Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education
Curriculum, subjects, number of hours
Education in grammar schools is carried out based on the national curriculum, teaching plans and programmes and the school curriculum.
In accordance with Article 26 of the Primary and Secondary School Education Act (OG 87/08, 86/09, 92/10, 105/10, 90/11, 5/12, 16/12, 86/12, 94/13, 136/14 - RUSRH, 152/14, 7/17, 68/18 and 98/19) the National Curriculum is passed by the minister responsible for education.
In its chapter Early Childhood Education and Care, Primary and Secondary Education, the Strategy for Education, Science and Technology (OG No. 124/2014) defines eight developmental areas and a key strategic goal for each one of them. The key strategic goal of the second developmental area is the implementation of a comprehensive curricular reform including the creation of such curricular documents as, for example, the key one – the National Curriculum Framework, as well as the National Curriculum for Grammar School Education, which will be followed by the creation and adoption of subject curricula according to the types of education programmes and years.
National curricula are adopted for individual levels and types of education in accordance with the National Curriculum Framework, which defines at the general level the elements of the curricular system for all levels and types of primary and secondary education. The national curricula and the National Curriculum Framework are adopted by the minister responsible for education.
The curriculum of the subjects define the purpose and objectives of learning and teaching of the subject, the structure of the individual subject in the entire area of education, the educational outcome and/or contents, the corresponding development and descriptions of the levels of learning outcomes, learning and teaching, and evaluation in each subject and a list of required teacher qualifications may be established to carry out the curriculum.
The curriculum defines the curriculum implementation form (compulsory, elective, optional, cross-curricular and/or interdisciplinary), the annual number of teaching hours and their distribution by grades. The teaching plan can be common to a level or type at a particular level of education, and exceptionally it can be enacted with the curriculum of a particular subject.
The subject curricula and teaching plans are issued by the minister responsible for education by a provision.
"School for life" is the name of an experimental programme run by the ministry responsible for education. In the experimental programme during the 2018/19 school year 48 primary and 26 secondary schools from all counties in the Republic of Croatia participated. In secondary schools, the programme was implemented in the first grade of grammar schools in all subjects.
Following the experimental implementation in the school year 2018/19, new subject curricula for secondary grammar schools were developed and adopted in 2019 for:
- English – second foreign language
- French – 70 hours
- French – 140 hours
- German – 1st year of learning
- German – 6th and 9th year of learning
- Italian – 70 hours
- Italian – 140 hours
- Catholic religious education
- Information Technology
- Islamic religious education
- Orthodox religious education
- Physical education
Also, curricula were adopted for the following seven cross-curricular subjects:
- Citizenship education
- Sustainable development
- Personal and social development
- Learning how to learn
- Use of information and communication technology
The four-year curriculum, which was adopted in January 2019, is being implemented in grammar schools:
The plan is presented on the basis of 35 teaching weeks in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade and 32 teaching weeks in 4th grade.
In the third and fourth grade in language grammar school programmes, extended programmes in foreign languages or a third foreign language can be selected instead of one subject from the group of natural sciences subjects (physics, chemistry and biology).
In the programme of natural sciences and mathematics grammar school extended programmes of mathematics or mathematics and informatics can be selected instead of a second foreign language. Students should make their own choices when enrolling in the first grade.
Students in all types of grammar school programmes choose religious education or ethics as a specific elective subject. By choosing religious education or ethics as an elective subject, the student does not lose the right to choose other elective subjects.
In the general education grammar school programme, students in the second, third and fourth grade are obliged to take 70 hours of elective subjects in addition to religious education or ethics. During their education in the general education grammar school programme, the student may choose one, two or more elective subjects depending on the hours and duration of the programme.
Curricula that are taught as cross-curricular topics are taught in curricula as part of the educational standard and programmes in which the student is involved. The realisation of educational expectations of all cross-curricular topics is obligatory in all grades, and for this purpose, hours are planned for individual subjects and class periods.
In all grammar school programmes, students may also be offered optional subjects, which may be performed under existing elective subjects or according to programmes determined by the school itself.
Teaching methods and materials
Educational activity in secondary school is based on the autonomy of planning and organisation as well as the independence of pedagogical and methodical work in accordance with the National Curriculum, subject curricula and the national pedagogical standards.
As part of the School for Life project, methodological manuals have been developed for the first grades of secondary school for all subject curricula. The manuals include the contents on how to design activities and contents on the realisation of curriculum outcomes, how to relate the outcomes of the subject and cross-curricular curriculum, how to evaluate the adoption of the outcomes, the application of assessment methods for learning and assessment as learning, peer assessment and self-assessment. Also, cooperation with colleagues in curriculum planning and implementation is emphasised. The manuals are in digital form so that teachers can modify, supplement and collaboratively create them themselves. Members of the working groups who have prepared the subject curricula and school staff in the experimental programme are involved in the development of the manuals. The manuals encourage cross-curricular interconnection and collaboration of teachers through planning and interdisciplinary research projects (e.g. in mathematics). The benefits of information and communication technology in learning and teaching are also emphasised and encouraged.
Teachers have complete autonomy regarding the achievement of educational goals. The following methods, forms and modes are fully accepted: research teaching, experience-based teaching, project-based teaching, multimedia teaching, personalised approach, cross-curricular approach, problem-based learning, learning in pairs, learning in groups, etc.
In order to support the achievement of educational goals, methods and forms of work, textbooks and pertaining supplementary teaching resources are used in secondary school. The mentioned resources have to be approved by the ministry competent for education in accordance with the provisions of the Act on Primary and Secondary Schools Textbooks (OG No. 116/18) and the Ordinance on the Textbook Standard and the Members of the Expert Committees for the Evaluation of Textbooks and Other Educational Materials (OG 09/19).
The textbook is compulsory educational material in all subjects, except for subjects with predominantly educational (odgojnu) component (visual arts, music, technology and physical and health education), which serves as a complete source for achieving all educational outcomes determined by the subject curriculum, as well as the expectations of the cross-curricular topics for individual grade and subject. The content and structure of the textbooks must enable students to independently learn and acquire different levels and types of competences, as well as assess the adoption of educational outcomes and expectations of cross-curricular topics. The textbook may be printed and/or in electronic format and may consist of a printed and electronic section. The law defines the maximum allowable price and mass of textbooks. Officials of the ministry responsible for education and officials of the institution for external evaluation of education and institutions responsible for the education system may not be the authors, editors or reviewers of textbooks. The Ministry responsible for education publishes a Catalogue of approved textbooks for grammar schools for each school year, after expert evaluation by a committee appointed by the minister responsible for education.
Scientific, pedagogical, psychological, didactic-methodical, ethical, linguistic, graphic and technical requirements for the development of textbooks, as well as the form of textbooks for a particular subject, grade and level of education, are the textbook standard and are determined by an ordinance issued by the minister responsible for education.
Only textbooks from the Catalogue may be used at schools. The decision to select textbooks in all grades of secondary grammar schools is made by the professional subject committee at each school level. There may be only one textbook in all parallel secondary school class departments for one subject in use.
Textbooks prepared in the language and script of a national minority, or textbooks translated into the language and script of a national minority, may be used in teaching in the language and script of national minorities. Adapted textbooks may be used when teaching students with disabilities or gifted students.
In addition to textbooks, teaching resources (printed, digital or hands-on) may be used in the school to help achieve some of the educational outcomes identified in the subject curriculum, as well as the expectations of cross-curricular topics, encourage student-student and/or student-content interaction, and research and/or group work. Officials of the ministry responsible for education and officials of the institution for external evaluation of education and institutions responsible for the education system may not be the authors, editors or reviewers of textbooks. The decision to use other commercial, educational materials is taken by the school and published on its website by 15th July at the latest. Commercial materials are selected exclusively from the virtual repository. The decision to publish or refuse to publish other educational materials in a virtual repository is made by the agency responsible for education, based on the opinion of the committee appointed by the director of the agency responsible for education. The prerequisite for the publication of other educational materials in the virtual repository is the compliance of other educational materials with scientific principles and ethical standards. The materials should be pedagogically, psychologically, didactically and methodically suitable for use in teaching the subject for which they are intended.
The cost of purchasing textbooks and other educational materials for secondary school students is covered by the parents or guardians of the students. Some local and regional self-government units co-finance the provision of textbooks for secondary school students. Also, the Ordinance on the Method of Exercising the Right to Free Textbooks for Croatian Homeland War Veterans and Members of Their Families (OG 80/18), pursuant to Article 125. of the Act on the Rights of Croatian Homeland War Veterans and their Family Members (OG 121/17), the following categories of citizens are entitled to free compulsory textbooks:
- child of a mortal victim or child of a missing Croatian homeland war veteran
- Croatian homeland war veteran with disabilities
- Croatian homeland war veteran
- the child of a Croatian homeland war veteran with disabilities
- the child of a Croatian homeland war veteran who participated in the war for at least 100 days.
There is no official recommendation regarding homework for secondary school students.
Teaching and learning in art schools
Curriculum, subjects, number of hours
For more general information, see section 6.2 on grammar school education
The educational standard of a particular level of art education, i.e. the degree of complexity of qualification in the field of art education (curriculum of a specific area of art education) contains the core and a specific part and the school curriculum, ways, methods and forms of work in art education, criteria for enrolment of students in art education programmes, and a method of monitoring, assessing and evaluating the students. The core part of the curriculum applies to all students and is mandatory for all students. The specific part of the art education curriculum in primary or secondary school includes subjects and/or modules that meet the interests of students in accordance with the school's possibilities. The art education curriculum is issued by the minister responsible for education.
Teaching methods and materials
For more information, see section 6.2 on grammar school education
Educational activity in secondary school is based on the autonomy of planning and organisation as well as the independence of pedagogical and methodical work in accordance with the National Curriculum, subject curricula, and the national pedagogical standards.