Education in Croatia

Education in Croatia is a right defend by the Article 66 of the Constitution which states that everyone has to have access to free compulsory education under equal conditions and in accordance with their aptitudes. Education is mandatory for children aged 6 to 15.

Educational system in Croatia begins with preschools-kindergartens. Children start their compulsory eight year long primary education from the age of 6. After finishing elementary school, students can continue their education, based on grades in elementary school, in four year non-compulsory secondary schools that are divided by the curriculum into gymnasiums, vocational (technical, industrial, trade) and art (music, dance, art) schools. Since 2010, the success on the Matura high-school exit exam is the basis of enrollment in higher education institutions. Higher education is conducted at institutions of higher education through university and professional studies. Higher education institutions are divided into polytechnics, colleges, faculties and academies of art. Since 2005, all study programs are aligned with the requirements of the Bologna Process. University study that lasts five years enables students to work in science, education, business, public sector etc., and can be at undergraduate (BA), graduate (MA) and postgraduate (PhD) level. Professional studies last two to three years, and are carried out at polytechnics and colleges, and provide students with the knowledge and skills that allow them to perform certain professional activities. By its completion, students get the title of professional bachelor (bacc).

Attending public primary and secondary schools, as well as institutions of higher education, is free. Students only pay directly for textbooks, basic equipment, cafeteria food, student dorms and other necessities, although state also gives thousands of scholarships each year. In addition, the state pays health insurance for students. There are very few private schools in the country.

Education in Croatia has a long history, with the first university being University of Zadar, founded in 1396. Largest and the oldest continuously operating Croatian university is University of Zagreb, founded in 1669. Today, there are 940 primary and 390 secondary schools, as well as 90 public and 32 private higher education institutions in Croatia.