Institutions that conduct formal education and organisations that conduct non-formal adult education differ in the manner they implement education. Organisations that conduct formal education are adult education institutions. Non-formal programmes can be implemented by different organisations (institutions, associations, companies, etc.).
The institution for adult education is founded by the act of establishment, and the founders can be natural or legal entities. The decree on establishing the institution and its statute is adopted by the founder. The founder of the institution for adult education submits a request to the Ministry of Science and Education for the assessment of compliance of the act of establishment with the law. After the Ministry has passed a decision on the assessment of compliance of the act of establishment with the law, the founder submits to the competent commercial court an application for registration of the institution for adult education in the court register. When the institution is registered in the commercial court register and acquired legal personality, it may start operating.
In order for the institution to start implementing formal education programmes, it is necessary to obtain an Ordinance on the Minimum Technical and Hygienic Requirements. This is adopted by the competent state administration office in the county, and the conditions to be met are laid down in the Ordinance on Standards and Regulations as well as Methods and Procedures for Determining the Fulfilment of Requirements in Adult Education Institutions (2008).
According to the Andragogical Joint Register of Programmes, 642 adult education institutions have been established in Croatia. The majority includes regular secondary vocational schools and open universities.
Table 1. Type of institution implementing adult education
Type of institution
Number of institutions
Higher education institution
Foreign language school
Type not indicated
Traditionally, adult education centres were open universities and people’s universities established in every city and county. In addition to regular secondary schools, foreign language schools are widespread. Other education centres provide certain specialised adult education. For example, institutes dealing with occupational safety and adult education, the Department of Welding and Thermal Energy that trains welders.
According to a survey conducted for the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education, the largest number of adult education institutions is in the City of Zagreb (1/3 of all institutions). So the institutions are very unevenly geographically distributed. The population of Croatia is also unevenly distributed and there are great regional differences in GDP. Therefore, the arrangement of institutions corresponds to the number and structure of inhabitants and differences in development.
Table 2. Counties where the head office of the institutions is located
% of institutions implementing adult education programmes
City of Zagreb
Agency for VET and Adult Education, 2020, p.3
Part of the adult education programme is implemented by craftsmen with the involvement of chambers of crafts and ministries responsible for craftsmen. These are programmes for the preparation and implementation of Apprentice and Master Craftsman Exams.
Part of the adult education programme is implemented by ministries for their employees. The State School for Public Administration conducts training and professional development of state officials, state servants, civil servants and employees in legal entities with public authority, elected officials and employees in local and regional self-government units and adult education. The aim is to continuously build competencies in order to shape a professional, effective and efficient public sector.
There is no systematic overview of other organisations providing non-formal adult education. Usually, these programmes are not financed by public funds.
Part of the non-formal education programme is implemented by institutions where education is not their basic activity. These are libraries that are increasingly expanding their social function. Museums employ museum pedagogues who prepare programmes for all ages. Cultural centres have a large number of adult programmes (most often creative workshops). Some of these activities may be financed as programme activities or as part of projects that are publicly financed. There is a possibility that salaries of employees have been financed, but not programme funds. Funding mostly comes from local (city) budgets.
Non-formal programmes are often implemented by non-governmental organisations that operate independently in education or within individual networks, for example, the GOOD (Civic education) initiative gathers numerous organisations involved in education for human rights, civic education, gender issues, environmental education and sustainable development. Some of the activities of this organisation are implemented as non-formal education in full-time schools, and some are directed towards adult learners. The main common goal is to bring civic education into the full-time school system. These organisations don't have continuous public funding. Part of them is financed by the National Foundation for Civil Society Development through the programme for institutional support for the stabilisation and strengthening of associations.
- Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (2008) Ordinance on Standards and Regulations as well as Methods and Procedures for Determining the Fulfilment of Requirements in Adult Education Institutions (OG 129/08, 52/10)
- Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education (2021). The Andragogical Joint Register of Programmes.
- Agency for VET and Adult Education and Dedal Communications (2020) Average prices of adult education programmes for the EPALE project. Surveying adult education institutions in the Republic of Croatia. https://epale.ec.europa.eu/sites/default/files/asoo_izvjestaj_programi_obrazovanja_za_odrasle.pdf
- Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (2020). Master Craftsman Exams. https://www.hok.hr/obrazovanje/majstorski-ispit
- State School for Public Administration (2020). https://dsju.hr/dsju/about_us
- GOOD Initiative (2020). http://goo.hr/
- National Foundation for Civil Society Development (2020). https://zaklada.civilnodrustvo.hr/pregled-podrski