Main funding principles
General social objectives of adult education in Serbia are the enhancement of the educational structure, increase of employability, reduction of poverty, formation of the basis for economic development, better flexibility of the labour force and general improvement of life quality. The need for re-entering the education system arises from a fairly low educational structure of the general population, high unemployment rates, low educational structure of the working population and stagnating population growth (Republic of Serbia, Strategy for the Development of Adult Education).
Adult education is primarily implemented in public primary and secondary schools, but can also be organised in other institutions licenced for the implementation of adult education study programmes. Other institutions may include public agencies, public companies, employment agencies, business and other organisations.
Adult education programmes are implemented in government-funded primary and secondary schools as a regular part of their practice, but can also be organised within other organisations established for the purpose of providing additional training and retraining. Adults participating in such training programmes are persons aged 15 and over at the primary education level, and those aged 17 and over at the secondary education level.
According to the Survey of Adult Education 2016 (The Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, 2018), the participation rate in adult education in Serbia is 19.8% which is slightly higher than in the previous Survey of Adult Education 2011 (16.5%) and significantly lower than average participation rate of European Union (45.1%). This participation rate includes both formal and non-formal adult education and it is the highest in the population between 25 and 34 years old. According to the Annual Plan for Adult Education for 2020, adult education programmes has been carried out in 65 primary schools under the jurisdiction of 16 local school authorities. Some of the relevant targets are:
- 6 246 students, including 384 adult prisioners in primary adult education (by the end of school year 2019/20)
- 29% adults in the first, 35% adults in the second and 36% adults in the third cycle
- 1304 adults older than 17 in secondary adult education (for 2020)
- 26 872 adults in prequalification and additional qualification programmes (by the end of 2020)
- the implementation of 163 training programmes in non-formal adult education for more than 700 groups and for about 6,500 adults.
Fees Paid by Learners
According to the Law on Adult Education, adults do not pay for the fees for participation in the primary education programmes and the first occupation training (which is part of third cycle of Functional Elementary Education for Adults (FEEA)). For all other levels and programmes, fees are determined by respective schools and organisations.
Formal adult education (primary or secondary school) is primarily funded from the state budget. Additional training and retraining are predominantly financed by companies, employers, employees and other clients.
Financial Support for Adult Learners
While for formal adult education there are no special support programmes in the form of loans, scholarships or other state measures, fees paid by adult learners pay are significantly below economic calculations.
Some schemes of financial support are available for some adults who are involved in some non-compulsory programmes. Namely, adults who are participants of labour market trainings created by The National Employment Service (NES) are able to receive financial support. During the training, in accordance with the contract, the NES pays some costs for the training provider (costs of realization of the training programme) and some for the trainee/eligible adult (the amount of up to 7,000.00 RSD monthly as a financial support, covering of the transport costs and insurance contributions in case of injuries at work).
The other scheme of financial support is available by the request of the employer in case the unemployed adults perform the specific job. The National Employment Service pays:
- to the employer (participation in financing the training costs)
- to the unemployed adult (monthly financial support of 16,000.00 RSD and the transportation costs)
- to the unemployed adult with a disability (monthly financial support of 20% of the minimum wage determined in accordance with labor regulations, transportation costs, and the personal assistant if necessary)
The fees are determined by the institutions and vary depending on the training staff and types of programmes.