Schools are managed by the school committee and student dormitories by the dormitory committee. The school committee:
- appoints the principal and relieves him/her of his/her duty,
- provides prior consent as to the commencement of employment in the school institution, passes the statute and other general acts, acting upon a proposal from the principal,
- passes the school curriculum, acting upon a proposal from the teacher council, or the educator council and the principal,
- passes the annual plan of activities, acting upon a proposal from the principal and monitors its execution,
- passes the financial plan and the semi-annual and annual clearance of accounts,
- acting upon a proposal from the principal, decides on an employee request for the protection of his rights under the employment agreement,
- proposes to the founder the alternation of the registered activity and the passing of other decisions related to the founding rights,
- provides the founder and the principal with proposals and opinions on issues relevant to the school institution activities and safety and
- makes decisions and carries out other activities required under the law, the founding act and the statute.
The school committee is composed of seven members, one of whom is appointed to and relieved from the post by the council of workers, and in case a council of workers has not been established, the member is appointed to and relieved from the post by employees’ direct and secret vote, as laid down in the Labour Act for appointment of one-member councils of workers, and the other six members are appointed and relieved of duty by:
- teacher or educator council two members from among the primary or secondary school teachers and expert associates,
- council of parents one member from among the parents not being a school employee,
- founder three members independently.
Dismissal of a member of the School Board is initiated by the School Board, a school inspector or an authority who appointed the mentioned member of the School Board.
A pre-school institution is managed by the Governing Council. The Governing Council has 5 to 7 members. At least half of the members of the Governing Council are appointed by the founder from among public employees, one member is chosen by the parents of children attending a pre-school institution, and other members are chosen by secret ballot from among pre-school teachers and expert associates. The Governing Council members' term of office is four years. The composition and the number of members of the Governing Council, the method of election or the appointment of its members and the method of working and making decisions is defined by the Founding Act and the pre-school statute.
The Governing Council as a governing body, apart from rights and obligations determined by the Institutions Act:
- decides on acquisition, loading and alienation of the pre-school real estate as provided in the formal Founding Act and the statute and with the founder's consent,
- proposes the statutory changes to the founder of a pre-school institution,
- proposes the change of a pre-school institution's name to the founder,
- decides on enrolment and enrolment criteria, with the founder's consent,
- decides on commencement and termination of employment at pre-school principal’s proposal, in accordance with this law,
- performs other jobs determined in the Founding Act and the pre-school institution's statute.
In all pre-school institutions whose founder is the Republic of Croatia, all decisions are made, on behalf of the fonder, by the Ministry responsible for education. The school principal is the managing and the expert director of a school institution. He/she is responsible for lawfulness and professionalism of the school institution’s operations. The principal organizes and manages school's work and activities. He/she represents school institution and acts on behalf of, undertakes all legal actions on behalf of school and is her representative in all court, administrative or public body procedures. The principal is in charge of and responsible for the institution's professional activities. In addition to the tasks stipulated by the Founding Act, the principal, in his role of an expert director of the school institution, also performs the following tasks:
- propose the annual plan of activities to the school committee,
- propose the statute and other general acts to the school committee,
- propose the financial plan and the semi-annual and annual clearance of accounts to the school committee,
- decide on the commencement and the termination of employment,
- execute decisions of expert bodies and the school committee,
- pay visits to classes and other forms of educational work, analyse teachers’ and expert associates’ work and see to their training and professional development,
- plan activities, convene and chair the meetings of the council of teachers, or educators,
- in cooperation with the council of teachers, or educators, propose the school curriculum,
- take statutory measures against neglect in job performance or breach of other obligations arising from the employment agreement,
- safeguard the safety, interests and rights of the pupils/students and the employees of the school institution,
- take responsibility for the safety of the pupils/students, teachers, expert associates and other employees,
- cooperate with pupils/students and parents,
- cooperate with the founder, state administration bodies, institutions and other bodies,
- monitor that the data is entered into the electronic registry in a timely and accurate manner.
The pre-school principal is the managing and the expert director of a preschool institution. Apart from tasks determined in the Institutions Act, a pre-school principal:
- proposes the annual work plan,
- takes care of implementing decisions of the Governing Council, Teacher Council and other bodies,
- performs other tasks determined by the Founding Act and the statute.
Requirements for Appointment
Any candidate may be appointed principal if he/she has:
- completed a graduate university study programme or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university study programme for primary school teachers, or four-year professional study programme earning 240 ECTS credits or four-year (pre-Bologna) undergraduate programme offering university degree according to former regulations
- met the teacher or expert associate requirements of the institution where he/she is running for office,
- gained at least 8 years of experience in schools or other institutions within the education system or in the state administration bodies competent for education, 5 of which have been spent performing educational work in school institutions,
- acquired a licence to work as a principal.
A candidate who fulfils the prerequisites for a pre-school teacher or an expert associate and has at least five years of work experience in pre-school education can be appointed as a pre-school principal.
Conditions of Service
The school principal is appointed pursuant to an advertisement and a selection process initiated by the school committee. The advertisement is published in a daily newspaper so as to make it available to all interested parties on the territory of Croatia. The principal is appointed for a renewable term of office of five years. The principal is appointed by the decision of the school committee with the prior consent of the Minister. The manner and the procedure for appointment of the principal are elaborated in the school institution statute.
The pre-school principal is chosen based on a public competition opened by the Governing Council of a pre-school institution in accordance with law and the statute.
The pre-school principal is appointed and suspended by a pre-school institution founder upon the Governing Council proposal. Pre-school principle whose founder is the Republic of Croatia is appointed and suspended by the minister responsible for education. The pre-school principle is appointed for a four-year period. The same person can be re-appointed. If the pre-school principal doesn't fulfil his/her obligations regulated by law and other regulations, a pre-school institution founder, at the Governing Council or governing body's proposal that established irregularities and illegalities, shall suspend a pre-school principal and appoint another person in accordance with this law. Before making a decision on suspension, a pre-school principle must be given a possibility to plead on the reasons of suspension. In case of suspension, acting principle shall be appointed and a pre-school institution shall be required to open a competition for a job vacancy within 30 days from appointing an acting principle.
The school committee will relieve the principal of his duty even before his term of office has elapsed if it is determined that the conditions for his relief stipulated by the Founding Act have been met (čl.42.if the principal requests to be relieved pursuant to his employment contract, if such reasons occur which according to employment regulations lead to employment contract termination, if the principal acts against regulations or general institution act, or fails to execute decisions of the institution bodies or acts against them, if the principal's malpractice causes the institution substantial damage or if his neglect or unduly execution of his duties leads or may lead to obstacles in institution activities), that the principal has violated his contractual obligations, or that the principal has neglected his obligations as a business and expert director of the school institution.
The school committee may also relieve the principal of his duty following a relief proposal by an education inspector who has notified the Minister of his relief proposal. If the school committee fails to comply with the education inspector’s relief proposal within 15 days from the day of delivery of the relief proposal, and the Minister found the proposal justified, the Ministry shall relieve the principal of his duty.
A person who has been relieved of his duty before his term of office has elapsed on the grounds of violation of his contractual obligations or non-fulfilment of his obligations as a business and expert director cannot be re-appointed either principal or acting principal of the school institution in the next 10 years.
The manner and the procedure for principal’s relief shall be elaborated in the statute.
Principal’s employment contract terminates upon:
- principal’s death,
- expiration of a temporary employment contract,
- at the end of a school year when principal turns sixty-five years of age and fifteen years of pensionable service,
- a consensual termination agreement between a principal and an educational institution,
- delivering a legally binding decision on recognition of the right to disability pension due to general incapacity to work,
- notice of termination issued by an educational institution.
Principal whose employment agreement has been terminated by dismissal is entitled to one month termination period.
A school principal in case of temporary inability to execute principal's duties is substituted by the person from the council of teachers at the proposal of school committee. This person may not be member of the school committee. The school committee may at any moment nominate another person as the principal’s substitute.
A pre-school principle, in case of temporary inability to perform his/her duties, shall be replaced by a person from the pre-school teacher council. This person is determined by the Governing Council as provided for in the statute. The person replacing a pre-school principal has rights and duties to perform those tasks whose execution cannot be delayed until principle’s return.
Provisions of law concerning the method of election and duration of term of office of the Governing Council and the pre-school principal are not applicable to pre-school institutions whose founder is a religious community or another natural and legal person.
Principals have the right and the obligation to undergo continuing professional development programmes. Education and Teacher Training Agency as the body responsible for the provision of professional and advisory support in the area of general education provides professional and advisory assistance in education, assistance and guidelines to educational institutions, their principals, pre-school, primary and secondary-school teachers, and school-counsellors in relation to education; organizes and implements continuous professional development programme of educational workers and principals; conducts professional advancement procedures for education workers and principals. The Agency has subsidiaries in all major cities and its advisors are in constant contact with preschool institutions and schools. Vocational school teachers and teachers of adults are offered assistance and guidance by the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education. See Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education.
The workload of expert director, expert associates and other staff in organisation-development service and administrative-technical service is established according to types of jobs and the size, type and organization of school and the volume of work needed to implement the school programme and in such way that every employee is able to achieve his/her weekly workload determined by law. The work of separate parts of school (working in other shift, other location, etc.) and the work in vocational laboratory, practicum, school workshop, school farm, school construction site and similar didactic departments is coordinated by department heads defined in the school statute or annual work programme or in other school act.
The basic statutory salary (S) in public sector in Croatia – which includes teachers and school principals of public schools – is calculated as the product of the national baseline salary amount (B), job complexity factor (C) and length-of-service increment (L) which is initially equal to one and increases by 0.005 for each year of service (Y): S = B * C * (1 + 0.005 * Y)
Job complexity differs according to the number of pupils/students and programmes. The first category with job complexity factor 2,076 includes: principal of primary school with over 850 pupils, principal of secondary school with over 600 pupils/students, principal of vocational school with over 450 students and at least three programmes, principal of student dormitory with over 230 students. The second category with job complexity factor 1,920 includes: principal of primary school with 250 to 850 pupils, principal of secondary school with up to 600 pupils/students, principal of student dormitory with up to 230 students. The third category with job complexity factor 1,765 includes: principal of primary school with up to 250 pupils, principal of secondary school with up to 300 pupils/students, principal of student dormitory with up to 150 students. Principal of primary school with over 400 pupils who completed undergraduate programme offering university degree according to former regulations have job complexity factor 1,688.
For primary, general lower secondary and general upper secondary education decision-making levels for setting principals' basic statutory salaries in public schools include the central level, while for the pre-primary the decision lies with local/municipality level bodies.
As for the salaries in private sector principals basic statutory salaries are defined following the same methods for public, private grant-aided and private independent schools.
Principals receive certain salary allowances based on the following criteria and decision on granting principals this right is decided at the central level.
Further formal qualifications lead to an increase of 8% of the basic statutory salary for additional qualification at Master level and an increase of 15% of the basic statutory salary for additional qualification at Doctorate level.
Job complexity factor increases through three levels (depending on the number of pupils/students).
For principal working in disadvantaged or remote area the basic statutory salary is increased by 10%.