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The right to education is a fundamental human right.
In the Republic of Serbia, every child has a right to education in the same conditions as Serbian citizens. The educational system in Serbia consists of Early Childhood Education and Care, Primary Education, Secondary Education and Higher Education.
Primary education and preparatory preschool programs are mandatory and free.
Secondary education is free but not mandatory.
For further information, please visit the website of Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development
Every child has the right to free and quality primary education and upbringing in a public school. Primary education and upbringing is compulsory and is carried out in accordance with the law.
Compulsory (obligatory) education consists of one year of preparatory preschool program and eight years of primary education and it is free of charge.
If the children have proof of prior education, the enrolment is made according to their age and level of education completed. On the other hand, if they do not have any proof of prior education, the enrolment is based on a test which has an aim to assess the level of their knowledge.
For each student, the school is required to develop a Support Plan that should include the adaptation and stress management program, the intensive Serbian language program, individualised teaching activities program, and the extracurricular activities program.
Children who do not possess the document also has to be enrolled in school.
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Preschool Education is aimed for children between 6 months and 6.5 years of age. In Serbia, preparatory pre-school program (PPP) is compulsory (obligatory) for children between the age of 5.5 and 6.5 years and it lasts one school year, half day (4h). Program in preschool institutions creates an environment that stimulates children participation in activities such as learning languages, mathematics, arts and literature, music and drama, while acquiring communication skills, hygiene habits, improving physical condition etc.
Child – foreign citizen and stateless child and applicant for citizenship, child from a vulnerable group without proof of residence and other personal documents, exiled or displaced person, could be enrolled in a preschool institution. School which realises a preparatory preschool program, should enroll foreign children under the same conditions and on manner prescribed for citizens of the Republic of Serbia.
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Primary Education lasts for 8 years and it is divided into 8 grades. Primary education is compulsory (obligatory) for all children and they spend around 4-7 hours in school per day. Children enter the primary school (1st grade) when they reach the age of 7. As an exception, a child may be admitted to 1st grade at the age of 6, based on a doctor’s, psychologist’s or pedagogue’s assessment of their level of maturity. At the end of primary education, pupils pass the final exam which qualifies them for secondary education entrance.
Children who are applied for asylum and migrants in Serbia, and who do not possess documents enrolment into the school system can be reached without documents.
Secondary Education lasts for 2, 3 or 4 years, depending on the type of school. There are general secondary schools (gymnasiums), vocational schools and art schools. Secondary education is not obligatory, although almost all children in Serbia attend it. Children enter secondary education at the age of 15 and spend 6 hours per day in school.
General secondary schools offer four- year programs which are focused on social and natural sciences.
Secondary vocational schools offer education programs that last 2, 3 or 4 years, and prepare students for work and/or further education. In vocational schools, children get educated in fields of construction, mechanical engineering, agriculture, forestry, chemistry, medicine, dentistry, economy, catering, trade etc.
Art schools last for 4 years and offer programs in the fields of music, visual arts and ballet. At the end of secondary education (four-year programs) students pass the final exam.
Foreign children who would like to attend secondary education after regular completion of primary school apply for these schools in the same manner as nationals. Foreign children without proper proof of prior education can do that in the second enrollment period in those schools where there are free places.
Asylum seekers accommodated in asylum centers, with the support of persons in the center who are in charge of education, can be informed about the desired school and enrollment procedure.
The Commissariat in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, enrolls and conducts further procedures with the support of the competent school administration.
Validation and recognition of diplomas obtained abroad are within the competence of the Agency for Qualifications of the Republic of Serbia. One of the organizational units in charge of these tasks is the ENIC/NARIC center
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Adult Primary Education
Adults may, in accordance with the law governing primary education, and according to the adult education program, continue their interrupted primary education or start it, if they are older than 15 years of age.
This level of education is realized in primary schools that have been verified for the implementation of adult education programs.
A list of schools implementing an adult primary education program can be found on the MoESTD website.
Primary adult education, according to the model of functional primary adult education, lasts three years and is realized according to the national program in three cycles, lasting one year each.
The organizational form of work is regular classes that are adapted to the needs and possibilities of adults (teaching in the block, during the weekend, evening classes, seasonal and daily adaptation to their needs).
Upon completion of primary education, the student takes the Final Exam in Primary Education, which is based on general standards of achievement for primary adult education. The final exam is organized at the national level. All adults who take the Final Exam in Primary Education acquire a qualification at the level of NOKS 1 which corresponds to the level of ISCED 2, which is verified by the Certificate of Completion of Primary Education and Upbringing and the Certificate of Final Examination in Primary Education.
Adult Secondary Education
Secondary formal adult education is realized in high school and adults (older than 17) are enrolled as part-time students. Persons with acquired primary education and upbringing are enrolled in the first grade of high school.
Public documents acquired by an adult are identical to documents acquired by regular students in secondary education.
After completing secondary education and upbringing, adults can enroll in secondary school for retraining or additional training. During the year, the high school enrolls candidates in these programs. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development approves a certain number of places for the enrollment of adults for specific educational profiles for each school year within the Enrollment Plan for the enrollment of part-time candidates.
Retraining is enrolled by candidates who want to be educated for a different educational profile in relation to the one they have completed, regardless of the field of work.
Additional qualification is enrolled by candidates who want to be educated for another long-term educational profile, regardless of the field of work.
The list of secondary schools that implement the program of retraining, additional training and specialization can be found on the website of MPNTR, within the document Annual Plan for Adult Education for 2020
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The Center for Accreditation of Publicly Recognized Organizers of Adult Education Activities (hereinafter: JPOA Center) is an organizational unit of the Agency for Qualifications, which performs approvals for obtaining the status of publicly recognized organizer of adult education and quality assurance in non-formal education.
Adults over the age of 18 can obtain qualifications, in accordance with the qualification standard, at the JPOA Center. Prerequisites for acquiring a qualification at level 1, 2, 3 or 5 are regulated by the Law on NOKS, as well as programs for acquiring competencies, i.e. qualifications.
Usually, knowledge of Serbian language and primary education are preconditions for those courses.
For the finished adult education program, JPOA OO issues a public document to the student, i.e. a candidate or acknowledgment.
Vocational trainings are commercial. Commissariat and NES can organize vocational trainings free of charge within special projects. Information on such projects are available on their web sites.
The list of publicly recognized organizers of adult education activities accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development (MPNTR) and the Agency for Qualifications (KPA) can be found on this link.