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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.3National reforms in vocational education and training and adult learning

Last update: 30 March 2024
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In February 2024, the Bylaw on socially useful (i.e. humanitarian) work in educational institutions was adopted, which defines the detailed conditions, method, content, length, place and time of implementation and other issues of importance for the implementation of socially useful work in schools. 

Socially useful work includes the realization of activities which develop socially responsible behavior of students and is part of the annual work plan of the institution within the plan of protection against violence. The activities of socially useful work are the following activities: humanitarian actions; environmental actions for the arrangement of the school, classrooms, other rooms, as well as the school environment; actions to collect materials for recycling; preparation, i.e. arrangement of the school space for holding school events, exhibitions, guest appearances, sports and other competitions; visits to social protection institutions for the accommodation of children and youth, homes for the elderly and the Red Cross; and other activities that contribute to the development of empathy, tolerance and the improvement of relations based on mutual respect and cooperation.

The participation of students in socially useful work organized by the school creates the conditions for determining the students’ behavior grade from the second to the eighth grade of basic school and in all grades of upper secondary school. 

In the same year, new bylaws on assessment were adopted: Bylaw on the Pupil Assessment in Basic Education and Bylaw on the Pupil Assessment in Secondary Education. These bylaws specify the procedure and criteria for assessment of students’ behavior, which is done twice per term and affects the final grade of students. This means that when calculating the students’ behavior grade, it is also considered the student's engagement in extracurricular activities, in the planning and implementation of preventive activities, his behavior towards other students and school staff and the performance of school duties, as well as absences and issued disciplinary measures. 

Also, these bylaws regulate the way of assessment students who have been excused from classes for a longer period and specify the already existing provisions related to canceling written knowledge tests when there are more than 50% negative grades in the class. Additionally, the role of parents when giving feedback on the teacher's work is defined. If the parents of more than half of the students from the same class believe that a certain teacher does not conduct teaching and other forms of educational work, including evaluation, monitoring and assessment of students in accordance with the regulations, the school acts according to the procedure established by these regulations. 

For secondary schools, the number of grades for subjects and programmes for classes that take place less than two times per week, as well as assessment in vocational and dual education was additionally regulated, considering the specifics of practical teaching in vocational and dual programmes. 


After the second piloting of the general, artistic, and vocational State Matura, this project has entered the final stage of implementation. In the end of 2022, the ministry, the institutes and other relevant stakeholders held the consultative meetings with all state universities related to the harmonization of the the State Matura and the enrollment criteria at the universities. 130 selected upper secondary schools have completed full-day training on relevant procedures related to the implementation of State Matura. The Eighth Periodic Report has been prepared in the beginning of 2023, as well as the Final Report on the work of the State Matura Project.  

From the 2023/2024 school year, State Matura will be taken by all pupils from upper secondary schools in Serbia at the end of four years of education. 

The State Matura will replace the graduation exam that is currently taken by all pupils at the end of upper secondary education (both general and vocational. This exam assesses competences acquired during secondary school and it is compulsory for all pupils at the end of the 4th grade. Pupils who complete 4-year general upper secondary school take the exam which has a general part (test and essay in the Serbian/Native Language and Literature for all pupils, and either Mathematics or Foreign Language) and an individual part (writing the graduation paper in the field of any subject they choose). Pupils who complete 4-year vocational upper secondary school take the vocational graduation exam which includes three required exams: Serbian/Native Language and Literature, Mathematics (except for the educational profiles that do not have math in the last two years) and Vocational exam (exam/test of vocational-theoretical knowledge and practical work). Final exam is intended for pupils of 3-year vocational programmes and has a certification character. 

In the beginning of September 2023, the Amendments to the Law on Dual Education have been adopted. With these amendments, some of the key concepts and roles related to the dual education were defined more specificaly, such as: the employer, the instructor, learning through work implementation programme, training alliance, training center, institutional partnership, etc..  

One of the most important procedures explained by this document is learning through work, the process which is created together by the school and the employer. 

Learning through work implementation programme should includes: 

1) activities that the student will implement in learning through work as well as learning outcomes from qualification standards 

2) number of hours of learning through work that will be organized by the employer 

3) description of student’s job positions during learning through work 

4) the implementation method in case learning through work is organized in the language of the national minority 

5) method of evaluation of learning through work 

6) other aspects that may be important. 


According to the Amendments of the Law on Secondary Education adopted in 2022, the special categories of secondary schools was defined: 

  • School of national importance for the Republic of Serbia: a school that achieves exceptional results at the international level, thereby contributing to the improvement and promotion of the education system of the Republic of Serbia.  
  • School of special interest for the Republic of Serbia: a school that implements an education programme that is of special interest for the Republic of Serbia, special cultural, educational or historical importance for the Republic of Serbia. 
  • Unique school: a school that is the only one in the Republic of Serbia that implements a certain education programme. 

The Government of the Republic of Serbia designates schools of special interest for the Republic of Serbia and unique schools. 

According to the Amendments of the Law on Secondary Education, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme has been recognised and defined as an internationally verified, general education sub-university programme, completed during secondary education for at least two years. Every two years the minister presents a list of IB programmes. A pupil who has completed the fourth grade of secondary school according to the IB programme can take the final international exam. After passing the international baccalaureate, the pupil acquires a public certificate of completed secondary education, in accordance with the programme and the law.   

Additionally, according to the Amendments of the Law on the Education System Foundations, the Ministry of Education established an information system for conducting examinations within the Unified Information System of Education (JISP). This aspect of the system gathers all the relevant data on pupils, including data required for the organization of exams and enrollment of pupils in the next level of education, data on the educational status of pupils, data on the examination procedure and other relevant data.