Country information for Croatia - Teacher education for inclusive education
Initial teacher education
The Croatian higher education system has a long educational tradition, primarily preserved through the work of its public universities. Croatia has three types of higher education institutions: universities, polytechnics and colleges of applied sciences.
Croatia has a binary higher education system, meaning that prospective students can choose between two types of higher education studies:
- university studies consisting of academic programmes that are conducted solely in universities;
- professional studies consisting of professional programmes conducted in polytechnics or colleges of applied sciences (exceptionally, professional programmes can also be implemented in universities).
Croatia has both public and private higher education institutions. The Croatian higher education system is structured according to three cycles (undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate studies), in line with the Bologna Process guidelines.
Undergraduate university studies normally last for three to four years (six or eight semesters) and students earn 180 to 240 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits. Upon completion, students are awarded a bachelor’s degree in a specialisation, which qualifies a student for specialised work in art or science. Students can continue their studies at graduate university or specialist professional graduate level, or enter the labour market.
Graduate university studies normally last for one to two years (two or four semesters) and students earn 60 to 120 ECTS credits. The total number of credits earned after completing both undergraduate and graduate studies is at least 300 ECTS credits in total. Upon completion of both undergraduate and graduate studies, students are awarded a master’s degree in a specialisation. Students can continue their studies at postgraduate university level or enter the labour market.
Postgraduate university studies are divided into specialist and doctoral studies.
Specialist studies lead towards specialisation in a profession and last for one to two years. Upon completion, the student is awarded the title of University Specialist in a specialisation (univ. spec.).
Doctoral studies last three years and are intended for scientific and research training aimed at the production of scientific excellence, as well as renewal of teaching staff in the higher education system. Upon completion of doctoral study (and after defending the doctoral thesis), the academic title of Doctor of Science or Doctor of Arts is awarded (dr. sc. or dr. art.).
Today, Croatia’s higher education institutions are part of the European Higher Education Area, having adapted their study programmes to the Bologna Process. This makes it easier for international students to study in Croatia and for Croatian students to study abroad.
Teachers and educators in the Republic of Croatia are employees of public institutions. Their qualifications and professional development are regulated by national acts and regulations. Educators who work in pre-primary education institutions need to complete a three-year undergraduate programme and have a bachelor’s degree. Class teachers who work in primary schools (first to fourth grade) and subject teachers who work in primary schools need to complete a five-year study programme and have a master’s degree.
Secondary school teachers need to complete a five-year study programme and have a master’s degree if they teach general educational and theoretical subjects.
Teachers in vocational education and training (VET) schools can complete a three-year or a five-year study programme and have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Teachers of practical training can have a former two-year degree or a secondary school diploma. Teachers who are already employed and do not have a master’s degree, but do have a former two-year or three-year degree, can continue to work in the education system.
Study programmes in the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Zagreb include undergraduate and graduate study programmes in speech and language pathology, rehabilitation and social pedagogy.
The undergraduate study programme of pedagogy in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb includes two courses that deal with children with special needs: the Fundamentals of Social Pedagogy and the Methodology of Working with Students with Special Needs. The Faculty of Teacher Education at the University of Zagreb offers courses on Inclusive Pedagogy and Social Pedagogy.
Continuing professional development and lifelong learning
Competent agencies for professional development and lifelong learning
In the pre-primary, primary and secondary education system, as well as in the higher education, adult education and lifelong learning system, several agencies organise and carry out professional development of educational staff. These include the Education and Teacher Training Agency, the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education and the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes.
Education and Teacher Training Agency
The Education and Teacher Training Agency (ETTA) is a public institution founded by the Republic of Croatia. Founder’s rights and obligations belong to the Ministry of Science and Education. ETTA’s role is to provide professional assistance and advisory services in education. ETTA participates in monitoring, improving and developing education in the areas of pre-primary, primary and secondary school education. As an expert institution, ETTA develops and ensures the quality and efficiency of professional development which needs to be available to all educational staff according to their individual needs and the education system’s needs. ETTA advisors transfer the knowledge and experience gained through their work in the education system and continuous professional development to teaching and non-teaching staff, from pre-primary to secondary school level. They support, train and advise educational staff throughout their professional career. The advisors support newly-qualified teachers throughout their induction period and prepare them for the first license examination. ETTA advisors participate in curricula development and write opinions on the programmes of pre-primary, primary and secondary schools and pupils’ dormitories.
Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education
The Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education is a public institution founded by the Republic of Croatia. Founder’s rights and obligations belong to the Ministry of Science and Education. The Agency’s main activities are planning, developing, organising, implementing, monitoring and advancing the VET system. It aims to create an accessible, flexible and permeable system of vocational education and adult education, based on competences according to individual needs and society, supporting the development of the Croatian economy and higher employment rates. The Agency’s strategic goals are to develop qualifications based on competences and learning outcomes, to continuously align education with labour market needs, to build a VET system that enables lifelong learning and mobility, to define teachers’ roles in a learning-outcomes oriented system and to establish a quality assurance system.
Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes
The Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes is a public institution founded by the Republic of Croatia. Founder’s rights and obligations belong to the Ministry of Science and Education. The Agency implements and promotes EU and other international programmes in the areas of science, education, professional training and youth. The Agency focuses on raising the quality of the system through internationalisation, i.e. by strengthening mobility instruments for the purposes of learning and professional development.
Last updated 14/02/2018