The main framework for reforms in education is provided by Croatian Qualifications Framework (CROQF) that has been developed and is being implemented as the main reforming tool respectively at all education levels.
The CROQF increases quality and relevance of qualifications, improves their consistency, promotes trust in qualifications and enhances the international transparency. Moreover, the CROQF promotes the shift to a learning outcomes based approach throughout education and training and it provides a basis for recognising a wide range of learning achievements by establishing a system of validation of non-formal and informal learning and by further developing of quality assurance system. Finally, the CROQF improves the match between qualifications and the labour market needs and it strengthens cooperation and commitment between education and the labour market.
Conceptual development of the CROQF started early, in 2007, but the CROQF Law was adopted only in March 2013. Coordinated by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, the CROQF provides the framework for education reforms with a strong emphasis on improving overall quality of education and matching qualifications standards and education programmes with the labour market needs. Competences needed on the labour market will be identified in the occupation standards developed on the basis of analysis and evidence on competences required by employers and forecasted by researchers.
Legislative framework for the implementation of the CROQF comprises of two secondary legislative acts and is foreseen to be finalized until April 2014. Firstly, Ordinance on the CROQF Register has been drafted and is envisaged to be open for public debate on November 4th .The Ordinance on the CROQF Register, that regulates quality standards and procedures for registering of qualifications into the CROQF Register, is envisaged to be adopted jointly by five ministers: minster of education, of labour, of entrepreneurship, of economy and of regional development by December 2013. This Ordinance defines procedures for validation of both, occupation standards and qualifications standards by the Sectoral Councils.
All qualifications as well as units of learning outcomes that shall be registered in the CROQF Register would be interlinked with the respective occupation standards (if their purpose is labour market) or with the eventual subsequent qualification (if their purpose is further education).
Finally, the qualifications that are labeled with the CROQF shall be recognised as a quality brand where the quality stands for complying with various criteria, and validation of assessment of LO is among them.
The second act is the Ordinance on validation of non formal and informal learning which will be developed on the basis provided by the CROQF, as it has been recommended in the EQF criteria for referencing of the NQFs to the EQF.
The adoption of the CROQF Law and the Ordinance shall boost a series of legislative changes and introduce various changes in QA procedures at all levels of education.