3.11 Current debates and reforms
Forthcoming policy developments
The Standards for Career Guidance and Counselling Services (Predlog standarda usluga karijernog vođenja i savetovanja) was developed in 2017. The working group was led by the Institute for the Development of Education. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development officially enact the standards in June 2019. The adoption of the Standards provides the basis for the planning, development and evaluation of career guidance and counselling services provided by organisations in the field of education, employment, social protection and youth policy for individuals of different ages.
The Strategy for Career Guidance and Counselling in the Republic of Serbia (Strategija karijernog vođenja i savetovanja), was adopted in 2010 with Action Plan for the period 2011-2014. It is expected that the Action Plan for the next period should be developed in the near future.
One of the biggest challenges in Serbia is the high unemployment rate of young people. Bearing that in mind, the priority of the decision-makers is creating conditions for increasing youth employability and self-employability through cross-sectoral cooperation with all relevant youth policy actors. In this regard, particular attention was given to development of mechanisms and measures that would increase youth employment, especially in terms of reconciliation of labour market needs and education. Therefore, the adoption of the Law on Dual Education (Zakon o dualnom obrazovanju) in 2017 is considered essential since it provides the conditions for acquiring, improving and developing competences in accordance with the needs of the labour market.
From the 2019/2020 school year, the model of dual education has been applied in secondary vocational schools through theoretical education and practical work at the employer. The Law stipulates that a student is entitled to a monthly income for learning through work at a net amount of at least 70% of the minimum cost of work. The acquired competences are tested at the final exam. The fulfilment of the conditions for conducting dual education at the employer will be checked by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
Similarly, in September 2019, a Law on Dual Studies in HE (Zakon o dualnom modelu studija u visokom obrazovanju) was adopted, which introduces the possibility of organizing in parallel studying and work (an average of 450 hours of studying at a higher education institution i.e. attending lectures and exercises, and an average of 450 hours of work per year of studying during the whole study programme). The law envisaged that a student is paid at least 50% of a basic salary during the period of studying and work.
Additionally, Serbia participates in the EU Youth Dialogue where young people, youth organisations, policy and decision makers, experts, researchers and other relevant civil society actors, discuss and consult on the priorities, implementation and follow-up of European cooperation in the field of youth. This 7th EU dialogue cycle was dedicated to the improvement of youth employment and education.
Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs formed a working group to examine the possibility of improving the traineeships program in the Republic of Serbia, in August 2021. Ex-ante analysis was conducted and published in November 2021 to help formulate potential solutions for the legal framework of the implementation of traineeships. In December 2021, the Ministry initiated a public debate on the Draft Law on Traineeships (Nacrt zakona o radnoj praksi). Such Law is being introduced into the legal system of Serbia for the first time and it regulates issues such as the traineeship contract and its termination, the methods of gaining practical experience and appropriate skills through traineeships, the rights and obligations of an employer and a trainee, the certificate of traineeship and a traineeship plan. The rationale of the Draft Law states, among other things, that its adoption is expected to improve the indicators of the labour market for young people as well as reduce the NEET rate.