The educational system in Croatia consists of preschool education, elementary education, secondary and higher education.
Preschool education in Croatia encompasses education and care for children of preschool age, carried out through educational, healthcare, nourishment, and social care programmes for children from six months of age up to school age.
The enrolment process for public kindergartens usually starts in May when application forms for the enrolment are submitted to kindergartens according to the official address of the parents.
Required documents for enrolment in public kindergartens usually are:
- Filled and signed application form (needs to be filled in Croatian)
- Birth certificate of the child or a confirmation of information regarding childbirth or written approval of parents that the kindergarten itself can check relevant information on the child
- Certificate of residence of the child or written consent of the parents to the kindergarten that it can - through the competent city office - check the information on the residence of the child
- Copy of the identity cards of parents
- Evidence on facts relevant to achieve priority in the enrolment (a certificate that both parents are employed in Croatia or some other certificate)
- Other necessary documents for the enrolment on which the kindergarten will inform the parents
The full cost of regular kindergarten programs ranges from 1.500 HRK to 2.500 HRK per month. The decision on the amount of the economic price is made by the founder of the kindergarten, depending on whether the kindergarten is city/municipal or private. The majority of public preschool institutions have lengthy waiting lists, therefore inquiries about placements should be made directly and as soon as possible.
Private kindergartens are more expensive than public ones, but the advantage is that the parents can apply for the enrolment during the whole year, not only in a specific period. The price for private kindergartens varies from 2.500 HRK to 3.500 HRK per month.
Eight-year elementary education in Croatia is compulsory and free for all children between the ages of six and fifteen. This refers to all children with permanent residence in Croatia, irrespective of their citizenship.
Following elementary education, secondary education enables everyone, under equal terms and according to one’s capabilities, to acquire the knowledge and skills required for work or the continuation of education.
Within the secondary school system, depending on the type of curriculum, there are the following types of schools:
- Grammar schools (general or specialized) with a four-year curriculum; upon their completion, students can enter higher education.
- Vocational schools (technical, industrial, trade and other, as defined by the curriculum) with one-to-five-year curriculum; upon their completion, students acquire secondary vocational education, or semi-skilled training in case of a one or two-year curriculum.
- Art schools (music, dance, fine arts, and other, as defined by the curriculum) with at least a four-year curriculum; upon their completion, students can enter higher education.
There are several public and private international schools in Zagreb (listing is for informational purposes only and does not signify endorsement) where foreign language is the main teaching language:
Higher education in Croatia is implemented through university and professional study programmes. University study programmes qualify students to work in science, higher education, private and public sector, and society in general, as well as to develop and apply scientific and professional knowledge. Professional study programmes provide students with an appropriate level of knowledge and skills required to work in applied professions, as well as providing direct integration in the working process.
University study programmes include three levels: undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate studies. Undergraduate programmes normally last three (180 ECTS) to four (240 ECTS) years. Upon completion, students are awarded an academic title of Bachelor (prvostupnik) with reference to a specialisation. Graduate programmes normally last one (60 ECTS) to two (120 ECTS) years. The total number of credits earned after completing both undergraduate and graduate studies is, at least, 300 ECTS. Upon completion of both undergraduate and graduate studies, students are awarded an academic title of Master (magistar struke) with reference to a specialisation. Postgraduate university studies are divided into specialist and doctoral studies. Specialist studies last for one to two years. Upon completion, the student is awarded the title of University Specialist with reference to a specialisation (univ. spec.). Doctoral studies last three years (180 ECTS). Upon completion of doctoral study, the student is awarded with the academic title of Doctor of Science or Doctor of Arts (dr. sc. or dr. art.).
Professional study programmes are split into: short professional studies, undergraduate professional studies and specialist graduate professional studies. Professional studies are divided into short professional studies, undergraduate professional studies, and specialist professional graduate studies. Short professional studies last one (60 ECTS) to two (120 ECTS) years. Upon completion, students are awarded a professional title of stručni pristupnik/pristupnica (in Croatian), with reference to a specialisation. Undergraduate professional studies last three (exceptionally four) years and students earn 180-240 ECTS credits. Upon completion of professional studies students are awarded a professional title of stručni pristupnik/pristupnica (in Croatian), with a reference to a specialisation. Specialist professional graduate studies last one to two years and students can earn 60-120 ECTS credits. Upon completion, students are awarded a title of a specialist of the respective profession. The total number of credits earned after completing both undergraduate and graduate professional studies is at least 300 ECTS.
There are currently 1727 accredited study programmes in Croatia.
Foreign education qualifications of primary or secondary education for the purpose of continuation of primary or secondary education are recognized by the authority of the school at which the applicant wishes to pursue his/her education. Recognition of qualifications attesting to the completion of primary education and general, gymnasium, and art secondary education programmes (for the purpose of employment or continuation of education) is under the authority of the Education and Teacher Training Agency. Details can be found at the website of the Education and Teacher Training Agency: www.azoo.hr (The recognition of a foreign educational qualification).
- Ministry of Science and Education
- Education and Teacher Training Agency
- Agency for Science and Higher Education
- Study in Croatia