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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice


4.Early childhood education and care


Last update: 27 November 2023

Place guarantee to ECEC

A network of state early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions is provided by local government assemblies in accordance with the criteria established by the government, as specified in the Law on the Education System Foundations. In addition to these public institutions, there are also private ECEC institutions in Serbia.

There is no legal guarantee of a place in a nursery or kindergarten until children attend the compulsory preschool preparatory programme (PPP). Attendance at PPP classes has been compulsory for all children since the 2006/2007 school year; it starts around 1 year prior to a child’s enrolment in the first grade of primary school.

The PPP lasts for at least 9 months, for 4 hours per day. Children admitted to the programme must not be younger than 5.5 years at the beginning of the school year they are about to attend.



The monthly price for ECEC is subsidised by the state and the fee for parents or guardians ranges from RSD 5 950 to RSD 9 705 (approximately EUR 50–80), depending on the family income and other factors. This applies to institutions established by the Serbian government, autonomous provinces or local authorities (public institutions). The PPP, in both public and private institutions, is free of charge for children who participate for 4 hours per day, whereas full-day participation is subject to an additional monthly fee – RSD 7 770 (approximately EUR 65) or less, according to the family’s situation.

The financing of ECEC institutions depends on their legal status, namely whether they are public or privately owned. The funding model for public institutions is decentralised and most of the funding for such institutions comes from local authorities (up to 80 %). Private institutions are fully funded by users’ parents or guardians.

However, by special decision, the local authorities can establish a right for the parents to be refunded part of the costs for an ECEC programme in a private preschool institution established in its territory. The amount of the refund is determined by a threshold specified in the decision. In this case, the parents fund a percentage of the costs of the ECEC programme.