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Education in Croatia

Early Childhood Education and Care in Croatia is funded and managed by local authorities. Central educational authorities provide legislative guidance, accreditation and monitoring of the educational programs.

In school year prior to the enrolling into primary school, children are obliged to attend the pre-school program, provided by kindergartens and primary schools.

Primary and Secondary Education

Primary and lower secondary education is organised as a single structure system, starting at the age of 7 and consisting of eight years of compulsory schooling.

Upper secondary education is not compulsory, but almost all students do enrol into the general or vocational upper secondary courses upon completing lower primary level. It includes three strands:

  • generalist programs
  • 4-5 year vocational programs
  • 3-year vocational programs.

Generalist programs prepare students for entry into higher education. Completing 4-year vocational programs enables students to either enter the labor marketor pursue to higher education. Completion of 3-year vocational programs leads to the vocational career.

Educational Options for National Minorities

In primary and secondary education segment, special care is dedicated to the possibilities for education of students of national minorities in their mother tongue.

Hence a number of schools – almost fifty – provide tuition in SerbianItalianCzech and Hungarian languages. Just as national minority students can enrol into regular schools providing tuition in Croatian, students of Croatian nationality can enrol into schools providing tuition in some of the minority languages.

Higher Education

Higher education is provided by the universities, polytechnics and colleges.

Public universities provide the majority of higher educational offer in Croatia. Croatian Constitution guarantees organizational autonomy and academic freedom in teaching and research of higher education institutions. Most of funding for public universities is provided by the central government, covering such items as:

  • salaries for academic staff
  • capital investment
  • running costs for academic institutions
  • research funds
  • student subsistence and tuition fees.

First year of study at both bachelor and master level at public universities is free of charge for all students. Student participation in tuition costs in subsequent study years depends on their previous study record.

Polytechnics are most often also publicly funded. However, their founders and funders are regional and local authorities, rather than the central government.

Colleges are almost exclusively privately funded higher educational institutions.

Secondary education

Pursuant to Article 66 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette No. 56/1990, 135/1997, 8/1998 – consolidated text, 113/2000, 124/2000 – consolidated text, 28/2001, 41/2001- consolidated text, 55/2001 – amend., 76/2010, 85/2010 – consolidated text), single structure education in the Republic of Croatia is free of charge for its beneficiaries. Single structure education is regulated by the Act on Education in Primary and Secondary Schools (Official Gazette No. 87/2008, 86/2009, 92/2010 amend. 105/2010, 90/2011, 5/2012, 16/2012, 86/2012 – consolidated text, 12620/12, 94/2013, 152/2014).

Secondary education is provided by secondary schools and student dormitories and other public institutions under the conditions laid down in the Primary and Secondary School Education Act (OG No. 87/08, 86/09, 92/10, 105/10, 90 / 11, 5/12, 16/12, 86/12, 94/13, 136/14 – RUSRH, 152/14, 7/17, 68/18 and 98/19). Another public institution may be an organisational unit of the ministry competent for the judiciary and an organisational unit of the ministry competent for internal affai rs, which provides education for the profession of police officer.

  1. The Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (OG 56/90, 135/97, 8/98, 113/00, 124/00, 28/01, 41/01, 55/01, 76/10, 85/10)
  2. Primary and Secondary School Education Act (OG 87/08, 86/09, 92/10, 105/10, 90/11, 5/12, 16/12, 86/12, 94/13, 136/14 – RUSRH, 152/14, 7/17, 68/18 and 98/19).
  3. Vocational Education and Training Act (OG 30/09, 24/10, 22/13, 25/18)
  4. Art Education Act (OG 130/11)
  5. Act on Education in the Languages and Scripts of National Minorities (OG 51/00, 56/00)
  6. The Crafts Act (OG 143/13)
  7. Act on Textbooks and Other Educational Material for Primary and Secondary Schools (OG 116/18)
  8. The National Pedagogical Standards for Secondary Education System (OG 63/08, 90/10.)
  9. National Curriculum for Vocational Education (NN). 62/18)
  10. Ordinance on the Manner of Organising and Conducting the Teaching in Vocational Schools (OG 140/09), Ordinance on Drafting and Fulfilment of Requirements of Final Examination (OG 118/09)
  11. Ordinance on Conditions and Methods of Continuing Education for Higher Level of Qualification (OG 8/16)
  12. Ordinance on Taking the State Graduation Exam (OG No. 1/13 and 41/19)
  13. Ordinance on the Remuneration of Teachers, Professional Associates and Headmasters in Primary and Secondary Schools and Student Dormitories (OG 53/19)
  14. Ordinance Amending the Ordinance on Teaching Assistants and Professional Communication Intermediaries (OG 59/19)
  15. Ordinance on Promotion of Teachers, Professional Associates and Headmasters in Primary and Secondary Schools and Student Dormitories (OG 68/19)
  16. Ordinance on the Method, Procedures and Elements of the Evaluation of the Primary and Secondary School Students (OG 112/10 and 82/19)
  17. Decision on Adoption of Guidelines for the Development of a Network of School Institutions and Education Programmes – link
  18. Curricula for grammar schools
  19. Curricula for professions and vocational curricula for the acquisition of vocational qualifications – link
  20. Curricula and programmes for art schools
  21. Ordinance on the Teaching of Part of the Subjects and Contents Determined by the Curriculum in One of the World Languages in Secondary Schools (

Higher education

(Source and more information: Eurydice, May 2020)


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