In February 2015, an expert group for implementing comprehensive curricular reform for early and pre-school, primary and secondary education started their work. The reform will follow an education, science and technology strategy, soon to be adopted by the Croatian government.
The reform aims to provide students with education in line with their ages and interests to prepare them for the world of work, further education and modern life. The reform will more clearly define what is expected from students. Roles of teachers and educational institutions will also be strengthened. Teachers will be more autonomous and allowed more creativity while their administrative and bureaucratic obligations will be reduced. Emphasis will be on professional development of teachers.
The curricular reform will focus on:
- developing basic competences for lifelong learning;
- increasing functional literacy levels of students;
- linking education to needs and interests of students;
- linking education to needs of society and the economy.
For vocational education and training (VET) the goal is to develop national and sectoral VET curricula. VET curricula reform aims to make VET more flexible through selectivity and modularity, provide general education and key competences as a basis for further education and lifelong learning. Further, work-based learning will be strengthened and introduced in all VET programmes to ease students’ transitions from education to work.
Another expected result of the reform is transition to nine-year primary school. The biggest change for secondary school students is introduction of optional classes in gymnasiums which will allow students to focus learning on their specific interests.
The reform includes drafting curricular documents, establishing a system for evaluation, assessment and reporting, training of teachers and other staff and preparing new manuals, textbooks, auxiliary teaching resources and digital content. This will be performed by special expert working groups composed mostly of practitioners.
The road map is as follows. In April 2015, a public call for expression of interest will be launched to engage 300 teachers to work full-time on the curricular reform. Substitute teachers will be hired to replace them in their schools during this period. Work on curricula will begin in autumn 2015, and first proposals should be ready by end of 2015. Experimental implementation will commence in school year 2016/17 while full implementation will start in 2017/18.
A separate unit for professional and administrative support of the curricular reform will be established. It will consist of 60 employees from the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, Education and Teacher Training Agency, Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education and the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education.