The National Plan for the Development of Education and Training until 2027 (the National plan) which was adopted in March 2023, defines in more detail the implementation of the strategic goal and priority areas of public policies for the education sector from the National Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2030 (NDS). As part of the development direction 1 Sustainable economy and society, strategic goal 2 Educated and employed people, the following priority areas of public policies are listed, which also represent the framework for defining the specific objectives of the National Plan: accessibility of ECEC, acquisition and development of basic and professional competencies, improvement of higher education and harmonised and perspective labour market.
The specific objectives of the National Plan are achieved through the implementation of measures that describe the areas of planned interventions and key activities. Specific objective 10 Continuing the process of digitalisation and application of digital technologies in the educational system refers to achieving better results in learning and teaching and preparing for life and work in the digital age. Corresponding measures within this specific objective are aimed at ensuring inclusive, quality and equitable education while promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. Specifically, the measures are aimed at training educational institutions for the implementation of hybrid forms of teaching, the continuous development of digital competences and the standardisation of school equipment. Furthermore, there are also measures to establish a digital educational platform and a highly developed digital system of higher education institutions, as well as measures to provide support to educational institutions in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). By the end of 2030, the goal is to ensure equal access to affordable and high-quality technical, professional and tertiary education for all women and men. The goal is also to significantly increase the number of young people and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and professional skills. These skills are necessary foremost for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
The Whole-Day School Model (WDS) aims to extend the period of learning and teaching and thus the acquisition of key competences for lifelong learning. As part of the WDS, the number of teaching hours in key literacies, regular classes in Croatian language and Mathematics is increased by one teaching hour in all grades of primary school, while support, assisted and enriched learning is being systematised. In the first step, whole-day primary school in Croatia is being introduced into the education system in the form of an Experimental Programme, the implementation of which will begin in the 2023/2024 school year. With the experimental implementation a new subject named Information and Digital Competences (compulsory from the first to the eighth grade) will be introduced into the curriculum, for which the experimental curriculum and associated educational outcomes will be used. Experimental curricula, as well as guidelines for teachers for the implementation of new subjects in primary school, were published in May and July 2023.
Although the voucher system foreseen in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021 – 2026 was launched in 2022 with the aim of supporting lifelong learning and the acquisition of new skills, especially green and digital ones, from June 2023 the novelty of expanding the programme with general skills was introduced. The programmes from general areas are co-financed through the ESF+ fund, while green and digital areas are co-financed through the aforementioned National Recovery and Resilience Plan. It is a model of financing the lifelong learning of employed and unemployed persons with the aim of acquiring the skills necessary for the labour market. Vouchers co-fund the cost of education for education programmes run by education providers listed in the Skills and Programmes Catalogue.
The target value of the voucher system is to use a total of 30,000 vouchers by the end of the 2nd quarter of 2026, of which at least 12,000 are for long-term unemployed, inactive or young people who are not in education, employment or training. Implementation measures (active measures on the labour market) within the competence of the Croatian Employment Service include employment grants, self-employment grants, training grants, funding for the education of unemployed persons, employment in public works and other measures.
In March 2022, the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNET as the holder and beneficiary of the project with the Ministry of Science and Education signed a pre-financing agreement, while the signing of the agreement on the allocation of grants for the implementation of the e-Universities project in the amount of EUR 84,013,537.73 is expected at the end of September 2023.
The e-Universities project is implemented with the goal of digital transformation of higher education (HE) in the Republic of Croatia by improving the digital teaching infrastructure, introducing digital teaching tools and strengthening the digital competences of teachers for teaching in a digital environment. The project was developed in accordance with component C.3.1. "Educational System Reform” of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021-2026 (NRRP). The duration of the project is from March 2022 to December 2025.
As part of the preparatory activities for this project, CARNET participated in the project "Assessment and improvement of the digital readiness of Croatian higher education institutions" financed through the Technical Support Instrument of DG REFORM, implemented by the OECD, in close cooperation with the European Commission and the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia. This initiative resulted in recommendations and guidelines based on the practice of other countries that have made comparable investments in higher education and provided valuable support in determining the type and scope of investment in public higher education institutions in Croatia.
The project addresses the key shortcomings of the system of science and higher education of the Republic of Croatia, which were pointed out by numerous indicators of measuring scientific, technological and higher education performance at the EU level.
The goal of the project is to improve the quality and availability of the higher education system by strengthening the flexibility and innovation of public higher education institutions and their constituents through support for investments in digital teaching infrastructure. The target groups are public higher education institutions and their constituents, universities, colleges, faculties, libraries, campuses, teaching and management staff, non-teaching staff, teaching assistants in higher education and students. Project activities aim for a balance between the three pillars of sustainability in the context of education, innovation and networking with the aim of applying acquired competencies in a wider range of situations and business environments. In the process of identifying the key areas of development and in order to analyse the needs in the field of education and business in connection with the application of digital technologies in higher education, qualitative and quantitative research was conducted, based on the results of which, activities were planned. A modular education programme is planned with the aim of developing digital competencies that are transferable and can be applied in different situations. Modularity and continuous exchange of feedback in interaction with all stakeholders will enable the use and creation of innovative solutions with the support of digital tools, effective application of digital technologies and adaptation to changes in the technological environment. Special emphasis will be placed on cyber security to ensure data protection, preserve the functionality of digital systems and maintain user confidence in digital educational resources. With the aim of encouraging a culture of cooperation, creating a network of communities of practitioners, developing innovations and disseminating examples of good practices within the educational ecosystem, within the framework of the project, the activities of establishing demonstration laboratories for advanced educational technology, setting up multimedia studios for the creation of digital educational content, developing a database of experts and continuous advisory customer support are planned.
There have been no reforms to date in this area.
There have been no reforms to date in this area.