No planning policy in terms of teacher supply or demand has been established.
Entry to the Profession
The Law on the Education System Foundations stipulates the requirements a person must fulfil to be employed as a teacher:
- a degree at the particular level of education;
- psychological, physical and health capacity required for work with children;
- no criminal record;
- Serbian citizenship;
- fluency in the teaching language (Serbian or minority language).
Recruitment in public schools can be conducted through employee takeovers from other educational institutions where their engagement has become redundant. Such employees are put on a takeover list and have priority in schools offering open positions. Still, to be taken over, such teacher have to meet all the requirements for the new position. A list of redundant teachers is made on a local level.
Open recruitment is conducted if the teacher takeover is not possible (e.g. there is no teacher for a subject on the list). The school principal is responsible for announcing the vacancy and selecting shortlisted candidates. They are then referred to psychological assessment. The principal decides on the selection of the most suitable candidate based on the selection process results.
Induction programme is determined by the Law on the Education System Foundations and Bylaw on Teachers and Education Staff Licensing. It is intended for a teacher employed in a school for the first time. Its goal is to prepare the teacher for their independent work in the future. It is provided for all teachers new to the profession, regardless of their type of contract. Usually they are employed on a temporary contract, with a probation period up to 6 months.
In 2005 the induction programme for teachers new to the profession was determined and described in details, together with the mentoring support and requirements during the programme.
Induction programme lasts from one to two years. During this time a teacher has the status of a trainee teacher. The trainee teacher is assigned a mentor – another teacher who already works at the school, or alternatively an external consultant (education specialist). The mentor supervises the trainee’s work and provides any necessary support. Mentors are distinguished licensed teachers with at least 5 years’ working experience or external consultants (education specialists).
Mentoring support became mandatory for teachers during the induction programme in 2005. The programme more clearly regulated:
- the role of the mentor;
- their responsibilities;
- work methods;
- requirements and conditions for becoming a mentor.
There is no mentoring support for licensed teachers.
Upon completing the one-year induction programme, the trainee teacher can take his/her professional exam as a mandatory prerequisite for obtaining a teaching license. The professional exam consists of three parts:
- practical demonstration of skills in a class.
The exam is organised by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and carried out before a commission appointed by the Ministry. If they pass the exam, trainee teachers become licensed teachers and may continue their work in school.
According to the Law on the Education System Foundations, teachers at schools can have various professional statuses:
- First time employed, trainee-teacher on a temporary contract;
- Replacement teacher on a temporary contract (described in Replacement Measures);
- Professional consultant teacher – a professional employed at another institution (other school, higher education institution etc.) may be employed as a consultant at a school with up to 30% of full working time;
- Licensed teacher on a temporary contract – licensed teachers can be temporarily employed during the takeover or recruitment period, until the new teacher is selected;
- Licensed teacher on a permanent contract – a new teacher taken over from another school or selected through open recruitment, permanently employed, usually with a probation period not longer than 6 months;
- Redundant teacher – a teacher on a permanent contract whose service is no longer needed in a school, and who is put on a takeover list and has employment priority in other schools.
Replacement teachers may be employed on a temporary basis during the absence of a permanently employed teacher. Replacement teachers may be employed without a recruitment procedure for a replacement period of up to 60 days, through a regular open recruitment procedure or in a takeover process if the replacement period is longer than 60 days. Replacement teachers have to fulfil all conditions as described in Entry to the Profession.
A teacher may be absent from work due to illness, maternity leave or other reasons determined by the Labour Law.
Teachers in school are supported in their work by the following professionals:
- Psychologists and pedagogues play an important role in the improvement of teaching and other educational activities. They provide support to teachers regarding:
- teaching methods,
- developing Individual Education Plans,
- work with children/pupils/students who need additional learning support,
- communication with parents and
- other important aspects of the teaching-learning process.
Moreover, their duty is to organize professional development of teachers within the school.
- Pedagogical assistants provide support to teachers in their work with children or pupils who need additional learning support.
- Adult education assistants have the equivalent role in work with adult learners.
- Educational advisor is an external consultant. He/she is chosen by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development. His/her duty is to evaluate different aspects of school affairs and teachers work. He/she also provides support to teachers to improve teaching quality according to determined standards.
Salaries of all teachers in public schools on preschool, primary and secondary levels are regulated at central level, regardless of their categories, school types etc. Salaries of teachers in private independent schools are calculated per methods established by private institutions themselves.
The salaries of teachers working in public schools are calculated based on the conditions stipulated in the Special Collective Agreement for Employees in Primary and Secondary Schools and Students’ Dormitories.
To obtain the maximum basic statutory salary, teachers should meet one of the following criteria: criterion on minimum number of years of service (for women 39 years and four months, for men 40 years) or retirement age criterion (for women 63 years and two months in 2021, for men 65 years). The age limit for women will be increasing gradually until it reaches 65 years in 2032.
Working Time and Holidays
Full time work is based on 40 hours work time. Most of this time (up to 24 hours per week) goes to teaching and work with children/pupils/students. The rest is left for:
- teachers’ preparation,
- administration and keeping of school records,
- meetings with parents,
- participation in the school board, school council,
- professional development,
- cultural activities,
- organisation of extracurricular activities and other school activities.
One school hour lasts 45 minutes. During a school week, within the teaching part of their working hours, teachers who work full time are required to hold:
- 20 school hours of lectures plus 4 school hours of other types of work with pupils/teachers (additional, preparatory, supplementary or other kinds of classes)
- or 26 school hours of practical classes.
Those teachers with fewer school hours work part-time.
Responsibilities of teachers may vary in accordance with their different roles in the school (e.g. a class teacher is required to dedicate one school hour per week to class meetings; teachers of different subjects may have different school hours’ requirements etc.). Their working hours are determined by the Regulations on Teaching Norms. Each individual school determines the structure and schedule of teachers’ annual and weekly obligations.
As determined by their work contracts, teachers have to take their annual leaves during school holidays.
Teachers can be promoted to:
- educational advisers;
- independent educational advisers;
- educational consultants;
- senior educational consultants.
These teachers have to successfully complete the required number of professional development hours. For further details, see the section on Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education.
Mobility and Transfers
According to the Law on the Education System Foundations, two schools may sign a contract on taking over a teacher for an indefinite period if the change in teacher’s workload is not greater than 20% of working time.
According to the Law on the Education System Foundations, sanctions for a teacher’s inappropriate behaviour may include:
- temporary work ban,
- suspension of license and
- revocation of license.
The school principal initiates disciplinary procedures and decides on disciplinary measures against the employee if he/she is found guilty. Otherwise, the employee is released from liability and the procedure is closed. The disciplinary procedure cannot last longer than 6 months as of the initiation day.
Teachers may be charged with criminal offences as determined by the Law on Criminal Offences, or for serious violations of work duties as determined by the Law on the Education System Foundations.
Serious violations of work duties are:
- commission of a criminal offence at work;
- failure to implement safety measures at school;
- incitement of alcohol abuse among students or failure to report alcohol abuse;
- incitement of drug abuse among students or failure to report drug abuse;
- carrying weapons in school;
- unauthorised change of data in school records;
- destruction, damage or theft of school records;
- incomplete, untimely or negligent keeping of school records;
- charging supplementary (private) classes for students from the school where the teacher works;
- alcohol or drug abuse at work;
- refusal of insight into written examination results to students or parents;
- refusal of insight into school records to an external education supervisor or parents;
- illegal work or violation of the rights of other employees or students;
- failure to perform or negligent performance of school duties envisaged by the work contract or assigned by the school principal;
- abuse of employment rights;
- illegal use of the institution funds, facilities, equipment or assets;
- unjustified absence from work for two or more consecutive days;
- other violations of working obligations.
Suspension of license is applicable to the following cases:
- Teachers’ license may be suspended for a 6-month period in the case of dismissal from work due to any of the serious violations under items 1) to 7). During his/her license suspension, the teacher is not allowed to work in school.
- License may be suspended to a teacher whose work, as determined by external evaluation, is not in accordance with the principles, standards and goals of the education process. The teacher is then issued a warning with recommendations on work improvement. If the teacher is evaluated negatively for a second time, his/her license may be suspended. The suspension may be terminated if the teacher passes his/her license exam again. The exam has to be passed not later than 6 months after the suspension starting date. The teacher is dismissed from work if he or she fails to pass the exam in the said period. During the license suspension, the teacher may work in the school on activities assigned by the school principal.
- License may be suspended to a teacher who, for unjustified reasons, has failed to participate in mandatory professional development programmes. Suspension may be terminated when the teacher provides a proof of the completion of the professional development programme as required. During the license suspension, the teacher may work in school on activities assigned by the school principal.
Revocation of teachers’ license is final with no right to license renewal. It applies to the following cases:
- Conviction of a criminal offence, regardless of the criminal sanctions imposed;
- Dismissal from work in the case of:
- discrimination of children, parents or employees on any basis;
- physical, psychological or social violence;
- abuse or neglect of children;
- physical punishment and insulting;
- sexual abuse of children or employees.
Temporary work ban applies to a teacher accused of any of the foregoing acts or in the case of serious violations of work duties under items 1) to 5), 10) and 16). It lasts until the closure of disciplinary procedure.
Fine is a salary reduction and it may amount to 20-35% of the teacher’s monthly salary. It may last from 3 to 6 months. This measure is imposed by the school principal in the case of minor violations.
Dismissal is applicable to a teacher convicted of a criminal offence, serious violation, or when his/her license suspension is not terminated, as decided by the school principal.
Retirement and Pensions
Pensions policy in Serbia is regulated by the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance.
To retire with full pension entitlement, a teacher has to accomplish the following conditions (conditions are changing year by year according to this law).
For year 2021:
- Official retirement age for women in 2021 is minimum 63 years and two months and for men is minimum 65 years. The age limit for women will be increasing gradually until it reaches 65 years in 2032.
- Official minimum number of years of service for women is 39 years and four months and for men is minimum 40 years.
According to the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance, some rights are specifically stipulated. One of them is right on earlier retirement (in case person reached years of service), but in that case, the amount of the pension is being reduced until reaching official retirement age. Additionally, a person can receive a pension in case he/she has reached official retirement age and has at least 15 years of service but the amount of the pension would be reduced proportionally.