Europe - Country Commercial Guide
Serbia Education and Training

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

Education in Serbia consists of preschool, primary school, secondary school and higher education levels.  It is regulated by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Republic of Serbia.
One of the key goals of Serbia’s higher education is the implementation of the Bologna Process and comprehensive educational reform that started in 2005.  However, the implementation of the Bologna Process spawned a lot of problems, such as the introduction of very high tuition fees in public universities under the cover of the process.  The average tuition fee for one year of studies is between 1000 and 1500 euros for public, and between 1500 and 2500 euros for private universities.  The rise of tuition fees is leading to the decrease of the number of students applying for university places.  Also, many students are obligated to find a job in order to be able to pay for their studies and some of them are dropping out of faculties since Serbian education system does not have any mechanism that would make it easier for students to work and study at the same time.   The other major problem of Bologna Process is that its implementation is not unique due to the fact that each professor uses it differently.
In 2012 the Government of Serbia accepted The Strategy for Development of Education in Serbia 2020 with the main goal to advance the quality of education and increase the number of students participating in the education programs.  Also, this Strategy supports international openness and mobility of students.  The Strategy predicts that by the year 2020, 20 percent of students will participate in international exchange programs.

Although there is a certain trend among students to study abroad (mostly in EU countries) this is not a common practice because the living expenses and tuition fees abroad are too high for Serbian students.  This is usually an independent decision, made by students, and not related to cooperation with universities in Serbia.  This might change in the future since some Serbian faculties have established cooperation in the field of students’ exchange programs with universities in the EU countries which are students’ primary destination mostly because of Erasmus Program.  There are also some other programs for students to study abroad that offer full or partial scholarship.
Most popular programs for studying in the USA are FLEX for high school students and Global Undergraduate Exchange Program and Fulbright Program for higher education.
Training services are mostly offered by consulting companies such as Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte as well as several franchises such as Dale Carnegie, Franklin Covey, NCP, etc. Their services are primarily used by large companies during their team building seminaries or by non-governmental organizations. Training services sector is still developing in Serbia so this market is offering a vast number of opportunities for U.S. companies although there are no precise information which areas are the most popular.

 Leading Sub-Sectors
International Exchange Programs

There are several international exchange programs between the U.S and Serbia. The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy Belgrade administers a number of educational exchange programs for Serbian students.
Exchange opportunities for high school students:

  • Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship
  • FLEX (Formerly A-SMYLE) Future Leaders High School Exchange Program

 Academic exchange opportunities:

  • Global UGRAD Exchange Program
  • Fulbright Foreign Student Program
  • Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program
  • Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program
  • OneBeat

 Having in mind the economic situation in Serbia, fully funded scholarships are the best way to approach Serbian students.
Intensive English Language Programs

Although Serbian students are taught English as a second language from the early grades of elementary school, English proficiency level is generally not achieved.  English language teaching can be considered a good niche for the U.S. concepts.  There are several private international primary and high schools where lectures are held in English but they are very expensive and that is the reason why most of students go to public schools.

The ability to earn college credit through internet courses has been booming in the United States in recent years.  The flexibility of taking courses via an online college site is an area which could be profitable for American universities looking to attract Serbian students eager to strengthen their resumes and diversify their studies.  The biggest challenge in this area is the difference between U.S. and Serbian time zones.
Potential users of training services are big international companies, non-governmental organizations (especially those related to civil society).  Serbian companies still do not understand the importance of training services although some governmental bodies, such as ministries, are using this type of services.
The most popular faculties, based undergraduate students enrollment data, are Faculty of Organizational Sciences, Faculty of Mathematics, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Electrical Engineering.  It is believed that the popularity of those faculties is related to the fact that their students can easily get a job abroad as well as good wages.
It has to be mentioned that “traditional” sciences, such as law, economy and social sciences, are still highly respected.
Most students enrolled at the university are financed by the government but that might change soon since the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Republic of Serbia is considering changing the system of government financing.
Training services that are the most often offered in Serbia are related to soft skills management, media and HR management skills.

 Web Resources

Boris Popovski
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Embassy Belgrade
Address: Bulevar kneza Aleksandra Karadjordjevica 92, 11000 Belgrade
Phone number: +381 11 706 4533