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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Lifelong learning strategy


2.Organisation and governance

2.2Lifelong learning strategy

Last update: 27 November 2023

The lifelong learning principle is in the focus of national policies and the main activities of the Ministry of Education in the past decade. Lifelong learning development has a special place in the Strategy for Development of Education in the Republic of Serbia by 2030. The strategy is a comprehensive document which refers to all education levels from ISCED 0 to ISCED 8, to adult education, teacher education and horizontal aspects of the educational system. This strategic document also aims at harmonizing the national regulations in education with international documents and initiatives (UN, EU, Council of Europe).  

The Ministry of Education launched the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Strategy during the first two-year period (2021-2023) for all education levels. The Action Plan specifies the most relevant activities, implementation methods, deadlines, key actors, instruments for monitoring, indicators, and factors of progress, as well as procedures for evaluation and reporting.

First of all, the concept of lifelong learning is elaborated in accordance with the vision of education development in the Republic of Serbia, which is one of the general parts of the strategy. In this part, it is stated that:

  • One of the priorities of education is the development of a lifelong learning culture, which includes a transformation of learning and teaching to strengthen critical thinking, media and information literacy, scientific, technical, and technological achievements, sustainable development, and participation at all levels of education.
  • Lifelong learning is part of the idea of a non-fragmented approach to education, which means that the quality of education is continuously improving from preschool education to higher education and adult education.
  • Lifelong learning in 2030 should be a regularity, not a rare exception. Although the system has been significantly improved with the adoption of the National Qualifications Framework, it is necessary to improve the system in terms of clear procedures in recognizing prior learning, maintaining transparency and comparability of qualifications systems, as well as a dialogue and the development of social partnership.
  • Primary education has the main role in providing basic quality education for all, by achieving general principles, goals and outcomes of education and especially by developing key competencies (competencies for lifelong learning, intercultural competencies etc.)

In the strategy, one of the specific objectives is related directly to lifelong learning. It is objective 1.8: “Improved conditions for lifelong learning”.

The main indicators at the level of this specific objective are:

  • an increased number of procedures for the recognition of prior learning carried out by publicly recognized organizers of adult education activities
  • an increased number of programs offered by publicly recognized organizers of adult education activities 
  • an increased number of approved Erasmus + projects in which Republic of Serbia participates.

According to the Law on the Education System Foundations, one of ten general principles of education is lifelong learning. In this context the aim of lifelong learning (which includes all forms of learning and participation in various forms of educational activities throughout life), is continuous improvement of personal, civic, social and other competencies. 

Moreover, one of the main objectives of education in accordance with this law is development of key competencies for lifelong learning, cross-curricular competencies and professional competencies related to the profession, the needs of the labour market and the modern science and technology.  

One important approach to lifelong learning has been described in the Bylaw on Standards of General Cross-curricular Competences where the competence for lifelong learning is one of eleven transversal (cross-curricular) competences defined with the standards of achievement for the end of upper secondary education. According to this document, the competence for lifelong learning is based on the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes about the learning process management. The student should be able to initiate learning, choose learning strategies and evaluate the progress and results during the learning process. This competence also includes the awareness of the learning importance, opportunities and difficulties in learning and the student’s ability to overcome difficulties in learning. According to this bylaw, the opportunity for the development of competence for lifelong learning can be every single compulsory and non-compulsory subject in a curriculum.

The principles of lifelong learning have also been implemented in the field of labour market active policy measures and employment policy. This primarily refers to the organisation of trainings for the needs of labour market and those initiated at the request of employers. At an annual level, upon the completion of a public procurement procedure, the National Employment Service organises different courses for the unemployed, in accordance with the National Employment Action Plan.

One of the most important policy documents which refer to lifelong learning is the Law on the National Qualifications Framework of the Republic of Serbia, the integrated qualifications framework for all levels and types of qualifications that can be attained through formal and non-formal education and informal learning. In 2021, in the final phase of the implementation of the project “Development of an integrated system of national qualifications in the Republic of Serbia” the final amendments of this law were adopted. According to the law, some related bylaws have also been adopted. One of them is the Bylaw on the methodology for the qualification standards development. The methodology for the qualification standards development has been determined by a separate document which will be used as the main instrument for the interpretation of qualifications on the labour market and in the education system. In addition to the bylaw, there are also other relevant documents and basic instruments for monitoring the integration of labour market and education needs, as well as planning and public policymaking in the fields of education and employment: The Bylaw on the system for classification and coding of qualifications, National Qualifications Framework of the Republic of Serbia, the decrees on the adoption of qualification standards for individual occupations etc.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and the Qualifications Agency have compiled a unique List of Qualifications of the Republic of Serbia, which has so far included around 4,000 qualifications for all levels of education.

The List of Qualifications is an organized register of qualifications, classified according to certain criteria, which is used as an instrument of unambiguous communication among all users of this data, nationally and internationally. 

The Qualifications Agency is a top-level body responsible for providing quality on all levels of development and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework in the Republic of Serbia (NQFS). The agency is authorized for the coordination and support of NQFS Council, cooperation with relevant international bodies and institutions and referencing of NQFS with the European Qualifications Framework, coordination and support of the Sector Skills Councils as well as the support of the development of Qualifications Standards.