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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Adult education and training


8.Adult education and training

Last update: 12 January 2024

Adult education in Croatia is regulated by the Adult Education Act which entered into force in January 2022. 

The new legislative framework aligns the system of adult education with the Act on the Croatian Qualifications Framework and the methodology of creating the adult education programs is based on the regulations governing the Croatian Qualification Framework (CROQF).

The inclusion of adult education institutions in the national system of qualifications is a significant shift towards the achievement of the main goals of all European contemporary societies - the system of lifelong learning and professional mobility in the wider European context.

The concept of lifelong learning is woven into the foundations of adult education which makes it the main promoter of the idea of a professional mobility through a wide range of education programs aimed at adults who want to upskill, reskill, improve in a profession or develop personally.

According to the Adult Education Act (Article 3), the main objectives of adult education are:

  • ensuring access to quality education programs that enable the acquisition of knowledge and skills important for the personal growth of an individual and access to the labor market
  • ensuring quality by applying the Croatian Qualification Framework (CROQF)
  • enabling the acquisition of a public document for access to the labor market or continuing education
  • enabling evaluation of previous learning
  • increasing the involvement of people in adult education.

The adult education in Croatia is intended for students who are at least 14 years old and who are not enrolled in any other form of regular education, or individuals who have not attended or have left the regular education. 

Primary and secondary education, as well as all forms of non-formal and informal education including foreign language schools, are conducted within adult education. It is carried out by adult education institutions and other bodies registered for carrying out adult education programs. Higher education is not part of the adult education system in Croatia. 

In addition to aligning with regular education, a new legislative framework for adult education introduced formal programs for acquiring microcredentials (microqualifications in Croatia) and recognition of prior non-formal and informal learning (validation programs). This opened new possibilities of horizontal and vertical mobility throughout the education system.

Adult education is financed by the participants themselves. The primary education is exception as it is entirely financed by the state. The programmes are also financed by employers and the state and local self-government. As part of the National Resilience and Recovery Program, the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy launched a system of vouchers for adult education aimed at training programs for acquisition of skills needed in the labour market. Additional emphasis was placed on education programs that stimulate the transition to a green and digital economy.

Based on the data from 2021, 5.1% of the Croatian adult population (aged 25-64) participated in some form of education or training in the 4 weeks prior to the survey. Participation of adults in lifelong learning in Croatia is still well below the EU average 11%. Recently, the Croatian Government has voiced its commitment to bridge this gap by 2030 in the National Development Strategy for the Republic of Croatia until 2030. Implementation of the strategic goals and priority areas of public policies for the education sector from the Strategy are defined more in detail in the National Plan for the Development of Education and Training until 2027. Increase of the share of the adult population in lifelong learning processes by improving the quality and relevance of adult education programs is listed as one of ten priority goals by the end of 2027.