Educational System

Preschool education
As of school year 2006-2007, preschool in duration of 6 months is compulsory and it is the first part of compulsory education. Attended at the age of 5 or 6 in the local kindergarten, it familiarizes students with the educational system.

Primary education
Children enroll in primary schools at the age of seven (usually, all students in a class were born in the same year). However, it is possible for students to enroll at the primary school one year earlier if they were born before August.
The elementary school is divided into two stages:

Lower grades (grades 1-4)
Higher grades (grades 5-8)

In the lower grades, students are sorted into classes randomly and have only one teacher and classroom for all subjects, except for English, P.E. and, civics and religion. Students in the lower grades study the following subjects (as of school year 2005-2006, it is compulsory to learn English language from the 1st grade):

Mathematics (only basics (counting and calculation) in 1st and 2nd grade)
Mother tongue (Serbian, Hungarian, Albanian, Romani etc.)
Serbian as a second language (for those whose mother tongue isn't Serbian)
Fine art (drawing and painting; art theory only in higher grades)
English language (a compulsory foreign language)
Music (singing, reading notes and playing instruments (recorder or synthesizer))
Physical education (basic exercises, running, sports and P.E. equipment usage)
The world around us (for 1st and 2nd grades) and nature and society (for 3rd and 4th grades)
An elective: (civics or religious education (veronauka)) ; students must choose one of the two subjects
Optional electives (penmanship for 1st grade, national tradition for 4th grade, ecology (čuvari prirode (Nature watchers)) (expansion of world around us and nature and society) for all lower primary grades)
In the higher grades, students get a whole range of teachers and classrooms for the school subjects (old and new).
From 5th grade: biology, geography, history, second foreign language, technical sciences, sport and another compulsory elective (computer sciences or drawing, painting, sculpting
From 6th grade: physics
From 7th grade: chemistry

When students graduate from the primary school, they choose whether they want to continue their education or not. National Strategy for Education plans to make secondary education compulsory by 2020. The Minister of Education, Žarko Obradović, said that even though strategy would be implemented in the future, it required constitutional changes.

Secondary education
Secondary schools are divided into three types - gymnasiums, professional and craft schools. After graduating from the primary school, students take a test called Matura. The test covers subjects that were taught in primary school. They are awarded the maximum of 40 points at the test. They also get points from their average marks from 5th to 8th grade, and the maximum is 60 points. Both the points from Matura and from average marks are totallized into the maximum of 100 points. Then, students make a list of their preferred schools and are sorted according to how much points they had gained - every secondary school has a limited number of students it takes. After students make lists for preferred schools, they get into the first school that suits them according to the points. If they fail to get into any of the schools they had listed (ex. if they don't have enough points, but they had chosen very competitive schools), they make another list for the Second Enrollment Deadline.

There are secondary schools that don't require the classical point system for entrance. Various music, science, philology and ballet schools sort students out based on their talent, rather than their academic performance.
Gymnasiums (gimnazija) takes four years to complete and offers general and broad education, awarding students a High school diploma. Students are advised to continue their education after graduation as it is very hard to find a job with a gymnasium diploma. There are also two types of special gymnasiums: The Gymnasium of Mathematics and The Gymnasium of Philology. There are plans for an integrated entrance exam for higher education, as well as unified scoring systems for entrance exams, even for special gymnasiums.

Gymnasiums have its courses (smerovi), and the most common ones are the Socio-Linguistics Course, Science-Mathematics Course, Information Technology Course, Bilingual Course, and the General Course. Students can only choose one course (they do it when they write their wish list for preferred schools and courses) and they usually don't change it until they graduate. Every course has the same number and list of classes, but the difference is in their schedules (for example, the Socio-Linguistic Course might have English classes five times a week, while the Science-Mathematics Course offers two English classes a week).

Professional schools (stručna škola) specializes students in a particular field and awards them with a First Professional Degree. It also takes four years to complete. Some examples of such schools are Economy School, Medicine School, Chemistry School, Technical School, Graphics School, etc.

Vocational schools also have courses. Usually, they teach 10-14 general subjects (English, math, biology, geography, history, etc.), a few professional subjects that are different for almost every course (hygiene in a nurse-technician course at medical schools, for example) and a compulsory block of practice classes.

There are two types of vocational school courses: four-year courses and three-year courses. Three-year courses are crafts and if a student that has a craft diploma wants to attend a university, they must enroll in the fourth year of a four-year course inordinately.

Also, after graduating from vocational schools, students are given particular ranks. If their school course was "Law", then their rank is the Law Technician. Only four-year courses give ranks.

Tertiary education
Tertiary level institutions accept students based on their grades in high school and entrance exams results.
Upper schools (viša škola) last for 3 years. They correspond to professional universities. The difference is that professional universities last 3-8 years (just as normal ones do) and offer common tertiary degrees, while upper schools last only for 3 years and offer special upper school diploma. However, since Serbia signed Bologna Process in 2003, upper schools are to be reformed in accordance with it.

Faculties (fakultet) of universities (univerzitet) and art academies (akademija umetnosti) last for 4 years until baccalaureate, 5 years until magistracy and 8 years until doctorate. Only exception are the Medical schools, lasting for 6 years until Doctor of Medicine.

Serbia has 17 universities, of which 8 are public and 9 are private, 63 colleges of applied sciences, of which 47 are public and 17 are private, and 8 colleges of academic studies, of which 3 are public and 5 are private. Serbian citizens can study at public universities for free, while tuition is low for foreign students. Tuition costs at private schools vary.

Quaternary education
Postgraduate education (post-diplomske studije) was made of further specialization and doctorate during the times of Socialist Yugoslavia. However, the Bologna Process (which Serbia signed in 2003) abolished the quaternary education and incorporated it into the tertiary education. Specialization today is non-academic and considered as improvement in different parts of the profession (seminars, researches, etc.), and doctorate is considered as the third part of the bachelor-master-doctor continuum present in the tertiary educational system.