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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - ETF Working document
Title Transition from education to work: Serbia country report
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
This background paper aims to present an overview of information and knowledge available about the
wider context in which the transition from school to work occurs in Serbia and hence to provide the
primary field research on school-to-work transition undertaken simultaneously by the Strategic
Marketing with the necessary framework for analysis of empirical results obtained through the survey.
But it is also meant to serve as an input for national public debate on the subject, to be conducted
within a wider international project of European Training Foundation.

One of the key points encountered frequently in various qualitative analyses of the current situation in
the field is that there is a sharp disconnect between the world of education and the world of work. Not
surprisingly, this is also the case with most of the surveys and research available on the subject used
here to prepare this overview – they approach the subject either from the dominantly labour market
perspective or from the educational policy perspective. This duality is encountered also in the
policymaking arena, despite the pledges to the opposite by the relevant ministries and agencies. And
this duality is also firmly embedded in public opinion, as result of a long standing tradition.

Labour market perspective is brought largely by the author’s rather detailed analysis of the data
collected by the two most recent available Labour Force Surveys of the Republican Statistical Office,
for 2004 and 2005, as well as by the summary information from earlier surveys, which have been
conducted since 1995. In parts the analysis also uses results from labour market modules of a
comprehensive Living Standards Measurement Surveys for 2002 and 2003, conducted by a private
institute using the World Bank survey methodology. Other important sources of information for both
labour market and education indicators are the two most recent Population Censuses of 2002 and
1991, which also serve as main sources for demographic trends and projections. Projections of
labour market indicators by 2012 are adjusted from author’s own contribution to the National Strategy
of Economic Development of Serbia (2006, forthcoming). Several recent summary assessments of
Serbian labour market (World Bank, 2006, forthcoming; CREP, 2006; ETF, 2005; Arandarenko and
Paunovic, 2005) are used to support the statements and findings throughout the text, as well as the
secondary sources of information.

Educational policy perspective is brought mostly by the situation assessments, such as those of ETF,
2005, and World Bank, 2004 and 2006, on one hand, and by the strategic documents outlining the
desired strategic and policy changes, in the first place those representing official national education
strategies. Unfortunately, very little is available in terms of empirical research of some peculiar
aspects of school to work transition.

The author himself is a labour economist rather than an education policy specialist; this has
apparently had an impact on the choice of material for analysis and on the dominant perspective from
which the issues tackled by this overview are approached and explained.

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In the second section, a general macroeconomic
background is presented. Third section deals with the demographic background. Fourth section
provides information on general labour market situation, including basic information on labour market
institutions. Fifth section gives projections of the dynamics of basic labour market indicators for the
forthcoming six-year period. Sixth section looks at the youth labour market in more detail, while
seventh analyses youth participation in education and links between educational and labour market
statuses, as revealed by the analysis of the two most recent available Labour Force Surveys. Section
eight presents conclusions of recent sociological research on the attitudes of the population toward
work, education and training. Ninth section provides a short situation analysis of the education system
and gives main highlights from the education reform strategic documents. Tenth section analyzes
features of education system most relevant for school to work transition, which include extent of
standardization and patterns of differentiation. Eleventh section looks at the structure of labour market
and its possible relation to school to work transition patterns. Twelfth section assesses the extent of
interfaces between the education and training, on one hand, and labour market, on the other.
Concluding, section thirteen summarizes main findings obtained throughout the text.

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