Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Administration and governance at local and/or institutional level


2.Organisation and governance

2.7Administration and governance at local and/or institutional level

Last update: 27 November 2023

Preschool, primary and secondary education

According to the Law on the Education System Foundations, the governing body in the school is the school board and the governing body in the preschool institution is the managing board, appointed at the local level for a period of four years. The governing body has nine members, appointed and removed by the assembly of the local self-government. The governing body has tripartite composition and consists of representatives of employees, parents and local self-government.

The national council of a national minority proposes at least one member of the local self-government for the governing body of an institution where in most of the classes the educational work is realised in a language of a national minority or a separate law prescribes that they are of particular importance for the national minority.

The governing body of an institution has the following responsibilities: it adopts the statute, general acts, the education programme (preschool, school and pedagogic work) and planning documents including a financial plan and professional development plan; it reviews and adopts reports on their implementation, on business operations, on evaluation and self-evaluation, on field trips and retreats; announces competitions and appoints the Headmaster; monitors the adherence to general principles of education, attainment of prescribed goals of education and standards of achievements; reviews and takes measures for improving the working conditions and implementation of the educational work; decides on appeals or complaints launched against a decision of the Headmaster.

Besides trade union representatives, two representatives of the student parliament also attend the governing body meetings and participate in its work without а right to vote.   

However, the extended composition of the governing bodies of secondary school also include two students who equally participate in adopting of all important documents and decisions, except those related to financial operations, human resources and deciding on appeals and complaints of students and employees.

The Parents’ Council is the advisory body of the institution; each institution has a Parents’ Council except adult education school. The Parents’ Council consists of one representative of parents of students for each class or preschool group. In institutions where members of a national minority acquire education, their representatives should be proportionally included, and in institutions where children and students with developmental disabilities acquire education, a representative of the parents of children and students with developmental disabilities shall also be included.

The Parents' Council proposes to the assembly of the local self-government three representatives of parents to the governing body. The Parents' Council decides on field trips, and considers all relevant issues prior to decision-making in the governing body, particularly those relating to: proposed programme of education, elective courses and textbooks, planning documents, measures to ensure the safety of children and students, quality assurance, improvement of educational work and teaching conditions, appropriate usage of funds from donations, funds from expanded operations of the institution, or earned by a student cooperative and received from parents.

The Headmaster (School Head) is the managing position in the institution. The Headmaster is denominated by the minister on every 4 years on the basis of competition. The school board announces the competition and forms the internal commission for the election of the school head which has an odd number of members and conducts the procedure for the election. This body process the competition documentation, conducts the interviews with the candidates and collects the opinions/appraisal from pedagogical and teaching council.

The obligation of the governing body of the institution where educational work is realised in the language of national minority, as well as in the institution prescribed to be of particular importance for the national minority, is to obtain an opinion on the candidates from the relevant national council of national minorities before the appointment.

The Headmaster is responsible to the governing body and the Minister for his work. The governing body decides on the rights, duties and responsibilities of the managing director.

The Headmaster is responsible for the legality of work and successful operation of the institution. He organises the implementation of the education programme and all other activities of the institution; ensures quality assurance, self-evaluation, attainment of achievement standards and promotion of educational work; organises and implements pedagogical and instructive insight and control, monitors the quality of educational work and pedagogical practices and takes measures for improvement and development of the staff; decides on the usage of funds prescribed by the financial plan and is responsible for approval and appropriate usage of these funds in accordance with the law; plans and monitors professional improvement and conducts the career advancement procedures for teachers, preschool teachers and school advisors; takes measures in cases of violation of the prohibitions of the laws and employee misconduct and in case of negative impact on children and students; ensures a timely and precise data entry and provides for the maintenance of an updated data base on institutions within the Education Management Information System of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, еnsures timely information provision to employees, students and parents or caregivers, expert bodies and governing bodies on all issues of interest for the operation of the institution and these bodies, and other matters.

Two national bodies have an important say on education matters: the National Education Council and the Council for Vocational and Adult Education, appointed by the Parliament and by the Government, respectively, provide support to the promotion and development of education. These bodies are of national importance and they design, monitor and coordinate the development of education and training, as well as monitor and coordinate the interests and needs of all social partners.

Higher education

The method of managing higher education institutions is the same in the institutions founded by the Republic of Serbia and in private institutions. Every higher education institutions has the management body and professional body.

According to the Law on Higher Education, higher education institutions are governed by councils of higher education institutions and managing bodies elected by the councils. Number of the council members of higher education institution is at least 17. The council of the independent higher education institution has an equal representation of the representatives of the higher education institutions within it. It means that it comprises representatives of the institution (make up a total of 55%), founder (make up a total of 30%) and students (make up a total of 15%).

When the founder is the state, the representatives of founders are appointed by the Government from the ranks of eminent personalities in science, culture, education, arts and economy. Management is primarily related to financial operations and adoption of internal legal acts of higher education institutions. The main responsibilities of the councils are: an adoption of statute, financial plan, annual report on the activities, grants approval, election of the executive body etc. The number of members, the procedure of proposal, election of the council members, the manner of operation of the council and decision-making is regulated by the statute or the founding act of the higher education institution.

The executive officer of the university is the Rector; of a faculty the Dean; of college and college of applied study, the Headmaster. The executive officer is elected from full-time teachers working at the institution. The executive officer is elected for a period of three years with an option of one re-election.

The election of the Rector is performed in accordance with elaborate democratic procedures based on the statute of the university. Candidates for rectors, deans and headmasters of colleges are proposed by a professional body - the Senate, and elected by the council of higher education institution.

The professional body of a higher education institution is in charge for decisions on the issues of interest for the realisation of courses of study, scientific, artistic and research work.

The representation of higher education students in Serbia is also regulated by the Law on Higher Education. One of the bodies on the university level is Student Conference of Universities or the Student Conference of Academies of Applied Studies, which has been formed for the purpose of representing and supporting common interests of students as partners in the process of higher education. This body acts in the capacity of a legal entity and comprises the representatives of students’ parliaments of universities. The organisation and the work of the Conferences is regulated by the statute, which is in accordance with the Law on Higher Education. The resources for the deliberation of the Conferences are provided by the budget of the Republic of Serbia.

Also, student representation has an important role in some relevant bodies of the higher education institution such as: the management body, the professional body and the Students’ Parliament. Students’ Parliament is the main body of a higher education institution which enrolls students only. Number of members of Students’ Parliament is regulated by the general act of a higher education institution. The right to elect and be elected members of Students’ Parliament have all students of a higher education institution. The representatives of students with disabilities and students enrolled by equity measures shall be represented in the membership of the Students’ Parliament. The election of the members of the Students’ Parliament is every second year by means of a secret ballot and direct voting.

Pupils' and Students' Standard

Institutions of Pupils' and Students' Standard, in which pupils and students are entitled to accommodation, meals, educational work, rest and recovery, and cultural, artistic, sporting and recreational activities and information, have a Managing board and the Head. The founder appoints the Managing board and the Head.

In the Managing board, besides the representatives of the founder and employees, participate the representatives of all stakeholders (representatives of parents or guardians of students, universities and students). The representative of the institution's teacher union attends the meetings of the Managing board and participates in its work without а right to vote.

The Head is appointed after a public competition, at the proposal of the Managing board. The Head is responsible to the Managing board and the Founder. During the appointment and removal of the Managing Board and the Head, particularly in institutions located in local self-governments in which the minority language is in official use, the opinion of the relevant national council of national minorities has to be obtained.