Secondary Education

Secondary education is currently optional, although most political parties advocate the stance that it should also become compulsory.

Secondary schools in Croatia are subdivided into:
gymnasiums with four available educational tracks; prirodoslovno-matematička gimnazija (specializing in math, informatics and science), jezična gimnazija (with a focus on foreign languages and with less science), klasična gimnazija (with a curriculum centered around classics, namely Latin and Ancient Greek) and opća gimnazija (which covers a general education and is not as specific). As a general education school gymnasium is a transition to the professional training in colleges and universities and faculties, i.e. it does not qualify students for a particular profession but mainly focuses on further education. The subjects taught include: Croatian, Math, English, 2nd Foreign Language (of choice), 3rd Foreign Language (an option in foreign language centric schools only), Latin, Art History, Music Appreciation, History, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Sociology, Psychology, Information Technology, Politics and Economics, Philosophy, Logics, Physical Education and an elective. Students may choose either Religious Studies or Ethics as the elective. Education in gymnasia lasts for four years. Gymnasia are harder to get into than vocational or art schools and are generally harder to complete.

vocational schools that teach a student a certain craft, such as cooking or carpentry, and last either three or four years. Schools of economics and engineering go under this category too.

art schools that focus on visual art, music and similar. They take four years.

Gymnasiums, schools of economics and schools of engineering take four years. There are also some vocational schools that last only three years.

Secondary schools supply students with primary subjects needed for the necessary work environment in Croatia. People who completed secondary school are classified as "medium expertise" (srednja stručna sprema or SSS).

Graduates of vocational schools lasting for 4 years are allowed to sit for the national graduation exam (državna matura) and attend university. Graduates of vocational schools lasting 3 years can attend technical vocational higher education institutions, however both groups of students are also eligible to work after completing secondary school just like art school graduates, while gymnasium graduates must go to university.

The process of getting into a high school in Croatia is rather difficult. A student chooses 5 schools which they want to go to (students that are interested in vocational schools may choose two programs within a school) and then list them. The first school on the list is the school that the student wants to go to the most. In Croatia, the maximum number of points while signing up is 80; the points are gathered from primary school grades and any extra criteria such as competitions, diseases and similar. The point threshold is a certain number of points below which a student can't sign up for the school. For an example, if a certain school has the point threshold of 65, nobody with 64 or less points can sign up. Schools usually have quotas of how many students can enroll in that particular year.
There are currently around 90 gymnasiums and 300 vocational schools in Croatia. The public secondary schools are under the jurisdiction of regional government, the counties.