The Act on amending and supplementing the Preschool Education Act adopted
In May 2022, the Croatian Parliament adopted amendments to the Act on amending and supplementing the Preschool Education Act with the aim of enabling every child the right to enroll in a kindergarten, thus increasing the coverage of children in preschool education, and improving the quality of educational work. One of the major novelties introduced by the Act is the stipulation that the Minister responsible for education adopts a decision on the national network of kindergartens, stipulation intended to ensure better access to early and preschool education in all parts of Croatia. The Act also introduces the obligation for local and regional authorities (founders of the majority of kindergartens) to secure access to kindergartens for children under their authority in adjoining local/regional units, if there are no kindergartens operating on their territory. Should enrollment capacities be insufficient in a certain area, children who turn four years old by April 1st of the enrollment year, as well as a special-needs/lesser opportunities children, will be given priority. The last year of kindergarten (preschool programme) can be organised in primary schools.
The second set of novelties introduced by the Act regulates employing primary school teachers in the position of kindergarten educator in situations when there is no possibility of employing preschool educators. Thus the work of a preschool educator can be performed by a person who has completed a teacher training programme. However there is a condition that such employee acquires the teacher's qualification within two years from the date of employment, either through recognition of relevant learning outcomes and/or through a retraining programme. The Act also introduces the service of electronic enrollment in kindergartens, thus formally regulating already available service of e-enrollments in all educational programmes at all education levels.
Draft on Amendments to the Act on Preschool Education
In July 2021 the Ministry of Science and Education opened public consultations on the Draft on Amendments to the Act on Preschool Education.
This Draft proposes that the Minister responsible for education adopts a decision on a national network of kindergartens in order to contribute to more optimal planning of access to early and preschool education in all parts of Croatia. Moreover, the draft proposes the possibility of employing primary school teachers in the position of kindergarten educator in situations when there is no possibility of employing preschool educators, but with the obligation to acquire an additional bachelor's degree in early and pre-school education and earn 60 ECTS credits at one of the higher education institutions where the study of early and preschool education is conducted.
There have been no reforms to date in this area.