Kosovo is a small, landlocked country in the Western Balkans region of Europe. It is bordered by Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, and North Macedonia. The Republic of Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 and has since been recognized by over 100 countries. Education in Kosovo is provided by both public and private institutions. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) is responsible for the development and implementation of educational policies in Kosovo. The MEST works closely with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MLSW) to ensure that educational programs are tailored to meet the needs of the labor market. Primary education in Kosovo is compulsory for all children aged 6-14 years old. It consists of eight grades which last for four years each. During this time, students are taught a range of subjects including language arts, mathematics, science, history, geography, art and physical education. Upon completion of primary school students may choose to attend secondary school or vocational training programs offered by the MLSW. Secondary education consists of four grades which last for three years each. During these years students can choose to study either general or specialized curricula depending on their interests and goals. General curricula cover a range of subjects including language arts, mathematics, social sciences and natural sciences while specialized curricula focus on specific topics such as business studies or engineering studies. Tertiary education consists of two parts: a two year pre-university training course followed by a three year university degree program or a one year certificate program at a community college which offers practical knowledge and skills that can be applied immediately upon graduation. The main universities located in Kosovo are University Prishtina (UP), University Pristina International (UPI), University Mediterranean Kosova (UMK), University Gjakova “Fehmi Agani” (UGFA) and European University Kosova (EUK). Additionally there are several private universities located throughout Kosovo such as American International University-Kosovo (AIU-K), Ferizaj Institute for Management Studies (FIMS) etc.. In addition to formal education systems there are also informal learning centers located throughout the country which offer courses in literacy skills and life skills such as job search techniques or money management skills. These centers are often run by NGOs or other organizations that specialize in training people living in rural areas who may not have access to traditional educational institutions. These centers are invaluable for providing the skills necessary for individuals to succeed in the labor market and contribute to their communities. See educationvv for Kosovo educational systems.