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Yugoslavia: Secondary Education
Country Study > Chapter 2 > The Society and Its Environment > Education > Secondary Education


Secondary education also improved noticeably in the postwar decades. Between 1947 and 1981, the number of students in secondary and postsecondary schools rose more than sixfold, and by 1984 more than 90 percent of the pupils who completed primary school continued their education on the secondary level. In 1989 the secondary school student-teacher ratio in Yugoslavia overall reached 15:1, although the ratio varied by region.

A comprehensive curriculum reform in 1974 offered students a choice of postprimary instruction paths. The motivation for reform was to contribute more skilled workers to Yugoslav industry. The reform basically combined separate college preparatory and vocational schools into "giant" standard secondary schools in which the first two years of instruction were uniform for all students. In the third year, students were expected to choose a general career path from college preparatory and vocational options.

Critics complained bitterly that the new curriculum failed to prepare students adequately to meet the country's needs. University officials asserted that students spent too much time in vocational instruction; enterprise directors complained that the vocational track still did not prepare enough young people to fill skilled jobs. Critics on both sides called for a return to completely separate four-year college-preparatory and vocational schools. In 1990 another round of reforms was imminent, but Yugoslavia's economic woes delayed funding. Between 1977 and 1984, spending on education had already fallen from 5.9 percent to 3.5 percent of total national income.

The amount of secondary school instruction conducted in minority languages rose rapidly after World War II. In 1945 only 4,233 students received such instruction; in 1985-1986 the number was 85,892.

Data as of December 1990

Last Updated: December 1990

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Yugoslavia was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Yugoslavia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

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