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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: 27 November 2023
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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.


The Bylaw on Detailed Conditions Concerning the Programme, Staff, Space, Equipment and Teaching Aids for Acquiring the Status of Publicly Accredited Providers of Adult Education Activities adopted in 2021. It defines detailed conditions regarding the procedure of acquiring the status of a publicly accredited providers of adult education activities by the primary and secondary schools and other organizations. 

This status can be acquired for the following activities: 

  1. non-formal adult education which leads to acquiring competencies and/or qualifications 
  2. non-formal adult education which improves knowledge, skills and abilities, personal and professional development and/or socially responsible behaviour 
  3. provision of career guidance and counselling services 
  4. recognition of prior learning, a special procedure which evaluates and assesses competences acquired through education, life or work experience 

Fulfilment of the conditions for schools is defined by the Ministry of Education and for other organizations by the Qualifications Agency. 

This document is relevant especially because it defines the professional competencies of the staff who work in adult education institutions. According to the bylaw, staff must acquire at least three out of five andragogical competencies:  

  • planning and organising learning activities for adults 
  • encouraging adults to learn 
  • implementation methods and techniques in adult education 
  • communication and group dynamics in adult education 
  • evaluation of achievement. 

The framework for the training programme for development of andragogical competences is an integral part of this bylaw. The bylaw also regulates structure of programmes for the implementation of training, types of programmes, examination procedures, issuing of certificates etc.