Serbia performs better than other Western
Balkans systems in reading, maths and science.
These scores are close to those of some
countries in Europe, such as Bulgaria, Greece
Socio-economically advantaged students and
girls perform better than boys and
Policies are needed to help all students
70% of upper secondary students attend a
Roughly 50% of these students cannot
Selection into upper secondary programmes is
Boys are 2x more likely than girls
to attend vocational training
Disadvantaged students are 5x more
likely than advantaged students to
attend vocational training programmes
Accounting for gender and socio-economic
status in Serbia results in a decline in the
performance gap between educational and
This suggests that student background, in
addition to ability, can largely shape whether
they attend general education or vocational
Serbia performs better than expected given its level of funding.
However, its expenditure on education is far
less than the OECD average. More spending
could contribute to even higher results.
Serbian principals reported greater concerns
about resource shortages in:
Schools with more disadvantaged students
These trends are also seen across Western
Balkans economies and OECD countries.
Compared to the average across OECD
Serbia tends to use more teacher-directed
And less adaptive methods that focus on
meeting students’ individual needs.
More teacher-directed instruction is associated
with lower reading performance and more
adaptive instruction is associated with higher
reading performance in
and throughout Western Balkans 5* and
*No data for North Macedonia
Traditional practices such as teacher-directed instruction are more frequently used in schools with more disadvantaged students and vocational programmes.
Adaptive instructional approaches associated with higher outcomes more frequently occur in schools with more advantaged students and general education programmes.