In Serbia, the principles of equality, equity and accessibility are some of the most relevant general principles of education defined by the Law on the Education System Foundations.
The Law placed special education needs under the frame of the mainstream education system. Accordingly, all children, regardless of the severity of their disability have the right to participate in regular preschool, primary and secondary school programmes, if their parents decide so. Teachers and other school specialists – psychologists, pedagogues, pedagogical assistants etc provide additional support to such children.
Based on psychological assessment, a special team made of school specialists and parents (inclusion team) may create an Individual Education Plan for a particular child/pupil/student. The purpose of this plan is to eliminate all teaching, learning, communication, physical and other barriers and provide conditions for an unobstructed learning process. It may involve the adjustment of:
- teaching methods,
- materials or
- grading and achievement standards and
- learning outcomes.
The changes of the Law on the Education System Foundations introduced a provision that special attention should be given to career guidance and counselling of teachers, students, and adults.
The Law on Primary Education states that schools, in cooperation with institutions which provide professional orientation, should help parents and students when choosing secondary schools and future careers, based on the interests and competences of students. A major development in career guidance in primary education has been the Professional Orientation Project, which is currently being implemented in all primary schools. Professional orientation teams are compiled of teachers and professional associates (pedagogues and psychologists).
The Law on Secondary Education recognizes career guidance and counselling as part of school activities and introduces a career guidance programme alongside the role of career guidance teams within schools. According to this law, every secondary school is obliged to form a team for career guidance and counselling. Also, the Law on Dual Education especially defines that a team for career guidance and counselling has to be formed in order to strengthen the career management skills of students and help them make decisions about their professional future.
According to the Law on Higher Education, career guidance for students is provided by university and faculty career development centres. Almost all universities have career centres which organize career workshops, provide counselling, and offer internships to students.
The Law on Adult Education includes similar provisions, stating that career guidance provides support to adults in personal/professional development and employment.
The support and guidance to learners are also legally regulated by several bylaws.
The Bylaw on Additional Educational, Health and Social Support for Children and Pupils is a document that regulates the conditions for assessing the needs for additional educational, health or social support to children and students.
It is created through joint efforts and legislation of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy. Additional educational, health or social support can be provided to children and pupils from vulnerable groups in the cases of:
- social deprivation,
- developmental and other disabilities,
- learning difficulties and
- other conditions requiring additional support.
The Bylaw on standards of career guidance and counselling services defines four areas of standards of the quality of career guidance services: Standards of career management skills, Standards of career guidance practitioners’ competences, Organizational standards, and Standards of the programme.
The Standards of career management skills are guidelines for defining goals and outcomes of activities provided by the school. The Standards of career guidance practitioners’ competences are guidelines for self-assessment of career guidance practitioners (teachers, school pedagogues and psychologists, other career guidance practitioners). Organizational standards are guidelines in the area of services quality. Standards of a programme define the structure of the programme for career guidance and counselling services, general principles, and key elements such as a target group, goals, activities and methods, evaluation etc.
The National Employment Service (NES) provides career guidance services primarily to adult individuals, through a network of 34 offices across the country. NES counsellors provide assistance to school-age children in terms of professional orientation and publish guides for primary school children.