In the beginning of 2023, the Government of the Republic of Serbia appointed new members of the Council for the National Qualifications Framework for a period of four years. The Council defined the main goals for the forthcoming period. Namely, this body will propose qualification standards for all levels of National Qualifications Framework of the Republic of Serbia, propose the establishment of sector skill councils for a specific sector, monitor and give recommendations for improving their work, give an opinion on the advice of sector skill councils regarding enrollment policy in secondary schools and higher education institutions, provide recommendations on improvements in connecting education and the needs of the labour market, and advice on the process of planning and development of human resources. The Council will cooperate closely with the Qualifications Agency in order to improve a process of development and adopting the qualification standards.
These bodies will use the same approach which has been used so far. Namely, this approach is based on the update of qualifications according to the needs of employers, technological development or the needs of regulated professions.
Also, in January 2023, the Council adopted nine qualification standards proposals in the arts and humanities, other services, engineering, food processing, mechatronics, automatics and electronics, healthcare and traffic engineering.
In the beginning of September 2023, the Amendments to the Law on the National Qualifications Framework of the Republic of Serbia have been adopted. The amendments determine career guidance and counseling services, the work of a Council of National Qualifications Framework (NQF), the procedure for recognition of prior learning and other relevant aspects in this area.
Career guidance and counseling services are provided by the National Employment Service and Publicly Recognized Activity Organizers (PRAO) in accordance with the law governing adult education and Higher Education Institutions in accordance with the law governing higher education. Additionally, youth offices, civil society organizations dealing with career guidance and counseling, employment agencies and other relevant legal entities provide career guidance and counseling services.
Career practitioners within the meaning of this law are professionals with various qualifications who work with individuals or groups of different ages, helping them to manage the processes of learning, work, career changes and other aspects of personal development, and who have competencies determined by the standards defined by the Bylaw on Standards of Career Guidance and Counselling Services. The Qualifications Agency monitors the implementation of career guidance and counseling services and the implementation of standards.
By the Amendments to the Law on the National Qualifications Framework of the Republic of Serbia, the procedure for recognition of prior learning (RPL) has been explained in more detail.
A person interested in entering the procedure of recognition of prior learning acquires the status of a candidate after applying to a primary and secondary school that has acquired the status of PRAO for the recognition of prior learning. In the process of recognition of prior learning, learning outcomes and the competences determined by the qualification standard are recognizing if the candidate managed to prove them through the assessment instruments defined by the law.
These amendments also include granting and withdrawing the status of PRAO for primary and secondary schools, the procedure for submitting complaints about the outcome of the examination and other relevant aspects in this area.
One of the main policy changes in this area was related to the process of recognition of prior learning (RPL) which is regulated by the Law on the Education System Foundations. In accordance with the Bylaw on standards and implementation of the recognition of prior learning process, a school with the status of publicly accredited provider of adult education is in charge of the RPL process, which means that this institution can carry out the process of recognition of full qualifications or learning outcomes and competencies defined in the qualification standards, at least at the level of one occupation. This Bylaw defines the process of information provision to candidates, process of counselling, guidance and support in self-assessment, assessment methods and approaches for institutions, issuing certificates, quality assurance of the RPL process and other relevant aspects. The piloting of the RPL process started in 2021. RPL will enable adults who have acquired knowledge and skills outside the education system through informal or non-formal learning to obtain a qualification.
The List of Qualifications of the Republic of Serbia adopted and published in 2020. Then, in 2021, it became the most relevant document in Serbia which was created in order to strengthen the relation between the labour market and education system and integrated more than 4000 qualifications for all levels of education. The update of the List of Qualifications of the Republic of Serbia was realized in accordance with the reasoned requests of individuals and institutions from the education system, received after its initial publication.
Also, in the beginning of 2021, process of referencing The National Qualifications Framework in Serbia - National Qualifications System Levels I–V with the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) and the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA) has been conducted. An official document in which the Republic of Serbia presents phases of this procedure and relevant policy measures is The Report on Referencing the National Qualifications Framework of the Republic of Serbia to the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning and Self-certification to the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area. This document describes all measures conducted in order to fulfil the criteria, adapt procedures and improve the principles for quality assurance.
This process also ensures that the most relevant EU networks, platforms and credit systems (such as European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), European credit system for vocational education and training (ECVET) and Europass) are using continuously and transparently in education system in the Republic of Serbia.