Vocational Education and Training
Regional centers of competence are places of excellence in vocational education and training, where regular vocational secondary programmes are implemented, as well as professional training and lifelong learning.
Regional centers of competence in vocational education in Croatia, were appointed in 2018. In July 2023, the Minister of Science and Education reappointed them with a special decision (Decision on reappointment of regional centers of competence in vocational education). Exactly as five years ago, there are 25 such competence centers across the country, and all of them have been reappointed from the previous period. These centers are appointed for a period of five years, with the possibility of reappointment.
The main characteristics of competence centers are innovative learning models, excellence of teachers, lecturers and mentors at employers and high-quality infrastructure, constructive and creative cooperation with social partners, public sector and business entities and other interested institutions at the local, regional and international level.
On February 16, 2023 the Ministry of Science and Education issued the Rulebook on Standards and Norms for the Implementation of Adult Education Programmes.
The Rulebook prescribes the minimum material and personnel requirements for the implementation of adult education programmes, and standards for implementation of programmes on levels 1, 2, 3, 4.1, 4.2. and level 5 in the part related to vocational specialist training of the Croatian Qualification Framework (CROQF), as well as standards for foreign language learning programmes that are based on the guidelines of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
On February 25, 2023 the Rulebook on the Method of External Evaluation of Adult Education Institutions and Sets of Learning Outcomes, Work and Appointment of the Committee for Objections to the External Evaluation Report came into force.
This by-law act regulates quality assurance in adult education institutions in the Republic of Croatia for the first time.
The project "Development of a quality assurance system in adult education" establishes a quality assurance system in adult education through the development of a model for quality assurance of the adult education system, the introduction of self-evaluation of institutions and external evaluation of adult education institutions and strengthening the capacity of experts to implement a new quality assurance model. Until now, a comprehensive model of quality assurance for adult education has been proposed, including manuals for self-assessment and external evaluation of adult education providers. 25 providers have been included in piloting self-assessment and external evaluation in 2021. Establishing an external evaluation committee and further support to providers is underway in 2022.
Adopted Act on Adult Education
In December 2021, the Croatian Parliament adopted a new Act on Adult Education.
According to the new legislation, adult education will include the implementation of formal adult education programs/curricula for the acquisition of qualifications at levels 1; 2; 3; 4; 5 of the Croatian Qualifications Framework, and the implementation of formal programs for the evaluation of sets of learning outcomes and the award of qualifications at levels 1; 2; 3; 4; 5 of the Croatian Qualifications Framework, which were acquired through formal and non-formal education and formal learning.
The goal of formal adult education for acquiring the competencies needed for work is to harmonize supply and demand in the labor market and contribute to the development of the economy.
Qualification standards (is the content and structure of a particular qualification. Includes all data needed to determine the level, scope and profile of qualifications and data needed to ensure and improve the quality of qualification standards. Agency for Vocational and Adult Education will issue an expert opinion on the compliance program with a qualification standard, and the decision on the implementation of the program will be made by the Minister responsible for education.
Updated Register of business entities involved in the implementation of the dual education model
As part of the implementation of dual education, the Ministry of Science and Education published an updated Register of business entities involved in the implementation of the dual education model for the acquisition of the following qualifications: glass-maker, chimney sweep, salesman, painter-decorator, cook, waiter, CNC operator, hairdresser and beautician in the Republic of Croatia.
The Act on amending and supplementing the Vocational Education and Training Act adopted
In June 2022, the Croatian Parliament passed the Act on amending and supplementing the Vocational Education and Training Act with the aim of ensuring efficient acquisition of necessary competencies and improving the learning outcomes of learners in the vocational education system and providing the basis for establishing mechanisms supporting employers and schools. The amendments to the Act introduce a significant novelty regarding the strengthening of work-based learning through connecting schools and employers. With the aim of better integration in the labour market and obtaining practical knowledge in vocational schools, besides defining work-based learning, the place where it can take place – at school, with employers or at the regional centre of competence – is also mentioned. The amendments also introduce professional supervision of the performance of work-based learning with employers.
The second set of novelties introduced by the amendments to the Act relate to the improvement of quality assurance systems and the establishment of mechanisms and criteria for encouraging learners to select qualifications relevant to the labour market. The above mentioned amendments aim to achieve better alignment of the education system with the labour market, i.e., the acquisition of skills with which each learner can successfully access the labour market, make progress and participate in the development of the society.
The Government accepted the Draft of the Act on Adult Education
In July 2021, the Government adopted a Draft of the Adult Education Act, which will introduce significant changes in the adult education system, especially in harmonizing educational programs with the needs of the labor market.
The new Act enables the recognition of non-formally and informally acquired knowledge and skills, financing of lifelong learning by the Croatian Qualifications Framework Act with the aim of raising the quality and relevance of education programs. A total of 300 million HRK is planned for the education of 30,000 adults by 2026. The goal is to reach the EU average in adult education by 2030, as Croatia is now at 3.5 %, and the EU average is 10.8 %.