EU Praises Croatia’s Education Reform

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 16, 2018 – The European Commission said in the Education and Training Monitor 2018, released on Tuesday, that Croatia had launched ambitious reforms in education and training after a period when progress was stalled by political disagreement.

The Education and Training Monitor analyses and compares the most important challenges faced by the education systems in the European Union.

The Commission noted that in Croatia curricular reform had been introduced as a pilot project in 2018/2019 to address concerns about the quality and relevance of primary and secondary education. The pilot project has been introduced in 74 schools and computer science has been made a compulsory subject for primary school fifth- and sixth-graders.

New legislation on vocational education and training is paving the way for reforms in a sector whose relevance to the labour market and whose quality has been challenged. The inclusion of dual education and training in the pilot project and the establishment of 25 regional competence centres worth a billion kuna complement the reform process.

The report noted a significant jump in equality of access for disadvantaged students as the number of scholarships had doubled, and praised the government decision to financially support universities that open programmes in in-demand subjects and score good and measurable results.

“The previous European Commission reports were not as favourable as this one, and that’s why I’m really pleased after this positive examination of the three reform processes that we have been conducting in the education sector. I am particularly glad to see that the Commission praised the use of EU funding in the reform process,” Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak said in a statement.

She said it was important to continue introducing the necessary changes at the present rate. “Although there is reason for optimism, there are still people in the political sphere and certain interest groups who are obstructing the reforms and whose focus is not on the general interest but on halting the progress and achieving personal benefits.”

The Commission gave Croatia further recommendations to expand citizenship education, which is currently delivered as a cross-curricular theme in the pilot phase of the curricular reform, while in certain areas it has been introduced as an optional subject.

According to the report, 3.1 percent of Croatians aged 18-24 left school early in 2017, up from 2.8 percent in 2014, but considerably below the EU average of 10.6 percent.

The tertiary educational attainment rate among Croatians aged 30-34 was 28.7 percent in 2017, down from 32.1 percent in 2014. The EU average increased from 37.9 percent in 2014 to 39.9 percent in 2017.

Preschool education in Croatia covered 75.1 percent of children from the age of 4 to the age when compulsory primary education starts, compared with the EU average of 95.3 percent, and the proportion of Croatian 15-year-olds underachieving in reading, maths and science increased.

Last year, 2.3 percent of Croatians aged 25-64 were included in life-long learning programmes in 2017, compared with the EU average of 10.9 percent.


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