Elementary school system in Serbia suffers from many faults, but its two major failures are low performance (measured by scores of students on international student test) and high expenses (measured in public expenditures). Finances allocated to primary education are comparable to other European countries, but majority of them are allocated to staff salaries (approximately 90% of the Ministry of education's budget) due to high number of teachers. At the same time, teachers are not motivated to conduct their work professionally due to the overall lack of accountability of the educational system, as well as because a distorted system of incentives is in place. Teachers also have to perform many administrative tasks which leaves little room for improvements in teaching. This is the background in which Serbian students sit their PISA exams and in which they show poorer achievement than their peers in other European or ex-Yugoslavian countries.
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