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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice



Last update: 3 April 2024

Key Features of the Education System

Educational policy is created at the central level. The Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation is responsible for the overall educational policy.

Public financing of the up-to-the-university education is carried out entirely from the central level, with some contribution from the local self-governments. When it comes to the financing of public institutions of higher education, the mutual rights and obligations between the public institution and the Government for the implementation of study programs of the I and II cycle of studies are regulated by the financing agreement. In May 2019, a Financing Agreement was signed between the Government of Montenegro and the University of Montenegro, for a period of three years. The new, so-called contractual funding model, will for the first time give a clear insight into the relationship of input and output parameters, as well as the performance of the university, all in order to improve the quality of work at the University.

Allocation for education from GDP is around 4.1%.

Educatonal providers: Education and upbringing is provided in preschool institutions, schools, educational centres, resource centres, by adult education providers, universities, faculties, academy of art and upper secondary non tertiary schools, all of which can be public or private.

At up to the university public educational institutions, education is of secular character and the religious activity is not allowed except in the secondary religious schools.

Equity: Montenegrin citizens are equal in their rights to education, irrespective of nationality, race, sex, language, religion, social background or other personal ability. Foreign citizens who have short-term residence or permanently reside in Montenegro, are equal in their rights to education with Montenegrin citizens. With regards to higher education, a foreigner is entitled to be enrolled in study programmes in Montenegro under the same conditions as Montenegrin citizens, in compliance with the Law on Higher Education and statute of the institution.

Language of instruction: Teaching in educational institutions is performed in the official, Montenegrin language. Teaching is also performed in languages in official use: Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian.

Curriculum: Education and upbringing are provided on the basis of the educational programs (curricula) adopted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation upon the recommendation of the relevant Council. With regards to higher education, the accreditation of a study program is done by the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance in Higher Education, upon the proposal of a higher education institution. 

Autonomy: Up-to-the-university institutions are autonomous in realization of educational programs. Autonomy of the HEIs is guaranteed by the Constitution and the Law on Higher Education.

Quality Assurance (QA): QA of the educational work in the institution is done internally and externally. Internal quality assessment is performed by the institution itself.  External assessment is carried out by the responsible public bodies or authorized agencies. The Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation regulates the methodology for both internal and external evaluation. Quality assurance work in higher education is performed by the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance in Higher Education in accordance with European standards and guidelines. The agency was established in 2017 in accordance with the Law on Higher Education. The Agency, among other things, conducts the procedure of accreditation of the study program and external evaluation (re-accreditation) of higher education institutions in accordance with European standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area - ESG. The work for the advancement and development of higher education is performed by the Council for Higher Education.

Trends and reforms: Education is seen as a key factor of the societal development and Montenegro is continuously implementing reforms in this area in order to make educational system compliant with modern trends and quality. In recent years, reforms have been done at all levels of education. Reforms were preceded by adoption of new laws and amendments and changes for the appropriate level of education, and its harmonization with EU legislation

Future trends and efforts in education area in Montenegro were identified through the Education Sector Analysis 2015-2020 and relate to the following:

  • Strengthen the strategic planning function within the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation and work towards an integral Education Sector Plan (ESP) covering all levels of education

  • Further improvement of equity and enrolment at all levels

  • Further improvement of the quality of education

  • Strengthened and harmonized pre-service and in-service teacher training.

  • A better enabling environment by moving to single-shift schooling and investments in ICT infrastructure and science laboratories

  • Build the sector’s capacity to improve the monitoring and evaluation function and data utilization in order to guide evidence-based policymaking regarding the quality and equity of education.

  • Development of a quality and inclusive system for distance education, online teaching, learning and collaboration

  • Ensure sufficient resources and cost-effective spending

Stages of the Education System

The education system of Montenegro consists of pre-school education, primary education, general secondary education, upper secondary vocational education, upper secondary non tertiary education and higher education. Adult education is part of the overall system and is being implemented for all levels of education.

  • Pre-school education is implemented in crèche (children up to 3 years of age) and kindergarten (for children from 3 to 6 years of age) divided into groups according to age. Pre-school education is not a prerequisite to attend primary school

  • Primary education is compulsory and it’s free for all children aged 6 to 15 years. It lasts for nine years divided into three cycles, which means that in Montenegro primary and lower secondary education are organized as a single structure system

  • General secondary education is performed in high schools - gymnasiums. This education is not compulsory. Gymnasiums may enrol persons who have completed primary education and are younger than 17. Education in high school lasts for four years

  • Secondary vocational education is also not mandatory, and is implemented in a period of two, three or four years in secondary vocational schools. Secondary vocational education is also performed in art schools

  • Higher education is acquired at the University of Montenegro as a public university, three private universities, two individual private faculties and one individual public faculty. From the academic year, 2017/2018 bachelor studies, which are realized according to the new model of studying 3 + 2 + 3, at the University of Montenegro are free of charge, while from the study year 2020/2021 master studies, according to the reformed model, at the University of Montenegro, are also free of charge.

Education of Children with Special Educational Needs

Education of children with special educational needs (SEN children) is part of a single educational system and it is compulsory from the moment of identifying a special education need of a child. Education of SEN children is carried out in preschool institutions, institutions of primary and secondary general and vocational education, as well as in resource centres. This type of education is provided for a specific level of education which corresponds to SEN childrens' physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. Space, equipment and teaching material must be adapted to SEN children and there is obligation for schools to provide adequate educational conditions.

Part-time Education in the Arts (Public Music Schools)

Primary music schools offer part-time education as an additional education of primary school level children. This kind of education is taken voluntary. Children from the age of 6 may take this course on the basis of the entrance examination showing basic prerequisites or talents for a certain musical instrument, ballet or singing. At public primary music schools no fees are required.  

Structure of the National Education System


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Structure of the National Education System  ME






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Useful links

Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation

Bureau for Educational Services

Examination Centre

Centre for Vocational Education

Bureau for Textbooks and Teaching Aids

University of Montenegro

University Donja Gorica

Mediterranean University

University of Adriatik

School Network

Montenegrin Qualification Framework

Council for Higher Education

Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education

Ethics Committee