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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Single-structure primary and lower secondary education


5.Single-structure primary and lower secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Single structure education in Croatia is compulsory and lasts for eight years. Single structure education provides pupils with the knowledge and competences necessary for the continuation of education. Single structure education starts with enrolment into the first grade of primary school and it is compulsory for all children aged, as a rule, from six to fifteen, or up to twenty-one for pupils with developmental disabilities. Single structure education includes general education and other forms of education of children and young people. It is carried out as a public service, by primary schools and other public institutions.

Legal basis

Pursuant to Article 66 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette No. 56/1990, 135/1997, 8/1998 – consolidated text, 113/2000, 124/2000 – consolidated text, 28/2001, 41/2001- consolidated text, 55/2001 – amend., 76/2010, 85/2010 – consolidated text), single structure education in the Republic of Croatia is free of charge for its beneficiaries. Single structure education is regulated by the Act on Education in Primary and Secondary Schools (Official Gazette No. 87/2008, 86/2009, 92/2010 amend. 105/2010, 90/2011, 5/2012, 16/2012, 86/2012 – consolidated text, 12620/12, 94/2013, 152/2014).


Single structure education goals

Single structure education is a compulsory educational level with the function of ensuring the acquisition of broad general education. The general education provides pupils with the fundamental knowledge required in life, as well as with a possibility for further education and equal educational opportunities. The inclusiveness of single structure education prevents education-based discrimination and social marginalization.

The basic level of education focuses on the knowledge and competences that are essential in performing various roles at the adult age. Basic education entails the utilization of the most effective teaching methods and educational content, continuously adjusted to the age, background knowledge and life experience of the pupils, with a view to building the basis for the development of pupils’ intellectual, social, aesthetical, creative, moral, physical, and other abilities, as well as their practical skills and personality traits. In relation to the aforementioned, the purpose of acquiring broad general education is to enable pupils to understand and explore the world in which they live, understand the past and the present of the natural environment and society, how humans relate to the natural environment and society, human accomplishments, material and spiritual values and interpersonal relations.

Single structure education goals are:

  • to ensure a systematic mode of teaching, encouraging and improving pupils’ intellectual, physical, aesthetical, social, moral and spiritual development in accordance with their abilities and preferences;
  • to evoke pupils’ awareness of their nationality, preservation of historical and cultural heritage and national identity;
  • to educate pupils in accordance with the general cultural and civilization values, and human and children’s rights, prepare them for living in a multicultural environment, teach them to respect differences, to be tolerant and to actively and responsibly participate in democratic development of society;
  • to provide opportunities for pupils to acquire fundamental (general education) and vocational competences; to prepare pupils for living and working in changing social and cultural conditions dependent on the demands of the market economy, contemporary IT technology and scientific developments and achievements;
  • to prepare pupils for lifelong learning.

Contemporary social and cultural environment requires education for responsible, truthful, tolerant and unselfish individuals, persons of a creative spirit with a profound sense for the preservation of the national and cultural heritage and respect for other cultures and nations.

In relation to the educational goals, education in primary schools is focused on integral development of pupils, taking into consideration globalisation, as well as social, political, and economic changes, and developments in ICT and other areas.

Personality traits which education in primary schools fosters include independence, initiative, inquisitiveness, creative interest, communication skills, integrity, fairness, self-confidence, respect and care for others, tolerance and understanding, independent and critical thinking, calmness, responsibility, sense for equality and equal rights of all people, solidarity, cooperativeness, and self-awareness.

Educational achievements for each subject with defined goals, objectives, educational means and expected learning outcomes are prescribed by the National Curriculum Framework and Teaching Curriculum for Primary Schools.