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Organisation of general upper secondary education

Montenegro

6.Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary Education

6.1Organisation of general upper secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Types of Institutions

Law on Gymnasium prescribes that a gymnasium can be established as public or private institution, according to the procedure laid down by the General Law on Education. A gymnasium can be established as general and specialized school. The curricula for specialized gymnasiums (mathematical, philological, etc.) can be implemented in separate classes of general gymnasium, following the approval obtained from the public authority in charge of education affairs. Sports gymnasiums follow the curriculum for general gymnasium adjusted in terms of implementation.

Geographical Accessibility

In accordance with provisions of the General Law on Education, public institutions are founded in accordance with the network of institutions. The network of institutions is an act adopted by the Government, on the basis of certain norms and criteria. The norms and criteria for determining the network of institutions include:

  1. number and age of children within a certain area;
  2. specific features of the area;
  3. developmental specificities of the area;
  4. provision of equal conditions for acquiring education;
  5. financial possibilities of Montenegro.

A public institution may be founded by the Government, municipality, capital or royal capital. A private institution may be founded by a national or foreign legal entity or natural person, in accordance with the General Law on Education. Gymnasium, as public institution, may be founded by the Government, the capital or royal capital.

The Montenegrin network of upper secondary education institutions that carry out general educational curricula in 2019/2020 school year comprises twelve gymnasiums, ten combined schools carrying out general upper secondary curriculum and one educational centre which carries out a primary education curriculum as well. Gymnasiums in Tuzi, Ulcinj and Plav, provide instruction in both Albanian and Montenegrin language. General upper secondary education curricula are carried out in 22 municipalities in total. There is also one private gymnasium (Ulcinj).

In the school year 2021/2022, the provision of the gymnasium and vocational education in Montenegro is carried out in 51 schools, of which 10 gymnasiums, 12 mixed schools, 2 educational centres, the rest are the vocational schools including music and fine art schools. Furthermore, adult education programmes are implemented by 117 licensed adult education organizers. 

As of 2016/2017 school year, general upper secondary education, i.e. gymnasium education, is implemented through according to curricula for general gymnasiums and curricula for specialized gymnasiums, i.e. mathematical and philological. Furthermore, in accordance with the criteria laid down by regulations, separate classes of the so-called “sports” gymnasium have also been formed. In these classes, students follow the curriculum for general gymnasium, yet the instruction has been adapted to obligations of students – athletes. The curricula for mathematical and philological gymnasiums are carried out in Gymnasium – “Slobodan Škerović” in Podgorica. Separate classes of “sports” gymnasium have been formed in this gymnasium as well. From the 2019/2020 school year, the curricula for mathematical gymnasium is carried out in Gymnasium "Stojan Cerović" in Nikšić as well.

In the school year 2021/2022. in secondary education there is a total of 25.231 students, out of which 6.741 students are enrolled in the first grade. The percentage of students enrolled in the first grade in high school programs is 33%. Enrollment in high schools was conducted electronically. At the end of the working day, students were able to see their place on the points list and change the program, if they are below the number of students planned for enrollment.

Depending on the distance of students’ place of residence to school, students may exercise the right to accommodation in a dorm and partial transport allowance, in accordance with the Rulebook on criteria and method of admitting students to dorms and exercising right to partial transport allowance. Students are admitted to a dorm on the basis of Call for Applications announced by the Ministry of Education. 

The right to partial transport allowance related to suburban and intercity transport costs, which amounts to 20% of the ticket price, can be exercised by students who travel five or more kilometres to school. Students whose parents or guardians, exercise right to social security in line with regulations on social protection, are entitled to partial transport allowance in the amount of 50% of the ticket price.

Admission Requirements and Choice of Schools

Law on Gymnasium prescribes that a person under the age of 17, who has completed primary education, may be enrolled in the first grade of gymnasium, i.e. in programme of general secondary education.

The enrollment of students in the first grade of Gymnasium is made on the basis of the Rulebook on the manner, procedure and evaluation of the criteria for enrollment of students in gymnasiums ("Official Gazette of the Republic of Montenegro" No. 21/05 and "Official Gazette of Montenegro" No. 28/16 and 18/18 ) and the Resolution on establishing the minimum number of credits required for enrollment in gymnasiums and four-year vocational schools, which, for each school year, issued by the Minister of Education.

The Law also prescribes that enrolment of students in gymnasium is conducted on the basis of:

  1. general performance in the final three grades of primary school;
  2. performance at external knowledge assessment at the end of primary school;
  3. performance in three subjects at the final three grades of primary school which are significant for acquiring education;
  4. results from national and international competitions i.e. awarded recognition.

Rulebook on the manner, procedure and evaluation of criteria for enrolment of students in gymnasiums prescribes the manner of enrolment criteria evaluation.

Performance at external knowledge assessment in mother tongue, mathematics and one subject chosen by student, is valued by giving 10 points for the excellent grade (5), 7 points for the very good grade (4), 4 points for the good grade (3) and 1 point for the sufficient grade (2).

The number of points for the general performance in the three final grades of primary school is calculated by multiplying the sum of average grades received in the three final grades by three (3). The total number of points is rounded off to two decimals.

Performance from the mother tongue, mathematics and two subjects significant for further education in the final three grades of primary school is valued by dividing the sum of individual grades received for those subjects by two (2). Subjects significant for further education for student enrolment in the 1st grade of general gymnasium are foreign language and physics.

The results of primary school students attained in individual competitions from subjects are valued by giving the following points to a candidate who has won one of the first three places in the last cycle of primary school, awards, i.e. medals:

  1. international competition: first place, first award or golden medal – 20 points; second place, second awards or silver medal – 18 points; third place, third award or bronze medal – 15 points;
  2. national competition: first place, or first award – 15 points; second place, or second award – 13 points; third place, or third award – 10 points.

“Luča” diploma, awarded for excellence, is worth 12 points.

A special condition for enrolment in a class of specialised - philological gymnasium, is that a candidate has received at external knowledge assessment an excellent grade (5) in Montenegrin – Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian language, i.e. mother tongue and literature, as well as an excellent grade (5) in foreign language, as a subject chosen by them.

A special condition for enrolment in a class of specialised – mathematical gymnasium, is that a candidate has received an excellent grade (5) in mathematics at external knowledge assessment.

For enrolment in gymnasium performing instruction in a foreign language, a candidate should have an excellent grade (5) in the last cycle of primary school, in the foreign language at which teaching is performed.

For enrolment in specialised, sports gymnasiums, it is necessary that a candidate:

  • has won a medal at national sports competition, which equals 10 points;
  • has played for national representation, in a certain sport which is included in the programme of Olympic and Paralympic Games, which equals 8 points;
  • is a member of a club competing at a national championship in sports which is included in the programme of Olympic and Paralympic Games, which equals 6 points;
  • has won a medal at national school competition, which equals 4 points;
  • is a member of school association competing at national competition, which equals 2 points.

Exceptionally, a candidate who is a member of Roma and Egyptian population and wishes to be enrolled in the first grade of gymnasium gets additional six (6) points according to the principle of affirmative action in line with an adequate strategic document.

Age Levels and Grouping of Students

Law on Gymnasium prescribes that a person under the age of 17, who has completed primary education, may be enrolled in the first grade of gymnasium, i.e. in general upper secondary education.

The enrolment of students in gymnasium is conducted on the basis of: general performance in the final three grades of primary school, performance at external knowledge assessment at the end of primary school, performance in three subjects at the final three grades in primary school which are significant for acquiring education, results from national and international competitions i.e. awarded recognition, as well as  on the basis of the determined minimum number of credits required for enrollment in the gymnasium, which is decided by the Minister.

Article 7 of Rulebook on norms and standards for obtaining funds from public revenues for institutions that implement publicly valid curricula stipulates that one class of a grade in general gymnasium may have at least 26 students, in accordance with the curriculum.

In line with the mentioned Rulebook, if students with special educational needs are included in a class, i.e. a group in gymnasium, the number of students in that class may be reduced by up to 10%, as compared to the smallest number of students defined by this Rulebook. Maximum two students with special educational needs may be included in one class.

When forming groups for attending the subjects of general education, the number of students should be equal to the number of students in a class, as determined by a law and the curriculum. For elective subjects, as a rule, the number of students in a group is equal to the number of students in a class, yet there cannot be less than 20 students of one grade.

In an institution with one or two classes of the first grade, two or three groups for the instruction of elective subjects may be formed in that grade. With the Ministry’s approval, groups comprising students of different grades may be formed as well, provided that the studying of this elective is unrelated to the grade.

Exceptionally, regardless of the number of students in a group for elective subjects which supplement the matura standard, following the Ministry’s approval, an institution may form another:

  • six groups for elective subjects, if there are less than five classes of gymnasium at the institution;
  • five groups for elective subjects, if there are less than nine classes of gymnasium at the institution;
  • four groups for elective subjects, if there are less than 13 classes of gymnasium at the institution;
  • three groups for elective subjects, if there are less than 17 classes of gymnasium at the institution;
  • two groups for elective subjects, if there are less than 21 classes of gymnasium at the institution;
  • one group for elective subjects, if there are 21 or more classes of gymnasium at the institution.

The institution is obliged to submit to the Ministry of Education the request for approving additional groups for elective subjects, not later than seven days prior to the beginning of a school year.

Organisation of the School Year

General Law on Education prescribes that school year and teaching year, as a rule, start on 1 September. Educational work (teaching year) includes two terms, i.e. four classification periods. The beginning of a teaching year, the time of organizing educational work and classification periods during the teaching year are defined by School Calendar, which is adopted by minister in charge of educational affairs at the beginning of each school year.

Teaching year lasts at least 180 working days, and for students of final (fourth grade) at least 165 working days. If the total number of periods defined by the curriculum a certain subjects has not been carried out, the teaching year is extended until a defined number of periods is reached, but not for over than 10 days.

In 2021/2022, the School Calendar defines that the first classification period begins on Thursday - 2 September, and ends on Friday - 29 October 2021. The second classification period begins on Wednesday - 3 November and ends on Friday - 31 December 2021. The third classification period begins on Monday 24 January and ends on Thursday - 31 March 2022. The fourth classification period begins on Friday 1 April 2022 and ends on Friday - 10 June 2022. The fourth classification period for final grade students begins on Wednesday - April 1 and ends on Thursday - 19 May 2022.

The winter break starts on Saturday 1 January 2022 and ends on Sunday 23 January 2022. The summer break begins on Saturday 11 June and ends on Wednesday 31 august 2022. For students who have an individual education contract, the time for organizing practical education is realized in accordance with the law and the individual education contracts.

Organisation of the School Day and Week

Teaching is conducted over a five-day working week. Exceptionally, in case of making up for a working day, teaching may also be organized on Saturday.

Students may have up to 32 periods in a week, yet the weekly load may not be over 35 periods, including both compulsory and elective activities. One period takes 45 minutes. For the same or related study areas block schedule classes may be envisaged. Students may have maximum seven periods of instruction in a day.

During a teaching day between the first and the second, the third and the fourth, and the fifth, the sixth and seventh period students have a 5 minute break (short break), and between the second and the third and the fourth and the fifth period, a 15 minute break (long break).

Educational work at an institution may be suspended only in justified cases (epidemics, natural disaster, etc.). For suspending the work of an institution in case of epidemics, it is necessary to obtain the opinion of a competent health institution. The decision on suspending the educational work up to five days is made by a principal of the institution, and longer than five days by the Ministry, i.e. by the founder in case of a private institution.

In accordance with Law on national and other holidays, a student is entitled to absence during state and religious holidays he/she celebrates.