted based on the objectives of the process of Bologna. The standards of high education in Kosovo are based on the European standards. In order to assess the quality in the public and private institutions of high education the MAST established the Kosovo Accreditation Agency (KAA) in accordance with the Law on high education in Kosovo. Through the process of accreditation this agency supports the development of quality and guarantees the quality of educational and scientific work in these institutions. https://www.rks-gov.net/EN/f275/education/higher-education
NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK AND REFERENCING REPORT NQF-EQF
The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is an important component within the reform of the education and training system in Kosovo. It is intended to improve access to work and further learning by ensuring that qualifications are relevant to employment and learning, and meet the needs of individuals, the economy and education and training institutions. The NQF will support improvements in quality in developing qualifications that are based on standards and rigorous quality assurance. NQF provides transparency within the national qualifications system, making clear the nature of qualifications and the relationship between qualifications, and by providing a basis for comparison of achievements across all parts of the education system. NQF will support greater progression and mobility for lifelong learning through education and training pathways within the system. NQF also provides access to flexible learning, focused on the requests of individual for employment, creating opportunities for recognition of prior learning. NQF has been developed in line with European Qualification Framework (EQF) and provides the basis for co-operation and mutual recognition between NQF and EQF
 International Standard Classification of Education.
 The last three parts (ISCED 4, 5 and 6) are not part of pre-university education.