Lifelong learning strategy
Strategies and measures concerning promotion and provision of lifelong learning are embedded in all key national strategic and other top-level documents steering the development of the education system.
National Framework Curriculum for Preschool Education and General Compulsory and Secondary Education
The National Framework Curriculum for Preschool Education and General Compulsory and Secondary Education was adopted in 2011.
The fundamental feature of the National Framework Curriculum is the transition to a competence system and student achievements (learning outcomes), as opposed to the previous content-oriented one. The National Framework Curriculum achieves the harmonisation of all levels of upbringing and education that precede the higher education level.
The document defines basic educational values, the goals of education, the principles and goals of educational areas, the evaluation of student achievements, and the evaluation and self-evaluation of the implementation of the national curriculum. The document also describes cross-curricular topics and their goals, determines expected student achievements for educational areas per cycle and indicates the subject structure of each educational area.
The eight basic competences for lifelong education of the European Union have been incorporated in curriculum as the basic competences of the educational policy of the Republic of Croatia.
Overarching national strategies incorporating lifelong learning approaches and measures
In 2022 the Government of the Republic of Croatia has adopted two overarching strategies incorporating goals and measures concerning education and lifelong learning, while the Croatian Parliament adopted Digital Croatia Strategy 2032 in which comprehensive and continuous development of digital skills is envisaged at all education levels and through lifelong learning.
One of the objectives of measures related to structural changes refers to the reform of the education system in terms of strengthening the acquisition of basic competences which represent the basis for lifelong learning, and also upgrading skills in line with changes in society, technology development and needs economy.
The plan supports a modernised system of science and education that enables lifelong learning and adaptation of all generations to new circumstances. In the time when certain educational processes are partially or fully digitized, it is necessary to contribute to reforms and investments in quality education that will prepare children and young people for the challenges and jobs of the future, with quality educational infrastructure.
The Plan introduces the voucher system which aims to support lifelong learning and the acquisition of new skills, in particular green and digital skills. This is a model of financing lifelong learning for employed and unemployed persons aimed at acquiring skills needed for the labour market. Voucher is a financial instrument for the allocation of public funds for adult learning and its value is 39 million EUR.
More information about the voucher system can be found within the chapter 3. Funding in education/3.3 Adult education and training funding.
National Development Strategy highlights education as a major vehicle for development of society and its citizens. In its Strategic Goal 2: Educated and employed people, the strategy emphasizes three key objectives: access to early and pre-school education and training; acquisition and development of basic and vocational competencies and development of higher education. Lifelong learning approach underlies the implementation of all education goals. Additionally, the strategy is focussed on improving the quality and relevance of adult education programmes in order to increase the share of the adult population in lifelong learning processes.
Digital Croatia Strategy encompasses 4 strategic goals: developed and innovative digital economy; digitalized public administration; developed, available and used networks of very large capacities; and developed digital competences for life and work in the digital age. One of the priority areas within this strategy is the digital transition as support for the development of the educational and research system. The Strategy 2032 incorporates relevant UN's global goals for sustainable development, one of the goal being to ensure inclusive and quality education while promoting lifelong learning. Further digitization of the entire education sector will ensure higher quality education, with special emphasis on lifelong learning to acquire digital competences.
This document, adopted in 2023, elaborates key objectives set by the National Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2030 in the field of education. Key areas of intervention are: governing and improving the system at central level (legal, organisational, financial framework and quality assurance mechanisms), support to education providers (infrastructural, material and human resources capacity empowerment) and support to learners (access to the system, success in the system and transition through the system).
Adult Education Act, 2021
Adult education is a part of the concept of lifelong education which promotes the idea of professional mobility through a wide range of education programmes aimed at adults who want to train for new skills, improve in a profession or retrain new professions.
With the entry into force of the new Adult Education Act in 2021, the adult education system has been fully aligned with the regulations governing pre-tertiary education in Croatia, particularly those ensuring standardised quality and recognition of qualifications gained through adult education.
New act also introduced possibilities for acquiring micro-credentials (micro-qualifications) and recognition of previous learning (evaluation programmes) which opens the opportunities of horizontal and vertical mobility through the system.
Other measures fostering Lifelong Learning
Since 2014 the Republic of Croatia has been implementing the Youth Guarantee. The Youth Guarantee is a new approach to solving the issue of youth unemployment, which aims to activate all people under under 30 years of age in Croatia on the labour market.
Measures of the Youth Guarantee are carried out interdepartmentally, that is, every competent institution that implements certain measures contributes to facilitating the path from education to the labour market. These institutions participate in the work of the Youth Council of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Council for the Implementation of the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan, whose work is coordinated by the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy.
All measures that are currently implemented within the framework of the Youth Guarantee in the Republic of Croatia are set out in a document called the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan.
The Lifelong Learning Week is a national annual educational campaign implemented by the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education and aimed at raising awareness of the importance of learning and education. It is a UNESCO initiative launched in 1999 and celebrated every year in many countries to sensitise the public to lifelong learning, promote a culture of learning, and encourage personal motivation.
Through many activities as part of the week, citizens are motivated to get involved in some form of learning. Through activities of the Lifelong Learning Week the awareness is also raised about the fact that learning is not limited to any age, but is important and useful in all periods of life - from preschool age to old age.
In 2019 and 2022 the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education also implemented media campaigns “Skills are all around us” with the purpose of promotion of vocational education as a desirable career choice.
To promote vocational occupations the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development (MINGOR) in 2019 carried out a media campaign under the motto "Where there are hands, there are professions". – Target audience of the campaign were students in the final grades of elementary schools and their parents. Particular aim of the campaign was to encourage student to enrol in vocational programmes offering training for occupations with deficiency of workers and student interest.