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Croatia – Education and Schools

Croatia is known for its quality education system, which is built on a strong tradition of providing free and compulsory education for all students. In this article, we will explore the education system in Croatia, including the types of schools available, the curriculum, typical school hours and holidays, enrollment procedures, and options for higher education.

Quality of Education in Croatia

The quality of education in Croatia is generally regarded as high. The country has a well-established education system, with a literacy rate of 99.2%. Additionally, the Croatian government invests a significant portion of its budget in education, making it a top priority.

Compulsory Education in Croatia

In Croatia, education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15. This includes primary education, which lasts for eight years, and lower secondary education, which lasts for four years. After completing lower secondary education, students may choose to continue their education in upper secondary schools or vocational schools.

Types of Schools in Croatia

There are several types of schools available in Croatia, depending on the age of the student and their interests.

Primary Schools

Primary schools in Croatia provide education for children aged 6 to 14. The primary education curriculum is designed to give children a broad and balanced education, including subjects such as Croatian language and literature, mathematics, natural and social sciences, music, art, and physical education.


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Secondary Schools

Secondary schools in Croatia provide education for students aged 15 to 19. There are several types of secondary schools available, including:

  • General Gymnasium: These schools offer a general education program and prepare students for higher education.

  • Vocational Schools: These schools provide students with vocational training and prepare them for specific professions.

  • Art Schools: These schools offer specialized education in music, dance, drama, and fine arts.

Higher Education

Croatia has a well-developed higher education system, with over 50 universities and colleges. Students can choose from a wide range of subjects, including medicine, law, engineering, and humanities.

Curriculum and Qualifications

Schools in Croatia follow a national curriculum that is designed to provide students with a well-rounded education. The curriculum includes both academic and practical subjects, with a strong emphasis on language learning.

Students who complete secondary education in Croatia receive a leaving certificate, which is recognized by universities and colleges both within and outside the country. Additionally, students who complete vocational training in Croatia receive a vocational qualification that is recognized by employers in their chosen field.

School Hours and Holidays

School hours in Croatia vary depending on the type of school and the age of the student. Primary school students typically attend school for five hours a day, while secondary school students attend school for six hours a day.

In terms of holidays, students in Croatia have a two-month summer break from late June to late August, as well as shorter breaks at Christmas and Easter.

Enrollment Procedures and Competition

Enrollment procedures for schools in Croatia vary depending on the type of school and the age of the student. Generally, parents or guardians must provide proof of residency, the child’s birth certificate, and immunization records to enroll their child in a school.

Competition for enrollment in primary and secondary schools in Croatia is generally low. However, there may be more competition for enrollment in certain types of schools, such as general gymnasiums or vocational schools.

International Schools in Croatia

There are several international schools in Croatia that cater to the needs of expatriate families. These schools offer an international curriculum and are taught in English. Some of the most popular international schools in Croatia include the American International School of Zagreb and the International School of Zagreb.

Higher Education in Croatia

Croatia has several universities and colleges offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. Some of the most notable institutions include the University of Zagreb, the University of Split, and the University of Rijeka. Higher education in Croatia is highly regarded, with a focus on research and innovation. Students can earn degrees in fields such as medicine, engineering, law, and the humanities.

In addition to traditional universities, there are also vocational schools and specialized training programs available for students interested in technical or vocational careers.


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