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Education and VET System

In Serbia education starts with compulsory preschool education for children between the age of 5.5 and 6.5 years. It is followed by compulsory elementary education, which lasts for eight years. During elementary education pupils pass two cycles: 1st to 4th grade (elementary education) and 5th to 8th grade (primary or lower secondary education). Thereafter, pupils continue with secondary education, where they either attend four year general schools or three to four year VET schools. In higher education students have the choice between academic and applied studies. Both tracks include Bachelor and Master/Specialised programmes, whereby academic studies additionally allow for subsequent PhD studies.

Vocational education and training in Serbia is based on the Law on the Basis of the System of Education, the Law on Secondary Education the Law on Dual Education. In this way, secondary vocational education is introduced into the Serbian education system, the second law regulates the organization of secondary vocational education towards the organization of secondary vocational education, participation of actors, teaching and learning locations, and the Law on dual education regulates this aspect of education in detail.

There are around 330 vocational secondary schools, most of which are public (460). About 74 % of students in secondary education attend VET schools, whereas the remaining 26 % attend general education schools. The VET schools offer three or four-year programmes. The four-year programmes cover 157 profiles and the three year programmes 102. About 11 % of VET students follow a three-year programme and the remaining 89 % follow a four-year programme. The three-year programmes provide a diploma of completed final exam. This diploma gives access to the colleges of applied studies. In contrast, the four-year programmes lead to the same certification as the general education programmes, i.e. the diploma of completed secondary education. This diploma grants access to studies at the tertiary education level.

All curricula of the 259 profiles are nationally standardised. They state the objectives, outcomes and content of the programmes, as well as their implementation and the way results shall be assessed. They contain general education subjects, such as reading, maths, ICT and foreign languages. The general education part amounts to 35% of the curricula in three-year programmes and 45% in the four year programmes. VET subjects in the profile area make up the remainder of the curricula


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