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Teaching and learning in general upper secondary education


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

6.2Teaching and learning in general upper secondary education

Last update: 28 March 2024

Curriculum, subjects and number of periods

Law on Gymnasium prescribes performing instruction in accordance with curriculum. Compulsory subjects, compulsory elective subjects and compulsory elective activities are covered in the curriculum.

Theoretical instruction of compulsory subjects is conducted with students of one or several classes of the same grade. Organisation and the performance of theoretical instruction of compulsory elective subjects are defined by gymnasium. The list and the contents of compulsory elective subjects are adopted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation following the proposal of the National Council for Education. Exercises, as practical application of the adopted theoretical contents, are carried out in groups and may be implemented in block schedule classes. Compulsory elective activities may be carried out inside and outside gymnasium. Subjects may be studied in standard (basic) and upper level, in accordance with the curriculum.

In accordance with the General Law on Education, curricula are composed of general and special part.

The general part includes:

  1. title of the subject;

  2. title of the level of education;

  3. teaching plan (subjects and modules and their presence, student load and number of credit points for certain subjects and modules and total number of periods for all forms of teaching);

  4. goals of the curriculum;

  5. conditions for enrolment, i.e. inclusion in the curriculum;

  6. duration of education (including credit valuation);

  7. compulsory methods of testing and assessment of students;

  8. conditions for progression and completion of education;

  9. level of education, i.e. professional qualification being acquired;

  10.  conditions for the completion of certain parts of the curriculum, i.e. modules.

The special part includes:

  1. syllabuses, i.e. catalogues of knowledge for the subject (with subject objectives, contents and standards of knowledge and learning outcomes, division of classes into groups, teaching resources, general list of literature, financial conditions for performing teaching, connections between subjects);

  2. examination catalogues;

  3. manner of adjusting the syllabuses for students with special educational needs;

  4. manner of adjusting the syllabuses for adult education;

  5. manner of implementing the curriculum (for vocational education, special part includes the scope and content of practical education implemented at employer’s premises);

  6. other issues significant for the implementation of the curriculum.

Publicly valid curricula are adopted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Education following the proposal of the National Council for Education. The general part of publicly valid curricula is determined by the Ministry, on the proposal of the National Council.

The teaching plan according to general secondary education curriculum:

  1st grade 2nd grade 3rd grade 4th grade





  per week per year per week per year per week per year per week per year
compulsory subjects                    
Montenegrin – Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian language and literature 4 140 4 140 4 140 4 128 548 548
Mathematics 4 140 4 140 4 140 4 128 548 548
First foreign language 3 105 3 105 3 105 3 96 411 411
Second foreign language 2 70 2 70 2 70 3 96 306 306
History 2 70 2 70 2 70 2 64 274 274
Physical education 2 70 2 70 2 70 2 64 274  
Music arts 1 35 -->           35 140
Visual arts   <-- 1 35         35 140
Latin         2 70     70 140
Geography 2 70 2 70         140 210
Biology 2 70 2 70 2 70 2 64 274 274
Chemistry 2 70 2 70 2 70 2 64 274 274
Physics 2 70 2 70 2 70 2 64 274 274
Psychology     2 70         70 140
Sociology         2 70     70 140
Philosophy             2 64 64 140
ICT 2 70             70 140


(compulsory subjects)

28   28   27   26   3737 4207
Compulsory elective subjects 3 105 3 105 4 140 4 128 478  
Total (compulsory and elective subjects) 31   31   31   30      
Compulsory elective contents 1+1 35+35 1+1 35+35 1+1 35+35 1(1) 30 240  
TOTAL (compulsory and elective subjects, compulsory elective contents) 33   33   33   31      
Number of working weeks   36   36   36   33 4455  


Grades and number of periods in a week for compulsory elective subjects for supplementing the matura standard

Compulsory elective subject for supplementing the matura standard 3rd grade 4th grade Compulsory subject the matura standard of which is being supplemented
Music – my language 2 2 Musical Arts
Art and visual communications 2 2 Visual Arts
Syntax of Latin language 0 3 Latin
Tourism geography of Montenegro 2 --> Geography
Human genetics 0 1 Biology
Biochemistry 0 1 Chemistry
Selected chapters of physics 0 1 Physics
Individual in a group 2 --> Psychology
Sociology of culture 2 --> Sociology
Logics 2 --> Philosophy
Ethics 0 2
Algorithms and programming 3 --> ICT

The curriculum of general secondary education may be downloaded here.

Teaching Methods and Teaching Materials

In accordance with the Law on Gymnasium, educational work in gymnasiums includes:

  1. theoretical teaching and exercises for compulsory subjects and compulsory elective subjects;

  2. compulsory elective activities (additional, supplementary and optional courses, excursions, field trips, etc.);

  3. monitoring student achievements, testing and assessment;

  4. exams;

  5. cultural and public activities;

  6. analysis of students’ performance and conduct;

  7. other forms of educational work significant for gymnasium.

Teachers are provided with professional autonomy in organising classes, applying teaching methods, selecting forms of work with students, as well as in selecting tasks they set before their students within the defined curriculum.

The General Law on Education prescribes that an institution that carries out publicly valid educational programs should use the textbooks and teaching materials which have been approved by the National Council for Education. Private institutions are obliged to use textbooks approved by the National Council for Education only for compulsory subjects defined by the educational program, i.e. by law. Exceptionally, in case there are no textbooks approved in accordance with law, the institution may use the textbooks envisaged by the programme. The preparation of textbooks is regulated by the Law on Publishing and the Rulebook on procedure for obtaining, evaluating, approving and preparing textbooks and teaching materials.

The preparation of a textbook manuscript includes: collecting manuscripts, providing expert review on it, selecting a manuscript and proposing that it be approved for publication and use. There are two methods in which a manuscript can be collected: through call for proposals and by direct selection of the author. Priority is given to the call for proposals as a method that encourages potential authors to work and places them in equal position, which is regulated by the rulebooks on the selection of textbook manuscripts and textbook literature.

Each textbook manuscript requires an expert review. The review is provided by a review panel made up of five members, namely two scientific workers, school counsellor, psychologist and the subject teacher, in case of textbooks for primary school, i.e. two scientific workers and two subject teachers in case of approving textbooks for general gymnasium. Members of the review panel are selected from the List of Reviewers, established by the National Council for Education.