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General themes

VET in Cyprus comprises the following main features:

  • a strong cultural trend towards general secondary education followed by a demand for tertiary education qualifications;
  • the enhancement of lifelong guidance and counselling services as a mean to increase VET attractiveness;
  • a shift to the learning outcomes approach (which can be considered at an early stage) followed by a strong commitment to establish their use.

Distinctive features ([1]Adapted from Cedefop (2016) Vocational education and training in Cyprus: Spotlight. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8096_en.pdf):

Cyprus has a long-standing tradition of tripartite consultation (government, trade unions and employers’ organisations) and social dialogue. The social partners are involved in:

  • planning in an advisory and consultative capacity;
  • education reform promoted by the government;
  • boards of directors of institutions dealing with human resource issues;
  • identifying education and training needs and setting priorities in education and training.

Vocational education and training in Cyprus is mainly public. Provision of secondary VET including evening technical schools, the apprenticeship system and post upper secondary VET is free of charge, while various adult vocational training programmes are offered for a limited fee.

Financial incentives for participation in adult vocational training are provided by the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus (HRDA) ([2]In Greek: Αρχή Ανάπτυξης Ανθρώπινου Δυναμικού Κύπρου (ΑνΑΔ).
http://www.anad.org.cy
), a semi-government organisation. The Human Resource Development Authority reports to the government through the competent minister who is the minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance. It is governed by a 13-strong tripartite board of directors, comprising government, employer and trade union representatives.

Funding provided by the Human Resource Development Authority has encouraged enterprises and their employees to participate in training and development activities.

Cyprus has a high level of educational attainment. There is a strong cultural trend among Cypriots in favour of general secondary education followed by higher education. The economic crisis that Cyprus faced in 2012-15, together with the efforts to increase VET attractiveness, have contributed to a significant increase in the number of students who enrol in technical schools. In 2014, VET attracted 15.1% of the upper secondary learners compared to 12.7% in 2011.

The recent economic crisis, and its adverse effects on the labour market, has been a critical challenge for education and training.

Training has been redirected to respond flexibly and effectively to the crisis, with targeted actions for the unemployed, economically inactive, and the employed.

A major challenge is to address the young as well as long-term unemployment. Actions are being taken to promote employability of young persons and the long-term unemployed, through individualised guidance, training and work placements.

Another challenge for education and training, which features prominently in the current education reform, is to encourage adult participation in lifelong learning activities and increase VET participation among the young. A comprehensive, attractive, flexible and high quality VET system is being developed to respond better to the needs of the economy. Core measures are promoting tertiary non-university programmes offered by institutes for technical and vocational education, which were accredited in 2017 by the Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (DIPAE) as public schools of higher vocational education and training, upgrading secondary technical and vocational education curricula and raising the quality and competences of secondary technical and vocational education teachers. There are also actions to upgrade the apprenticeship, designed to constitute a viable, alternative form of training for young people.

These measures are included in the strategic plan for technical and vocational education 2015-20 and the proposal of the education ministry for upgrading the apprenticeship, approved by the

government in 2015.

EU tools for validating acquired skills, such as the Cyprus qualifications framework (CyQF) ([3]http://www.cyqf.gov.cy/index.php/el/), will improve horizontal and vertical permeability of education and training systems. The development of a competence-based system of vocational qualifications by the Human Resource Development Authority which is an integral part of the national qualifications framework is expected to strengthen the ties between VET for young people and vocational training for adults, improving their knowledge and skills.

Data from VET in Cyprus Spotlight 2016 ([4]Adapted from Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Cyprus. Luxembourg: Publications Office. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8096_en.pdf).

Population in 2018: 864 236 ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased by 0.2% since 2013 due to negative natural growth ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted on 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 21 in 2015 to 55 in 2060.

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

 

Participation at upper secondary VET has been increasing since 2013, despite the decreasing birth rate in the early 2000s.

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs10 & demo_gind [extracted 14.5.2019].

 

Not applicable

Most companies are micro-sized. According to social insurance data ([7]Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance (2018). General statistics 2018. http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/sid/sidv2.nsf/page21_en/page21_en?OpenDocument) for 2017, 92.6% of enterprises employed 1-9 persons, while 6.2% employed 10-49 persons. Only 1.1% employed over 50 persons.

Main economic sectors:

  • financial and insurance activities;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • real estate activities;
  • public administration and defence;
  • professional, scientific and technical activities;
  • tourism;
  • construction.

With the exception of tourism and construction sectors, these sectors are not strongly linked to VET qualifications.

In general, there are few limitations/restrictions in the labour market, especially in occupations where health and safety is of concern.

For some occupations/professions, it is compulsory to hold specific certificates/diplomas or to be registered at the appropriate professional body.

For example, it is required by law that all engineers are registered members of the Cyprus Scientific and Technical Chamber ([8]In Greek: Επιστημονικό Τεχνικό Επιμελητήριο Κύπρου:
https://www.etek.org.cy/
) the statutory technical advisor to the State and the umbrella organisation for all Cypriot engineers. The chamber issues relevant certificates and licenses.

Also, the department of electrical and mechanical services of the transport ministry is the competent authority for the implementation of the legislation in fields of electrical installations and auto-mechanical repairs such as the law which regulates the profession of automobile technicians.

Furthermore, according to a recent regulation, it will become compulsory for plumbing, heating and cooling systems technicians to hold the appropriate vocational qualification issued by the Human Resource Development Authority through the system of vocational qualifications, in order to practice the profession.

Total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old) (2018): 7.3% (6.0% in EU28); it increased by 4.2 percentage points since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [Extracted on 20.05.2019]).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 0-2 and 5-8, age 15-24.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) is still higher than in the pre-crisis years.

Employment rate of 20-34 year old VET graduates increased from 72.4% in 2014 to 76.6% in 2018.

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+4.2 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was lower compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+6.2 pp) in the same period in Cyprus ([11]Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education traditionally has high value in Cyprus. The share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education is 44.1%. The share of those with low or without qualification is 17.7% that is below the EU28 average (21.8%).

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for "No response" in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted on 16.05.2019]

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

not applicable

16.7%

100%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

In upper secondary VET, the share has increased by 3.2 percentage points since 2013.

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper-secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

There are more males in VET. Based on data provided by the education ministry, for the school year 2018/19, the 78.1% of learners in all VET programmes at upper Secondary level are males. Also, in tertiary (non-university) programmes offered by the education ministry (MIEEK), approximately 60% of the learners are males.

At upper secondary level, for the 2018/19 school year, the most popular field of study and specialisations among males were Cooks and waiters and Automobile engineering and car electrics and electronics. Among females the most popular fields were also ‘cooks and waiters’ and ‘hairdressing’([12]These are the names of the relevant specialisations.).

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 11.7% in 2009 to 7.8% in 2018. The result is below the national target of not more than 10% and the EU28 average of 10.6%.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series.;
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Drop-out rate from VET: Information not available

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to Eurostat (Labour Force Survey([13]The European Union Labour Force Survey (EU LFS) is conducted in the 28 Member States of the European Union, four candidate countries and three countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in accordance with Council Regulation (EEC) No 577/98 of 9 March 1998. At the moment, the LFS microdata for scientific purposes contain data for all Member States plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
The EU Labour Force Survey is a large household sample survey providing quarterly results on labour participation of people aged 15 and over as well as on persons outside the labour force. All definitions apply to persons aged 15 years and over living in private households. Persons carrying out obligatory military or community service are not included in the target group of the survey, as is also the case for persons in institutions/collective households.
The data collection covers the years from 1983 onwards. In general, data for individual countries are available depending on their accession date. The Labour Force Surveys are conducted by the national statistical institutes across Europe and are centrally processed by Eurostat. The national statistical institutes are responsible for selecting the sample, preparing the questionnaires, conducting the direct interviews among households, and forwarding the results to Eurostat in accordance with the requirements of the regulation. Thus, it is possible to make available harmonised data at European level. More information available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/microdata/european-union-labour-force-...
)), the share of 25-64 year-olds participating in education and training over the four weeks prior to the survey was 6.7% in 2018, which is lower than the EU average of 11.1% in 2018 and the national target for 2020 of 12%.

 

VET learners by age group

Source: CYSTAT and Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs05 [extracted 24.4.2019].

 

The education and training system comprises:

  • pre-primary education(ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2, ISCED 244) (hereafter basic education which is compulsory till the age of 15);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED levels 4 and 3 for apprenticeship-learners who leave formal education between grades 8-10) (EQF 4 (ISCED 344, 354)and respectively 3);
  • post-secondary not tertiary education (EQF 5, ISCED 554, 454);
  • higher education (EQF 6-8, ISCED 655, 766 and 767 for post-graduate studies at master level (1-2 years)), ISCED 864 for PhD programmes).

Education in Cyprus is available from the pre-primary to the postgraduate levels. It is compulsory at the pre-primary, primary (grades 1 to 6), and lower secondary (grades seven to nine) levels, until the student reaches the age of 15.

In upper secondary education, which lasts for three years (grades 10 to 12) there are two types of schools: the unified lyceum and technical schools.

The number of higher education places in Cyprus is rather limited as there are only three public and five private universities. A large proportion of young people continuing to higher education enrol in educational institutions abroad.

Government regulated VET provision leads to four qualification levels (2- 5) that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF).

European qualifications framework levels 2-3 VET qualifications are only offered in the form of apprenticeship ([14]New modern apprenticeship (NMA) is directed towards young people between 14 and 21 years of age at two apprenticeship levels (preparatory and core). Participation in the NMA is not part of compulsory education and is free of charge. The new modern apprenticeship targets two distinct groups of learners:
(a) learners who have not completed compulsory education lower secondary programmes (third grade of gymnasium) can enrol at the preparatory apprenticeship level. The preparatory apprenticeship has been introduced to provide support to early school leavers between the ages of 14 and 16, by gradually introducing them to the labour market, giving them a taste of VET, and helping them to choose a specialisation when they proceed to the core level of apprenticeship; and
(b) learners who have either successfully completed compulsory education or successfully completed preparatory apprenticeship can enrol at the core apprenticeship level.
).

There are several VET learning options:

  • at upper secondary level VET is provided at technical schools for students aged 15-18 and evening technical schools, as well as in the afternoon and evening classes of technical schools for adults;
  • the education ministry also offers formal education programmes free of charge, in both the theoretical and practical directions, through the two evening technical schools, one in Nicosia and another in Limassol, to further promote participation in secondary vocational education and support the integration of school dropouts in the workplace and in society in general;
  • also three-year programmes are provided in the context of the afternoon and evening classes of technical schools, which are administered by the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET). They offer a variety of courses such as plumbing, electrical installations, engineering, computers, car mechanics, cooking and graphic design.

VET at tertiary level

VET at tertiary, non-university level is provided at public and private institutes/colleges offering people the opportunity to acquire, improve, or upgrade their qualifications and skills. Successful completion of these accredited programmes, which may last for two-to-three years, lead to a diploma or higher diploma awarded by the institution (European qualifications framework level 5). The public post-secondary institutes of VET ([15]In 2012, the education ministry in cooperation with the labour ministry and other stakeholders established, within the context of the education reform, post-secondary institutes of VET, co-financed by the ESF, which offered further technical specialisation as of the academic year 2012/13. These were in April 2017 by the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education granted them tertiary non-university level status.) were accredited in 2017 by the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA) ([16]Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA). In Greek: Φορέας Διασφάλισης και Πιστοποίησης της Ποιότητας της Ανώτερης Εκπαίδευσης (
http://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/el/ )
) as public schools of higher vocational education and training. They offer two-year accredited programmes that lead to the acquisition of a diploma ([17]Private institutions of tertiary education offer a wide range of academic as well as vocational programmes of study at various levels (one- or two years diploma, three years higher diploma, four-years bachelor degree and one- or two-years master’s degree) in secretarial studies, aesthetics, food preparation, music, arts and drama, graphic design, hotel and tourism management, computer science, social sciences, education, business studies, management and engineering. English is the language of instruction for most programmes of studies offered, which attracts students from other countries. Furthermore, several private institutions of tertiary education offer academic programmes of study based on validation or franchised agreements with more than 10 European universities and following the provisions of the competent Law of the Republic of Cyprus.
Since 1996, the establishment and operation of all private institutions of tertiary education is regulated by law. Each institution sets its own internal regulations, student entry requirements and evaluation, qualifications awarded, tuition fees and teachers’ qualifications, which are published in an annual prospectus.
).

There are four public institutions of tertiary education (non-university level) offering programmes in forestry, culinary arts and other vocations.

Training for employees

The main bodies promoting training provision for the employed are the Human Resource Development Authority, the education ministry, the labour ministry, and other ministries and public institutions. Moreover, private institutions such as colleges, training institutions, consultancy firms and enterprises offer a variety of courses for adults, including many that are not subsidised by the Human Resource Development Authority.

Other ministries offer, usually relative to their mandate training:

  • the Higher Hotel institute of Cyprus (HHIC) offers upgrading courses to employees in the hotel and restaurant sector([19]Higher Hotel institute of Cyprus (HHIC). In Greek: Ανώτερο Ξενοδοχειακό Ινστιτούτο Κύπρου:
    http://www.mlsi.gov.cy/mlsi/hhic/hhic.nsf/index_gr/index_gr?OpenDocument&lang=el
    );
  • the agriculture ministry is offering training to farmers, foresters and forestry graduates. These courses are offered mostly by the agricultural educational centres;
  • the Cyprus academy of public administration is training civil servants;
  • the health ministry is responsible for the planning and coordination of continuing professional development of public sector nurses;
  • the justice and public order ministry promotes the training of police officers and sergeants provided by the Cyprus police academy. The police academy also offers part-time training in the use of computers for police members.

Training for the unemployed

The main bodies promoting training provision for the unemployed are the Human Resource Development Authority in cooperation with the labour ministry and the education ministry. The Human Resource Development Authority offers the following training activities:

  • training programmes for the unemployed aim at the participation of the unemployed who are registered with the public employment services in training programmes for specific occupations/themes that the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus defines after consultation;
  • employment and training of tertiary education graduates;
  • training of the long-term unemployed in enterprises/organisations;
  • multi-company training programmes.

The apprenticeship system was a two-year initial VET programme providing practical and theoretical training to young people who had not successfully completed their secondary compulsory education and wished to be trained and employed in technical occupations. This was terminated with the graduation of the last intake of apprentices in June 2013 and was replaced by the New Modern Apprenticeship (NMA) which started its operation in the school year 2012/13.

In 2007, the council of ministers approved the proposal for the establishment of the New Modern Apprenticeship, which provides an alternative pathway for education, training and development for young people who withdraw from the formal education system and is geared towards meeting the needs of the labour market. As of September of 2015 the council of ministers, assigned full responsibility for the operation of the apprenticeship to the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET) ([20]In Greek: Διεύθυνση μέσης τεχνικής και επαγγελματικής εκπαίδευσης και κατάρτισης.) of the education ministry. The improvement of the quality of the apprenticeship and the enhancement of its relevance to labour market needs is implemented as approved by the council of ministers in August 2015.

The apprenticeship, which is co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the government of Cyprus, is directed towards young people between 14 and 21 years of age at two apprenticeship levels (preparatory and core). Participation in the apprenticeship is not part of compulsory education and is free of charge. The apprenticeship targets two distinct groups of students:

  • students who have not completed compulsory education lower secondary programmes (third grade of gymnasium) can enrol at the preparatory apprenticeship level. The preparatory apprenticeship has been introduced to provide support to early school leavers between the ages of 14 and 16, by giving them a taste of VET, and helping them to choose a specialisation when they proceed to the core level of apprenticeship; and
  • students who have either successfully completed compulsory education or successfully completed preparatory apprenticeship can enrol at the core apprenticeship level.

Preparatory apprenticeship does not involve employment but constitutes an alternative form of education and training for students between 14 and 16 years of age who have the opportunity through this programme to develop their numeracy, literacy and digital skills, to explore their talents and abilities through creative arts, and to take part in workshops related to technical occupations. Such workshops include carpentry, plumbing and mechanics. The curricula are developed by the trainers. Participation in these workshops is part of the programme and does not lead to individual qualifications. Students also receive individual counselling from psychologists according to their needs. Students who complete preparatory apprenticeship (ISCED 2, EQF level 2) may proceed to the core apprenticeship level or, if they wish and provided they succeed in a special set of exams, they may re-enter the formal education system.

Core apprenticeship lasts three years and involves both training at school and practical training in enterprises. Apprentices sign a contract with their employer which mainly regulates their terms of employment. Apprentices follow practical training in enterprises for three days per week where they are remunerated for their work and receive theoretical training for two days per week by attending classes at technical schools.

New curricula have been developed for car mechanics, plumbing/central heating, welding/metal constructions, bakery/confectionery, carpentry/furniture making, electrical installations, and home appliances technicians by trainers chosen through a competitive process. The curricula have been developed for the theoretical subjects of the core apprenticeship, such as Greek, maths, physics, English, information technology, and technical specialisations. The curricula of technical specialisations incorporate the standards of vocational qualifications developed by the Human Resource Development Authority). The content of training in enterprises is based on a training plan developed by the school trainer and the enterprise trainer working together and agreed by the employer. The enterprise training of the apprentice is monitored by regular visits of the school trainer to the enterprise and a monthly report prepared and submitted to the apprenticeship officer.

Teachers of the theoretical training that takes place at school are teachers of secondary technical and vocational education. Following the development of new curricula, a training of trainers programme has been implemented for preparatory apprenticeship trainers.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

The education ministry has overall responsibility for the development and implementation of educational policy, while labour ministry has overall responsibility for labour and social policy.

As of September 2015, the government assigned full responsibility for the operation of the New Modern Apprenticeship (NMA) to the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET) of the education ministry.

The Directorate General for European programmes, Coordination and Development ([21]In Greek: Γενική Διεύθυνση Ευρωπαϊκών Προγραμμάτων, Συντονισμού και Ανάπτυξης (ΓΔ ΕΠΣΑ):
http://www.dgepcd.gov.cy/dgepcd/dgepcd.nsf/index_gr/index_gr?OpenDocument
) is responsible for European funds and programmes, coordination of government work, research, technological development and innovation, lifelong learning and the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy.

The Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus has an important role in vocational training. It is a semi-government organisation whose mission is to create the necessary prerequisites for the planned and systematic training and development of the human resources of Cyprus.

Public funds administered mainly by the education ministry are the primary source for financing VET.

The financing provided by European social fund has played an important role in the promotion of participation due to the increased level of funds available which led to the introduction of new training programmes. Many training programmes that are co-financed by European social fund are addressed to the unemployed and groups at risk of exclusion from the labour market.

Expenditure on Education (% on GDP)

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016*

Public expenditure on education

7.2

6.4

6.6

6.5

6.5

6.5

Total expenditure on education

9.4

8.7

8.8

8.8

8.8

n.a.

NB. *: provisional. n.a.: not available

Source: CYSTAT (2018a).

Expenditure on VET (% on GDP)

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Public expenditure on VET

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

Source: CYSTAT.

 

Expenditure per student in 2010-16 (EUR)

NB: Most recent data.
Source: CYSTAT.

 

As far as VET for adults is concerned, the Human Resource Development Authority subsidises a variety of training activities, implemented by public and private institutions and enterprises, which are addressed to employed and unemployed persons.

The funds of the Human Resource Development Authority come from the human resource development levy of 0.5% on the payroll of employers excluding the government. Enterprises and vocational training centres are directly involved in training activities and prepare and submit training programmes to the Human Resource Development Authority on a continuous basis. In general, the subsidisation covers about 80% of the eligible total costs.

In VET there are:

  • teachers of the theoretical part;
  • apprentice tutors;
  • trainers of vocational training.

Teachers of the theoretical part teach in upper secondary vocational schools, in the school-based component of apprenticeships and in VET Higher education (non-tertiary) institutes. Teachers at all levels of school education are university graduates with a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum qualification. A very small number of VET teachers employed at technical schools hold a diploma or similar qualification from colleges or other similar educational establishments of tertiary (non-higher) education in courses of at least three years duration and were appointed at a lower salary scale.

Apprentice tutors are employees of the enterprise where the in-company training component takes place. No specific training is needed to perform these duties.

Upgrading the continuous professional development of teachers and the enhancement of the quality, attractiveness and efficiency of VET and new modern apprenticeship are important challenges for the education system of Cyprus. This is reflected in the education reform, which is a long process involving all VET stakeholders, as well as in the strategies and policies of the education ministry.

People who want to become trainers of vocational training must successfully go through the assessment and certification procedure following the system of vocational qualifications and acquire the trainer of vocational training qualification (European qualifications framework/Cyprus qualifications framework level 5, system of vocational qualifications level 5). Through the multi-company training programmes scheme, train the trainer programmes are offered to prepare trainers for assessment and certification.

Certified trainers of vocational training, deliver approved and subsidised courses, by the Human Resource Development Authority, both at vocational training centres as well as in companies for in-house training.

The Cyprus Pedagogical lnstitute ([22]Cyprus Pedagogical lnstitute(CPI). In Greek: Παιδαγωγικό Ινστιτούτο Κύπρου:
http://www.pi.ac.cy/pi/index.php?lang=el
) (CPI), according to a council of ministers decision (August 2015), is the official department of the education ministry which runs teachers’ professional learning. It offers a variety of free-of-charge training programmes that are repetitive and compulsory for teachers, mainly because they are provided by the education laws or their service plans or because these programmes are developed with reference to the current needs and the context of schools.

For example, the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute provides compulsory courses for newly appointed VET head teachers and deputy head teachers. These courses are offered once a week, during a school year, from October to May.

In addition, the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute in collaboration with the directorate of secondary technical and vocational education offers training programmes on various subjects of the curricula to all teachers. Optional seminars on instruction and pedagogy are also offered by the institute during the afternoons and they are open and free for all teachers.

Based on the new decision of the council of ministers (July 2017) emphasis is given on schools-based professional learning which is closely related to the annual school improvement plan.

The technical schools have the opportunity to receive systematic support from the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute on an annual basis. At the beginning of the school year, schools are expected to utilise a needs assessment procedure in order to define their specific needs and target a single priority theme. Then, according to their needs, each school has to organise its own training programme for the teachers, making use of plethora of training programmes offered by the Institute or elsewhere. Based on its training, each school designed its own action plan.

Some technical schools participated in this programme of systematic support from the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute and followed the methodology of action research as well as other methodologies for teachers’ professional learning, like lesson studies or teachers’ rounds. Teacher rounds is a collaborative form of lesson planning, peer observation and occurs in the classroom, in real-time. It entails intentional reflection, observation, inquiry and collaboration. Every member of the group of teachers are reflective partners and take-away something from the lesson.

At the same time, a legislative framework for professional learning at an individual level is currently being discussed in the negotiations on the new teachers’ evaluation framework.

For trainers of vocational training, the Human Resource Development Authority offers programmes through the multi-company training programmes scheme to prepare trainers for assessment and certification or further enhance their training skills in ad hoc subjects.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers([23]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The assessment of skill needs is operated by the Human Resource Development Authority. The finance ministry provides projections for the growth of the economy. The education ministry is responsible for the identification of educational and special skill needs.

For the systematic employment forecasting and the identification of skills gaps, the Human Resource Development Authority conducts the following research studies:

  • long-term employment trends and forecasting in Cyprus.

The Human Resource Development Authority provides 10-year employment forecasts on a regular basis every two to three years. The latest study of employment forecasts for Cyprus was completed in 2017, covers the period 2017-27 and provides forecasts for employment needs in all economic sectors (three broad sectors, 21 main sectors and 52 sectors) and in all occupations, 309 in total (173 high level occupations, 130 middle level occupations and 6 low level occupations), covering the whole spectrum of the Cyprus labour market ([24]Human Resource Development Authority (2017a). Προβλέψεις Απασχόλησης στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2017-27 [Forecasts of employment needs in the Cyprus economy 2017-27]. http://www.anad.org.cy/easyconsole.cfm/page/project/p_id/404);

This study provides annual estimates for the number of persons needed for specific occupations and the needs for specific skills. On the basis of these estimates, suggestions are put forward for the implementation of training programmes. In the study, the views of enterprises, social partners and other stakeholders are collected and analysed through specially designed questionnaires;

  • studies on specific sectors.

There are two recent such studies. The first one is the Identification of blue skills in the Cyprus economy, a study which examines and analyses the blue economy and blue occupations, maps out the blue economy of Cyprus and identifies blue skill needs in the Cyprus economy for the period 2016-26 ([26]Human Resource Development Authority (2016). Εντοπισμός Αναγκών σε Γαλάζιες Δεξιότητες στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2016-2026 [Identification of blue skill needs in the Cyprus economy 2016-26 ].
http://www.anad.org.cy/easyconsole.cfm/page/project/p_id/311
). It provides forecasts for employment demand in economic sectors and occupations which are part of the blue economy. The second one is the Identification of green skill needs in the Cyprus economy ([27]Human Resource Development Authority (2018). Εντοπισμός Αναγκών σε Πράσινες Δεξιότητες στην Κυπριακή Οικονομία 2017-2027 [Identification of green skill needs in the Cyprus economy 2017-27]. http://www.anad.org.cy/easyconsole.cfm/page/project/p_id/471). This study examines and analyses the green economy and green occupations, mapping out the green economy of Cyprus and identifying green skill needs in the Cyprus economy for the period 2017-27;

  • the finance ministry, provides projections for the growth of the economy, which include forecasts of value added, productivity and employment, and submits proposals for the required policy changes.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([28]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([29]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

In Cyprus until recently there has been relatively limited implementation of frameworks and mechanisms regarding the transparency of qualifications and systems for the recognition of competences and qualifications so the development of a competence-based system is a high priority. The system of vocational qualifications is in place for the assessment of the competence of a person to carry out a specific job in real or/and simulated working conditions.

The system of vocational qualifications is designed for the assessment and certification of the competence of a person to carry out a specific job in real or/and simulated working conditions. The system of vocational qualifications is based on Vocational Qualifications Standards (VQS) developed by the Human Resource Development Authority. The vocational qualifications standards define the tasks and the required knowledge, skills and competences for each vocational qualification. At the same time, the vocational qualifications standards define the framework for the training and development of the candidates to be prepared for a successful assessment, in order to obtain the certification of their vocational qualifications. The system of vocational qualifications developed by the Human Resource Development Authority is integrated, at levels 2 to 7, within the Cyprus qualifications framework.

The standards that are developed are discussed by technical committees of vocational qualifications and approved by the board of directors of the Human Resource Development Authority.

To date, seventy two vocational qualifications have been developed by the Human Resource Development Authority with the contribution of technical committees comprising representatives of industry, employers and workers and education and training institutions.

The system of vocational qualifications has adopted the four phases of the validation procedure according to the European Recommendation on Validation of non-Formal and Informal Learning ([30]Council of the European Union (2012). Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning. Official Journal of the European Union, C 398, 22.12.2012, pp. 1-5.).

The description of the four phases follows:

  • Identification

Identification involves the determination of the learning outcomes gained through formal, non-formal and informal learning. The identification takes place in approved by Human Resource Development Authority the Centres for Assessment of Vocational Qualifications (CAVQ).

At first, information is provided to the candidates about the system of vocational qualifications requirements. The identification arises from an interview in which the centres for assessment of vocational qualifications obtains information from the candidates related to their education and work experience, in particular to the learning outcomes. Then the candidates are advised to choose a specific qualification standard according to their knowledge, skills and competence. The results of this phase are written down in the identification and documentation report.

  • Documentation

Documentation entails sufficient proof of the knowledge, skills and competences, which have been identified during the previous phase. The candidates submit to the centres for assessment of vocational qualifications any relevant documents proving the acquisition of the learning outcomes through formal, non-formal and informal learning. i.e. educational and vocational qualifications, employment experience confirmation, social insurance statements. The results of this phase are described in the identification and documentation report.

If the candidates decide to proceed with the assessment in order to acquire the certificate of vocational qualification they have to fill in and sign the application form. The application form should be accompanied by the identification and documentation report and all the relevant documents.

When a group of up to three candidates is formed the director/manager of centres for assessment of vocational qualifications submits to the Human Resource Development Authority for approval the application forms attached with the identification and documentation report and the relevant documents.

  • Assessment

The Human Resource Development Authority approves the candidates’ applications, provided they are compatible with the criteria of the system of vocational qualifications. In this case, the candidates can proceed for assessment.

The assessment of learning outcomes is carried out by two approved assessors for every team of up to three candidates, in two to five meetings, of three-hour duration each, in an approved centre for the assessment of vocational qualifications. The centres for assessment of vocational qualifications may be public or private training centres, which are certified by the Human Resource Development Authority as vocational training centres and have certified training facilities.

The assessment is based on the vocational qualification standard and the main assessment method is the observation of candidates in real or simulated working conditions. The assessment of vocational qualifications may also include, depending on each standard, interview, oral exam, written exam and project. The results of the assessment are depicted on the report of candidate’s assessment.

The assessors are independent experts, certified trainers and should comply with specific academic and professional criteria. The assessors are trained by the Human Resource Development Authority and sign a contract regarding the terms of reference as assessors of the system of vocational qualifications.

As far as the quality assurance is concerned, every centre for the assessment of vocational qualifications is obliged to carry out at least one internal audit during each team’s assessment, to provide internal quality assurance for each assessment. Additionally, each assessment is externally verified through an on the spot visit by an independent verifier authorised by Human Resource Development Authority. The results of the checks’ verifications are depicted in separate reports.

  • Certification

Candidates’ assessment reports are submitted to Human Resource Development Authority, which validates the results of the assessments. Τhe successful assessment of the candidates in all task areas constituting the vocational qualification standard and all methods of assessment is the necessary condition for the certification of the candidates.

The Human Resource Development Authority being the awarding body approves the assessment through the relevant documentation and proceeds to the certification of the candidate. If a candidate has succeeded in only a part of the qualification task areas, an affirmation (partial certification) is provided only for these task areas. In these cases, the candidate is given the opportunity of reassessment in the failed tasks and/or methods of assessment.

Also accredited vocational training centres offer training programmes which are based on the vocational qualifications standards and prepare participants for assessment and certification.

The council of ministers on 18 May 2017 ([31]Decision No 82.592.) approved the establishment of the national qualifications authority, with the powers to further enhance the quality assurance systems in education and training, to monitor and integrate the scheme for the validation of non-formal and informal learning in the Cyprus qualifications framework after its completion, to monitor the Cyprus qualifications framework/European qualifications framework levels on the certificates, diplomas and Europass documents, to further strengthen the legal aspect of the Cyprus qualifications framework and to develop a registry for the Cyprus qualifications framework:

  • for the secondary VET (IVET) ([32]It does not apply in the case of preparatory apprenticeship.) the respective inspector of each field of study ([33]The term ‘field of study’ (κλάδος) is broader than the term ‘specialisation’ (ειδικότητα), as it includes several specialisations.
    In these terms the field of study ‘mechanical engineering’ includes four specialisations: ‘mechanical engineering’, ‘vehicle technology’, ‘building services engineering’, and ‘natural gas transmission and distribution’.
    ) is responsible for the proper implementation of the IVET curricula and ensures that the teaching material is adequately covered by using effective teaching methods. The constant assessment of the progress of learners, alongside with a final examination are instrumental for the evaluation of an educator’s work;
  • for tertiary education there are two bodies responsible for Quality assurance, one is the Cyprus council for the recognition of higher education qualifications, an independent body responsible for the recognition of diplomas awarded by higher education institutions and the other is the Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education ([34]Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA) was established on the basis of the ‘Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Higher Education and the Establishment and Operation of an Agency on Related Matters Law, of 2015,’ and is responsible is to ensure the quality of higher education in Cyprus and to support, through the procedures provided by the relevant legislation for the continuous improvement and upgrading of higher education institutions and their programs of study. More information available at: http://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/en/cyqaa), an independent body responsible for the external evaluation and accreditation of all higher education institutions;
  • for continuing VET (CVET) the body responsible is the Human Resource Development Authority. Quality is assured by checking the programmes that a training provider wishes to implement and by accreditation of these providers (a vocational training centre status is granted). Also, accreditation of vocational training facilities and trainers for vocational training (system of vocational qualifications/Cyprus qualifications framework/European qualifications framework level 5) is granted after appropriate qualitative assessment.

In 2013, the education ministry set up an interdepartmental committee with the task to develop and monitor the implementation of a comprehensive action plan for the validation of non-formal and informal learning, in line with the Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (2012/C 398/01). The action plan was successfully developed.

The council of ministers on 18 May 2017 ([35]Decision No 82.592.) approved the establishment of the national qualifications authority, with the powers to further enhance the quality assurance systems in education and training, to monitor and integrate the scheme for the validation of non-formal and informal learning in the Cyprus qualifications framework after its completion, to monitor the Cyprus qualifications framework/European qualifications framework levels on the certificates, diplomas and Europass documents, to further strengthen the legal aspect of the Cyprus qualifications framework and to develop a registry for the Cyprus qualifications framework.

The education ministry coordinates the implementation of the project ‘Establishing a mechanism for the validation of non-formal and informal learning’. The project is co-funded by the European social fund and the Republic of Cyprus.

This project has supported a mapping study of the current situation in Cyprus regarding the validation of non-formal and informal learning. Based on the results of the study, an overall national action plan for the establishment of mechanisms for the validation of non-formal and informal learning in Cyprus was developed in early 2018. This was put into public consultation in May 2018. In October 2018, the council of ministers, with Decision No 85.959, dated 16 October 2018, approved the national action plan, which foresees setting up a validation mechanism and its pilot implementation. The first results from the pilot operation of the mechanism in the fields of adult education, youth and volunteering are estimated to be available at the end of 2019.

In the system of vocational qualifications a validation procedure consisted of four phaseshas been developed. The procedure is aligned with the European Recommendation on Validation of non-formal and informal learning ([36]Council Recommendation 2012/C398/01.).

The four phases are:

  • identification: at this stage the learning outcomes gained through formal, non-formal and informal learning are determined. The identification takes place in approved by Human Resource Development Authority centres for assessment of vocational qualifications. As first step information on the system of vocational qualifications is provided to the candidate and through an interview they are advised to choose a specific qualification standard, relevant to their set of knowledge, skills, competence. The results of this phase are described in the identification and documentation report;
  • documentation: This phase entails sufficient proof of the previously identified knowledge, skills, competence. The results are recorded in the identification and documentation report. If the candidates decide to proceed with the assessment in order to acquire the certificate of the vocational qualification they have to fill and sign an application form. When a group of three candidates is formed the director/manager of the centre for assessment of vocational qualifications submits the application forms and all paperwork to the Human Resource Development Authority for approval;
  • assessment: if the Human Resource Development Authority approves the applications which are examined against the criteria of the system of vocational qualifications the candidates may proceed with assessment. This is carried out by two approved assessors in 2 to 5 meetings and is based on the relevant vocational qualification standard. The results are depicted in the assessment report. The assessors are trained by Human Resource Development Authority;
  • certification. The assessment reports are submitted to Human Resource Development Authority, the results are validated, and full or partial certification is given.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([37]https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_CY.pdf)

Allowances, meals and travel subsidy

  • the provision of secondary technical vocational education including evening technical education, the apprenticeship system and public tertiary vocational education are free of charge;

Study leave for employees

  • educational leave schemes, which are applied in the public sector in Cyprus, provide public-sector employees with the opportunity to take educational leave for studies which are relevant to their job provided that they are awarded a scholarship from, through or with the approval of the government or any other authority approved by the Council of Ministers;
  • in some sectors, leave of absence for education and training purposes is included in the collective agreements, thereby ensuring a certain level of education and training. Such sectors are the hotel industry, banking sector, cabinet making and carpentry industry and private clinics.

Incentives for the unemployed

The VET programmes for adults which are implemented by public and private institutions, are provided free of charge and participants receive training allowances which are paid by the Human Resource Development Authority. The amount of the allowance varies depending on the programme.

The financing provided by the European social fund has played an important role in the promotion of participation due to the increased level of funds available which led to the introduction of new training programmes. Many training programmes that are co-financed by the European social fund are addressed to the unemployed and groups at risk of exclusion from the labour market.

Wage subsidy and training remuneration

The funds of the Human Resource Development Authority come from the human resource development levy of 0.5% on the payroll of employers excluding the government.

Enterprises are directly involved in vocational training for adults and prepare and submit training programmes to the Human Resource Development Authority on a continuous basis. In general, the subsidisation covers 80% of the eligible total costs. The Human Resource Development Authority provides subsidies to the employers. In the case of single-company initial and continuing training programmes ([40]The single-company training programmes in Cyprus provide incentives to employers to design and organise in-company training programmes, implemented by internal or external trainers, to meet the specific needs of the enterprise for the effective utilisation of its personnel. The single-company training programmes abroad provide incentives employers to participate with their personnel in training programmes abroad to transfer specialised knowledge and skills in areas related to the introduction of innovation, new technology and technical know-how;), eligible costs include the cost of trainers, the personnel cost for trainees, administrative expenses and cost of training materials.

As regards the multi-company continuing training programmes ([41]The training programmes are implemented by accredited vocational training centres, at accredited vocational training facilities by certified trainers of vocational training. The programmes are subsidised by the Human Resource Development authority:
- multi-company training programmes provide continuing training for meeting the training needs of employed and unemployed persons through their participation in training programmes implemented by public or private training institutions and organisations. They cover a broad range of issues in all operations of the enterprise and in all occupations;
- high-priority multi-company training programmes provide continuing training to meet the training needs of employed persons through their participation in training programmes in specific high-priority issues.
Employees from different companies attend these programmes.
), the Human Resource Development Authority provides the subsidies directly to the training providers and the employer covers the remaining cost.

Enhancing the provision of guidance and counselling services to all population groups is a policy priority for Cyprus. The main bodies delivering guidance and counselling in Cyprus are the Counselling and Career Education Service (CCES) of the education ministry, the employment service, and the Euroguidance centre Cyprus of the labour ministry, the Human Resource Development Authority, the youth board of Cyprus and certain private organisations. Guidance is provided to students in secondary and tertiary education, to both the unemployed and employed as well as to the economically inactive.

An important development with regard to guidance was the establishment in March 2012 of the national forum on lifelong guidance, which was a basic step in the upgrading of all guidance and counselling services in Cyprus. Its mission is to act as an advisory body to the government policy makers in the field of lifelong guidance. All major stakeholders, such as the education ministry, the labour ministry, the Human Resource Development Authority the youth board of Cyprus and the social partners are represented in the Forum.

Guidance and counselling for students is provided mainly by the education ministry, the Euroguidance centre in Cyprus of the labour ministry, the Human Resource Development Authority and the youth board of Cyprus.

The counselling service provides counselling to students which aims at the development of their personal awareness related to their needs, interests, abilities, and skills. In this way they can take informed decisions about their personal lives, education and careers.

The whole process of achieving personal awareness is facilitated through educational and vocational guidance/counselling throughout upper secondary education. In addition, to become acquainted with the world of work, the students have the opportunity to attend presentations given by professionals in different fields and visit workplaces. Each school organises career days where professionals and staff from higher education institutions give lectures to students. Personal and group counselling, administration and analysis of psychometric tests along with presentations to classes of all levels, are provided to students by qualified guidance school counsellors. Also, school counsellors give lectures to parents to inform them about the educational options of their children.

The counsellors have undergone post-graduate education in counselling and/or career education/guidance. They are placed in schools of secondary education as well as at the central and regional offices of the counselling service offices of the education ministry. The counsellors at the central offices give support to the counsellors placed in schools and they are also responsible for many publications that address the needs of the counselling and career education service. They also provide counselling and career guidance services to the public.

An open school day, organised by the Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET), has been established to raise public awareness and increase initial VET attractiveness. During the open school day, students of the third year of lower secondary education and their parents are given the opportunity to visit a technical school of their choice and be guided by teachers and students to the various facilities of the school. Moreover, an exhibition of the students’ achievements is organised at each technical school, to further promote awareness of the career possibilities provided by initial VET programmes.

Additionally, students attending technical schools receive traineeships in the specialisation of their choice as part of their curriculum. Furthermore, the third year of studies in the practical direction of technical schools combines a school-based environment with a real workplace as final-year students are placed in industry for one day per week, where they follow a practical training programme.

Each year, the education ministry organises the international education fair where the students and other interested parties receive educational information about universities´ study programmes, entrance requirements, fees and scholarships. Over 200 higher education institutions and universities from 35 countries, as well as the national universities and colleges usually attend the fair.

The Cyprus guidance and counsellors association, member of the Organisation of secondary school teachers of Cyprus, also organises an annual careers fair and more than 150 organised professional bodies and organisations participate.

The British Council and the education USA, a USA Department of State network, with the participation of different universities and colleges from the UK and the USA respectively, also organise education fairs, to provide information to prospective students for further studies in these countries. In recent years, education fairs are also organised by institutions of other countries.

Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher professional

Programmes,

2-3 years

ISCED 554

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

18+

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

only for Cypriot and EU students and only in public institutions

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Each accredited two–year programme of study offered at the formerly known as post-secondary institutes (MIIEK) of VET awards 120 ECTS ([51]The formerly known as post-secondary institutes of VET (MIEEK), as public schools of higher VET (since 2017), offer two-year accredited programmes (European qualifications framework level 5), leading to the acquisition of a diploma of higher VET, which can be recognised by universities in the case of graduates who wish to pursue university studies in a relevant field. In Cyprus the standard formula used for each credit point per year is 25-30 of work load hours per credit point. The Cyprus law [Law 136 (Ι)/2015]) states that programmes should be designed according to the guidelines of ECTS and ECVET as they were declared in Ministerial meetings in the context of the European Higher Education Area. https://www.dipae.ac.cy/archeia/nomothesia/nomothesia_2015_peri_diasfalisis_pistopoiisis_poiotitas_anoteris_ekpaidefsis_el.pdf
Cyprus Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education issued a statement clarifying the number of hours per ECTS and the number of ECTS per programme. https://www.dipae.ac.cy/index.php/el/nea-ekdiloseis/anakoinoseis-el/102-2017-03-06-ects-2
).

The accredited programmes of study are the following ([52]Text in apostrophes refers to the specialisation fields.
):

  • 'bakery – confectionery'
  • 'computer and communication networks'
  • 'electromechanical and industrial refrigeration installations'
  • 'CNC technology – woodworking industry'
  • 'dairy technology – cheese making'
  • 'organic vegetable crops'
  • 'purchasing and supply management – shipping'
  • 'industrial and residential automation'
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • in-company practice
  • practical training at schools

In-company practice, i.e. work based learning (industrial placements) lasts for six weeks per academic year. Suitable enterprises and industrial units are selected on the basis that they have the capacity to provide learners with the necessary skills and competences required for their chosen programme of study.

Practical training at schools is provided at the workshops of the technical and vocational schools of education and training where the institutes operate.

Main providers

Department of Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (STVET)

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available ([53]There is work-based-learning enterprises as part of the programme however information on the share of work-based learning is not available .)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Information not available

Main target groups

Programmes are available for people (adults) with upper secondary level (EQF4) certificate (either from general education or VET). Higher education places are rather limited in Cyprus so many young Cypriots enrol to institutions abroad.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must hold an upper secondary level certificate (EQF4) (general education or VET).

Assessment of learning outcomes
  • semester, and often mid-term examinations;
  • workshop and laboratory assignments;
  • project work and industrial training are also assessed and taken into consideration when assigning final marks;
  • In addition to the course modules, participants may be expected to prepare and submit a final project.
Diplomas/certificates provided

Information not available

Examples of qualifications

Tourist guide, police chief constable, police commissioner, cook, graphic designer ([54]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or they can continue their studies at EQF level 6 (only in a specialisation relevant to their diploma).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 3

Apprenticeship

(Preparatory level),

1-2 years

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3 (Apprenticeship (preparatory level)) (Προπαρασκευαστική Μαθητεία)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

8

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

13

Usual completion age

16

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

It is considered IVET

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

Preparatory apprenticeship is not available to adults

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • work practice in enterprises
  • participation in workshops
Main providers

The main provider is the education ministry.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice
  • workshops
Main target groups

Young people aged 14-16 who have withdrawn from the formal education system.

They receive individual counselling according to their needs.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must be at least 14 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of preparatory apprenticeship students is a combination of their attendance and conduct record throughout the year, their individual project work throughout the year and their performance at final exams in Greek language and mathematics.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Preparatory Apprenticeship Certificate (Πιστοποιητικό Προπαρασκευαστικής Μαθητείας).

Preparatory Apprenticeship Certificate allows access to several regulated occupations (e.g. building contractor and electrician) provided that all other requirements of the relevant legislation are met.

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete preparatory apprenticeship can enrol to core apprenticeship (EQF 3) or continue their studies to EQF 4 (upper secondary technical and vocational education or upper secondary general education) provided they succeed in a special set of exams.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

General education programmes constitute the main part of this programme, since learners attending preparatory apprenticeship are taught maths, modern Greek, English, computers, music, theatre, art, physical education and technology.

Key competences

Y

Numeracy skills (maths), mother tongue (Greek language), digital skills

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available ([44]In the academic year 2018/19 about 71 learners were enrolled onto preparatory apprenticeship. However, this number is not included in VET statistics.)

EQF 3

Apprenticeship

(Core-level),

WBL ca. 70%,

3 years

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, apprenticeship (core-level) (Νέα Μαθητεία)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

N

Maximum completion age is 21 (however adults cannot enrol into core apprenticeship).

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning
  • apprenticeships
  • work practice
Main providers
  • schools
  • enterprises
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for early leavers from education (i.e. young people, including adults, up to the age of 18 years old, who have either completed a lower secondary program (EQF2) or preparatory apprenticeship or dropped out of upper secondary programmes.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must be between 15-18 years old to enrol.

  • minimum age: 15
  • maximum age: 18
  • previously acquired qualification/education level: lower secondary education leaving certificate ([45]In Greek: Απολυτήριο Γυμνασίου.) or Preparatory Apprenticeship Certificate ([46]In Greek: Πιστοποιητικό Προπαρασκευαστικής Μαθητείας.)
Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment of apprentices for the theoretical training they receive in technical schools follows the rules of the education system with regular tests and final examinations. During the practical training, apprentices are assessed by their supervisors and their grades appear on the apprenticeship certificate (EQF level 3).

Diplomas/certificates provided

Apprenticeship certificate (Πιστοποιητικό Μαθητείας)

It allows access to several regulated occupations (e.g. building contractor and electrician) provided that all other requirements of the relevant legislation are met.

Examples of qualifications

Currently, the apprenticeship system in Cyprus offers the following specialisations ([47]Text in apostrophes refers to the names of specialisations in the national context.
):

  • 'car mechanics'
  • 'plumbing/central heating'
  • 'welding/metal constructions'
  • 'bakery/confectionery'
  • 'carpentry/furniture making'
  • 'electrical installations'
  • 'home appliances technicians'
Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 4 (only in evening schools which they can complete in two years instead of four).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

2.6% ([48]The data is for the 2018/19 school year and it’s the share of VET learners enrolled in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners enrolled in upper secondary VET programmes)

EQF 4

School-based and

mainly school-based programmes,

incl. WBL,

3 years

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Μέση Δευτεροβάθμια τεχνική και επαγγελματική εκπαίδευση)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (4 for evening schools)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

The three year programmes offer, at limited fees, continuing education and training to employed or unemployed adults, to respond more efficiently to the contemporary demands of the labour market and achieve re-integration in the labour market in areas where there is shortage of skilled workers.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Information not applicable

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies)
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice)
Main providers
  • schools
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (for learners of the practical direction)
  • workshops at schools

For the theoretical direction, the percentage of general education subjects is 70%, while the percentage of technological and workshop subjects is 30%. For the practical direction, the percentage of general education subjects and the percentage of technological and workshop subjects is 50% respectively.

Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people but also for adutls.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must hold a lower secondary certificate (EQF2) or a new apprenticeship certificate, or pass special exams (for learners of the preparatory apprenticeship (EQF2).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The criteria used to assess students include class participation, workshop and laboratory work, written assignments, projects, tests and a final examination.

Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificates (απολυτήρια) are awarded upon successful completion and also provide access to regulated occupations, provided that all other requirements of the relevant legislation are met.

Examples of qualifications

Beautician, hairdresser, bartender ([49]As described in ILO: international standard classification of occupations: ISCO 08. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete VET can enter the labour market or continue their studies at EQF level 5 and EQF level 6.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

Both two directions, theoretical (θεωρητική) and practical (πρακτική), of formal upper secondary VET combine general education subjects with technological and workshop subjects.

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

96.0% ([50]The data is for the 2018/19 school year and it’s the share of VET learners enrolled in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners enrolled in Upper Secondary VET programmes.
)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available

General themes

VET in Croatia comprises the following main features:

Distinctive features ([4]Adopted from: Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Croatia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8108_en.pdf
):

VET in Croatia has two main roles. Alongside preparation for labour market entry, it enables progression to tertiary education, primarily through four-year VET programmes, where learners spend approximately half of their time acquiring general competences. Almost 80% of four-year VET graduates take matura exams and around 60% of VET graduates continue to higher education.

The level of participation in VET at upper secondary level is one of the highest in the EU (69.6 % compared to the EU average of 47.8 % in 2017). Work based learning is present in all forms of VET, while work placements are present mostly in apprenticeship programmes.

Croatia has the lowest rate of early school leaving in the EU (3.3 % in 2018, compared to the EU average of 10.6 %) and has already met its Europe 2020 national target of 4%.

Support services are available for learners at all VET schools. Legislation requires schools to employ either a psychologist or a specialist in pedagogy, who monitors teaching and learning processes and oversees extra-curricular activities. Most schools employ both types of support staff. Some have other professionals that help learners address learning difficulties.

Self-assessment at VET schools is part of the quality assurance system, which has been developed in line with the EQAVET. Systematic collection of information and follow-up of quality improvement processes at VET schools is possible thanks to the comprehensive online tool e-Kvaliteta. The tool also allows comparison between schools.

The education ministry and Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education ASOO are continuing with the VET curriculum reform that begun in 2008 with the introduction of the first unit-based and credit-rated qualifications and learning-outcomes-oriented modular curricula. New curricula are based on occupational and qualifications standards developed in cooperation with employers. The system for recognition of prior learning/validation of non-formal and informal learning is being prepared.

Determined VET reform efforts are necessary to update curricula in order to be more relevant to labour market needs. The share of work-based learning and its quality needs to be increased. More effort will be placed on widening VET reform with the support of EU structural funds in 2014-20. Special emphasis will be put on curriculum reform, the development of sectoral and VET curricula, and improving work-based learning in all types of VET. The VET system development programme 2016-20, adopted in September 2016, addresses these issues with measures, which, among others, aim to align VET with labour market needs, develop new curricula and strengthen the work-based learning model.

Youth unemployment has been gradually decreasing (23.8% in 2018 among 15 to 24 year-olds), as well as the share of youth (aged 15 to 24) neither in employment nor in education and training (NEET) to 13.6% in 2018. Youth guarantee schemes are expected to help young people get into employment, apprenticeship, traineeship or get the chance to continue their education or training within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed. Both the education, science and technology strategy (October, 2014) and the VET system development programme 2016-20 aim to improve the skills and competences of Croatia's citizens and the country’s economic competitiveness.

Participation in adult learning/continuing training was 2.9% in 2018, among the lowest in the EU. There are incentives for entrepreneurs in the form of tax deductions of up to 60% of adult education and training costs (80% for small and medium-sized enterprises).

However, uptake by companies is low, due to lack of awareness and the complexity of administrative procedures involved. New measures to address these issues are foreseen in the EU Structural Funds operational programmes for 2014-20.

Data from VET in Croatia Spotlight 2016 ([5]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Croatia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8108_en.pdf
), updated in May 2018.

Population in 2018: 4 105 493 ([6]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased by 3.7% since 2013 due to negative natural growth and emigration that has been steadily intensifying since Croatia joined the EU in 2013 ([7]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing. The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 28 in 2015 to 54 in 2060.

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unfavourable demographic trends combined with obsolete enrolment principles, higher educational aspirations of learners and parents and the deterioration of crafts and industry sectors has made a big impact on enrolment in three-year VET upper secondary programmes. The increased economic migration in the period that followed accession to the EU also contributed to this trend. Overall decrease in the number of learners at upper secondary level has been reflected in a sharp decline in enrolment rates in three-year VET programmes over the past years. Specifically, the number of students finishing three-year programmes has fallen from 21 000 in 1998 to 9 965 in 2017, declining as a share of upper secondary education graduates from 40% to 22%.

There is only a small number of VET providers that offer education in minority languages (9 institutions, 618 enrolled students). Language options include Serbian and Italian, followed by Hungarian, and VET providers are located in regions with higher representation of minority communities.

In 2016, the number of small and medium enterprises equalled 92% of all SMEs registered in 2008.

SMEs’ contribution to the Croatian ‘non-financial business economy’ is of key importance. In 2017, 60.8% of overall value added and 68.1% of employment is generated by SMEs, exceeding the respective EU averages of 56.8% and 66.4%.

In 2017, the positive trend in business registrations that started in 2016 continued. 16 759 businesses were registered, 8.3% more than in 2013. SMEs are concentrated in major urban centres (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek) and the surrounding areas.

According to total revenues, the leading industrial branches are the production of food, drinks and tobacco, chemical and oil industries.

Tourism is an important driver of the economy and generates strong multiplying effects spilling over to other economic fields. The total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP is of 25.0% for the year 2017, which grew to 25.1% of GDP until October 2018 and is expected to increase by 3.3% until the end of 2018. The prediction the World Travel and Tourism Council makes for 2028 is that tourism will constitute 31.7% of the Croatian GDP.

The Operational program ESF Efficient Human Resources 2014 - 2020 identified five priority areas in VET: tourism and hospitality, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and ICT, health care and agriculture.

Besides a fair number of regulated professions, the labour market is flexible to some extent.

Regulated professions extend over a range of sectors relevant to VET, including occupations in crafts and trades, medical care, tourism, transportation, etc.

The list of regulated professions is published by the Ministry of Labour: https://mrms.gov.hr/UserDocsImages/dokumenti/Uprava%20za%20tr%c5%bei%c5%a1te%20rada/Popis%20reguliranih%20profesija%20u%20Republici%20Hrvatskoj_3.1.2019.pdf 

Total unemployment ([8]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 7.1% (6.0% in EU28); it increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([9]Eurostat, une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 0-2 and 5-8, age 15-24.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The figure above shows unemployment rate is significantly higher among young people (aged 15-24) then among those aged 25-64 and it is distributed unevenly between those with low and high-level qualifications.

Since 2013, for the 25-64 age group, the gap has increased, with unemployment rate steadily decreasing for the unskilled workers (11.4%) and still high in comparison to those with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (7.2%) and to those with tertiary education (5.7%) in 2018.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old VET graduates increased from 67.9% in 2014 to 77.7% in 2018 ([10]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (+9.8 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+8.0 pp) in the same period in Croatia ([11]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

In 2018, 14.9% of population (aged 25-64) in Croatia attained lower education level (ISCED 0-2), 59.7% attained medium education level (ISCED 3-4) and 25.4% attained tertiary education (ISCED 5-8).

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

10.3%

69.6%

Not applicable

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

At tertiary level, 29% of higher education students attended professional programmes in 2017 ([12]Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrt02 [extracted 21.5.2019].).

In 2017, there were 55% male students enrolled in initial VET, against 45% female students ([13]Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs05 [extracted 21.5.2019].).

Male students are more represented in 3-year industrial programmes in IVET, whereas female students are more represented in 5-year programme for general care nurses.

Croatia traditionally has very low rate of early school leaving, 3.3% in 2018. It is significantly lower than 10.6%, the EU28 average.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series;
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en
[accessed 14.11.2018].

 

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The share of adults participating in training programmes in 2018 remains among the lowest in the EU (2.9%) and significantly below the EU-28 average (11.1%).

The national target for participation in lifelong learning is set at 5% by 2020 ([14]The Strategy for Science, Education and Technology from 2014.).

In general, all IVET learners are under 19 years old, with some exceptions, such as students with disabilities.

The majority of CVET learners are in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups. The available data on IVET and CVET learners by age is not comparable.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED level 2) (hereafter basic education);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • tertiary education (ISCED levels 5, 6, 7 and 8).

Early and preschool education is offered from very early age of six months and is provided at childcare institutions (dječji vrtići). One-year pre-school education is compulsory before enrolling into primary education.

Primary end lower secondary education is integrated and lasts eight years; typically from age 6 to 15, the latest till 21 for special education needs learners.

Upper secondary education includes four-year general education gymnasium programmes, art education and initial VET programmes that might last from one to five years.

VET specialist development programmes (strukovno specijalističko usavršavanje i osposobljavanje) are envisaged as further education programmes (specialization) at the post-secondary level (CROQF/EQF 5, 120 ECVET/ECTS) for learners who completed VET programmes at secondary level (at least CROQF/EQF 4.1. or higher). Up to the present moment, these programmes have not been developed, nor delivered by VET providers in Croatia.

Access to tertiary education is ensured through achieving adequate results in State matura (exams) (državna matura) for general education, art education and four-year programmes VET graduates. The majority of the three-year VET programmes are offered as apprenticeship and lead to labour market. Graduates can enter an optional one-to two-year bridge programme, and if successful, take matura exams to qualify for tertiary education. In order to enrol into higher education, VET graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes. The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only, as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (advanced) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently.

Professional higher education is offered at polytechnics in the form of short-cycle undergraduate programmes (ISCED 5), professional undergraduate programmes (ISCED 6) and graduate professional specialists programmes (ISCED 7).

Initial and continuous VET is offered. The majority of initial VET programmes are three-year or four-year programmes leading to formal upper secondary VET qualifications. These programmes might be delivered as:

  • apprenticeships (alternation schemes);
  • school-based, with training periods at employers;
  • dual education programmes (in experimental phase since 2018/19 school year in four occupations only).

Delivery modes of upper secondary IVET programmes

IVET programmes

Delivery modes offered

 

Apprenticeship programmes

School-based VET with periods of training at the workplace

Dual education programmes)

Three-year VET programmes for crafts (WBL performed through practical training in licenced crafts and/or legal entities and school workshops)

x

   

Three-year VET programmes for industry and related education programmes (WBL is performed through practical training in school workshops, in the workplace and in school laboratories, and through professional practice performed in the workplace (included in most programmes))

 

x

x

Four-year VET programmes (WBL is performed through practical training in school workshops and laboratories and through professional practice performed in the workplace (included in most programmes))

 

x

x

Five-year VET programme – general care nurse (WBL is performed through training in school facilities, laboratories and clinical training)

 

x

 

Source: Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education.

IVET at upper secondary level lead to VET qualifications at levels 3 and 4 that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF). There is an offer of one-to two-year VET programmes leading to levels 3, but these are minor pathways, for less than 1% of upper secondary learners. There is one five-year programme only (general care nurse) with the implementation mode different from other programmes (two-year general education training and three-year VET programme)

Four-year VET programmes combines general and vocational education on average in the same shares. Therefore, they have good progression opportunities to tertiary education if learners successfully pass the matura exams that are entrance exams.

Most three-year programmes are delivered as apprenticeships leading to labour market. Graduates who want to progress to tertiary education will take one-to two-year bridging programme that will allow them to take matura exams.

Professional education and training programmes at tertiary non-university level are not considered VET.

Non-formal continuing VET is part of adult learning regulated by the Adult Education Act ([15]Zakon o obrazovanju odraslih (NN 17/07, 107/07, 24/10):
https://www.zakon.hr/z/384/Zakon-o-obrazovanju-odraslih
).

Currently, there are two types of apprenticeship programmes in Croatia:

  • Unified Model of Education (Jedinstveni model obrazovanja, JMO);
  • experimental dual education programme based on the Model of Croatian Dual Education.

Unified Model of Education (Jedinstveni model obrazovanja, JMO)

As of school year 2004/05, the apprenticeship scheme is implemented in three-year initial VET programmes for crafts and trades, also known as the Unified Model of Education (Jedinstveni model obrazovanja, JMO).

Previously, programmes in dual education were introduced in the school year 1995/96. Their main characteristic was the separation of the general education from the vocational theoretical and practical education. In consequence, students were issued two certificates: one for general education and the other for vocational education. Due to the complexity, dual education programmes were replaced by the Unified Model of Education (JMO).

JMO programmes consist of two parts - general education part and apprenticeship. Apprenticeship consists of professional-theoretical part and practical training and exercises. The share of work-based learning at apprenticeship providers is about 60% of the programme.

Apprenticeship providers are normally business entities such as craft business workshops or trade associations, institutions or cooperatives, licenced to offer practical training and exercises for apprentices. In order to get the licence, apprenticeship providers must ensure conditions for students to acquire competencies in the real work environment, including a student mentor with adequate qualifications and pedagogical competences.

The student in JMO programme has the status of regular student and apprentice in craft. Entry requirements include completed primary education, demonstrated medical fitness for particular profession, as well as placement and apprenticeship contract with a licenced apprenticeship provider.

The apprenticeship contract in writing is concluded between the apprenticeship provider and the student or his/her parents or guardian if the student is not of legal age. It is not a contract of employment. The apprenticeship contract also prescribes the obligation to pay monthly awards to the student.

JMO programmes end with formal qualification at EQF level 4, ISCED 353. Students finish their education with the preparation and the presentation of the final practical assignment and their school issues a certificate of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu). After successful completion of JMO programmes students also take journeyman exams (pomoćnički ispit). The main destination of graduates is the labour market. As of 2014, graduates from three-year VET programmes can enter an optional one- to two-year bridge programme and, if successful in gaining a second VET qualification, can also take matura exams to access higher education. JMO graduates can also apply for the master craftsman exam after two to three years of work experience in the field.

Various stakeholders are involved in the implementation of JMO programmes. The Ministry of Science and Education has the overall responsibility. It also decides on enrolment quotas, approves VET curricula and adopts the programmes with prior consent of the ministry in charge of crafts. The ministry responsible for crafts shares the responsibility with the ministry in charge of education. It defines and supervises the licencing procedure for apprenticeship providers, maintains the database of licensed crafts, sets minimum conditions for apprenticeship contracts and keeps record of the contracts; it also defines the method and process of the journeyman exams and issues journeyman certificates. The Agency for VET and Adult Education is responsible for organising journeyman exams. The chamber of trades and crafts issues licenses to apprenticeship providers and publishes lists of licenced apprenticeship providers. Apprenticeship providers offer practical training and exercises to students. VET schools enrol students in JMO programmes, implement the general, vocational theoretical part and a smaller part of the practical training of the programme, organise the preparation and presentation of the final practical assignment and issue certificates of completion.

In the school year 2018/19, 9 830 students were enrolled in 42 JMO programmes delivered by 100 VET providers, which equals 6.7% of all secondary school students, and 10.1% of all VET students. JMO programmes are facing a steady decline in participation, with the number and share of JMO students in all VET programmes decreasing by more than a half in the past 10 years. JMO programmes are offered in nine sectors: agriculture, food and veterinary medicine; forestry and wood technology; textiles and leather; mechanical engineering, shipbuilding and metallurgy; electrical engineering and computing; construction and geodesy; economy and trade; tourism and hospitality; and personal and other services. The most popular qualifications in 2018/19 were hairdresser, car mechanic, car mechatronic, cook and carpenter.

Experimental dual education programme based on the Model of Croatian Dual Education

In 2018, the Ministry of Science and Education (MoSE) launched the experimental dual education programme based on the document Model of Croatian Dual Education ([16]https://mzo.gov.hr/UserDocsImages//dokumenti/Obrazovanje/StrukovnoObrazovanje/ReformaStrukovnog/StrukovniKurikulum//Strukovni%20kurikulum%20za%20stjecanje%20kvalifikacije%20soboslikar%20li%C4%8Dilac%20dekorater%20prema%20modelu%20dualnog%20%20obrazovanja.pdf  
). The responsible institution for the implementation of the programme is MoSE, with other ministries, agencies, economic and crafts chambers, employers’ associations and with the support from partner institutions from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Key participants in dual education represent students, VET schools and business entities. The partnership of VET schools and business entities reflects in cooperation in planning and implementation of work-based learning, continuous professional development of VET teachers and mentors in business entities, exchange of new technologies and know-how, monitoring and assessment of students’ progress in work-based learning activities and the organisation of final exams. VET schools are responsible for teaching and learning activities in line with vocational curricula, planning work-based learning activities with business entities, preparing students for work-based learning, supporting and supervising mentors in business entities, etc. In the first year of the programme, work-based learning is mostly organised in VET schools, while in the following years, most work-based learning is undertaken in business entities. The entities are required to employ and provide training and continuous professional development to mentors, as well as to ensure quality assurance of work-based learning. Students sign contracts with business entities and are entitled to monthly allowance for the period of work-based learning undertaken in business entities. The experimental phase of the programme is planned to happen over two years, starting in the 2018/19 school year. It is conducted in four programmes at EQF level 4 (three-year programmes for sales assistant, glazier, chimney sweeper and 4-year programmes for beautician) in 11 VET schools. The programme is financed from the State Budget and from the Swiss-Croatian Cooperation Programme as part of the project Modernisation of VET Programmes.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

Please, see also Cedefop Thematic country review on apprenticeship in Croatia ([17]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4173
).

Although several governmental ministries have an influence on the development of VET for the sectors under their remit, the Ministry of Science and Education (Ministarstvo znanosti i obrazovanja) is responsible for the overall VET policy. As such, it monitors the overall compliance of the VET system with legislation and coordinates multiple executive agencies in the field of education.

Since mid-2000s, the government established several new agencies. Establishing Agency for VET in 2005 marked the beginning of profound reforms in VET. In 2010, VET and adult education agencies merged into Agency for VET and adult education (Agencija za strukovno obrazovanje i obrazovanje odraslih, ASOO) ([18]Act on Agency for VET and Adult Education (Zakon o Agenciji za strukovno obrazovanje i obrazovanje odraslih); Official Gazette No 24/2010.). As an executive body in charge of the overall development and organisation of the VET system, ASOO is responsible for the following:

  • development of VET programmes/curricula;
  • ensuring stakeholders involvement in VET;
  • supporting and follow-up the self-assessment of VET schools;
  • monitoring the work of VET and adult education institutions;
  • provision of advice and counselling services for VET and adult education institutions;
  • professional exams for new, and promotions for experienced VET teachers, offering continuous professional development opportunities for VET teachers;
  • foreign VET qualification recognition process;
  • organising national skills competitions..

Other stakeholders in VET are:

  • Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts (Ministarstvo gospodarstva, poduzetništva i obrta) defines conditions for taking learners into apprenticeship, issues apprenticeship exam certificates, oversees journeyman exam procedure, etc.;
  • Ministry of Labour and Pension System (Ministarstvo rada i mirovinskog sustava) is in charge of employment policies and labour market forecasting;
  • Council for VET (Vijeće za strukovno obrazovanje) consists of 21 members from various stakeholders. The role of this body is to coordinate activities of all stakeholders in VET, initiate the development of new curricula and revision of existing curricula, recommend new developments in VET, and to provide its assessment for the establishment of the network of regional centres of competence;
  • Adult Education Council (Vijeće za obrazovanje odraslih) is a counselling body of the government for monitoring and proposing improvements in adult education, issue opinions on legislative proposals and suggestions on financing of adult education;
  • Education and Teacher Training Agency (Agencija za odgoj i obrazovanje, AZOO) – responsible for development of general education part of VET curricula;
  • Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts issues licenses to apprenticeship providers and publishes lists of licenced apprenticeship providers. It is also a partner in the experimental programme in dual education, launched as of school year 2018/2019.
  • Croatian Chamber of Economy (Hrvatska gospodarska komora) is an independent organisation of all legal bodies performing business activities. The chamber advocates for the advancement of VET in Croatia and it is also a partner in the experimental programme in dual education, launched as of school year 2018/2019.
  • Croatian Employers' Association (Hrvatska udruga poslodavaca) is an independent organisation of all legal bodies performing business activities. Its tasks are to represent interests of members during the development of economic system, assess means and conditions of economic growth, improve the development of entrepreneurship, develop business relations with foreign partners, support innovation and development, etc.;
  • Industrial trade unions (six confederations of trade unions) are key stakeholders in social dialogue in Croatia who represent the position of Croatian labour force.

IVET providers are public and private secondary vocational schools that can be vocational or polyvalent (offer both gymnasium and VET programmes). The majority of schools are public, with the share of private VET schools of 4%. Local authorities are legal founders and owners of the public schools. Vocational schools can be technical, industrial, craft and others, based on the type of programmes and their duration (two-, three- (industrial and crafts schools), four- or five-year (technical schools)). Some VET schools offer programmes from a single education sector or subsector, such as health and medicine, economy, commerce, administration, forestry, carpentry, agriculture, veterinary medicine, maritime, traffic, aviation, hospitality, tourism, engineering, electrical engineering, construction, etc.

Based on new legislative provision in 2018 ([19]Amendments to the Vocational Education and Training Act (Zakon o izmjenama i dopunama Zakona o strukovnom obrazovanju); Official Gazette No 25/2018.), 25 schools from the sectors of tourism and hospitality, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and ICT, health care and agriculture have been chosen in the process of establishing the network of regional centres of competences.

Since 2001, the financing of public upper secondary VET schools has been decentralised.

The State budget finances:

  • salaries for teachers and other employees in education;
  • in-service training of teachers and other specialists;
  • education of at-risk groups (ethnic minorities, learners with special needs) and gifted learners;
  • transportation costs of learners;
  • teaching materials and equipment;
  • information and communication technology infrastructure and software for schools;
  • school libraries;
  • capital investments (buildings, infrastructure).

Local and regional governments cover:

  • costs related to school premises and equipment;
  • operating costs of secondary schools;
  • transportation costs of employees;
  • co-financing of food and lodging in learner residences;
  • capital investments (buildings, infrastructure) according to criteria determined by the Minister of Education ([20]Local authorities as the legal founders and owners of the schools can also be investors regarding buildings/infrastructure.).

If local/regional governments cannot ensure minimum funding, the centrally managed equalisation fund (Fond za izravnavanje) provides the deficit amount.

In 2015, the distribution of education expenditure ([21]Eurydice (2015). National sheets on education budgets in Europe 2015: facts and figures. See: Croatia education budget by type of expenditure and level of education 2015, p.22.
https://eurydice.org.pl/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/194EN.pdf
) indicates that the largest share (38.6%) of the education budget was spent on primary education (ISCED 1-2), while 14.0% was spent on pre-primary education (ISCED 0), 22.4% on secondary education (ISCED 3, both general and vocational) and 17.9% on higher education (ISCED 5-8).

In CVET, adult learners usually cover the expenses of the education programmes they attend. The exception are primary education programmes, which are free of charge for adults and financed by the Ministry of Science and Education. The public employment service as a part of ALMP covers for the education expenses of the unemployed, and some adult education programmes have recently been financed through different ESF-funded projects.

The foreseen reforms of IVET and CVET ([22]VET System Development Programme 2016-20.) strongly rely on EU structural funds.

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational teachers and trainers.

Teachers of general subjects, e.g. Mathematics, English, etc. are qualified according to general regulations on teachers set by education ministry. These require graduate university or professional studies, as well as pedagogical competencies.

Teachers and trainers in IVET and formal CVET([23]Vocational Education and Training Act (Zakon o strukovnom obrazovanju); Official Gazette No 30/2009.):

  • teachers of theoretical vocational subjects (nastavnik stručno-teorijskih sadržaja) require higher education (180 ECTS or more) and completed supplementary pedagogical-psychological education (60 ECTS) and other requirements according to the VET curriculum;
  • teachers of practical training and exercises (nastavnik praktične nastave i vježbi) require an undergraduate university or professional degree (180 ECTS or more), pedagogical competencies and holding a qualification of a required profile;
  • vocational teachers (strukovni učitelj) require a level of education defined by VET curriculum (at least a secondary vocational education of the corresponding profile) pedagogical competencies and at least five years of work experience in the appropriate profession;
  • teaching associate (suradnik u nastavi) requires a secondary education,pedagogical competencies and at least five years of work experience, unless regulated differently by the vocational curricula.

In three-year VET programmes (JMO), apprenticeships providers (crafts and legal entities) have to assign a mentor, usually a qualified staff member who accompanies apprentices during their work at employers. According to the legislation ([24]Crafts Act (Zakon o obrtu); Official Gazette No 143/2013. Regulations on minimum conditions for contracts on apprenticeship (2014).) and, mentors can be either:

  • master craftspersons;
  • persons who have the same rights as the persons who have passed the master craftsman’s exam and also have passed the exam that proves their basic knowledge on teaching;
  • persons with the appropriate high school qualification who have their trades and crafts businesses registered in the regions of particular national interest and have three years of experience in the profession for which they conduct apprenticeships, and have passed the exam that proves their basic knowledge on teaching;
  • persons who have the appropriate high school qualification and at least ten years of work experience in the profession for which they conduct apprenticeship, and have passed the exam that proves their basic knowledge on teaching ([25]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
    https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
    ).

In IVET schools, there are approximately 12 000 teachers, trainers and assistants. Due to difficulties in recruiting the appropriate teaching staff, caused by the lack of in-service training of VET teachers, a proportion of vocational subjects teaching is carried out by teachers not holding the required qualification.

The continuing professional development and in-service training of VET staff is mainly provided by the Agency for VET and Adult Education and is based on an annually updated catalogue for in-service training (Katalog stručnog usavršavanja). VET schools are also expected to provide in-house staff development activities. However, there is currently no data available on the quality or effectiveness of these activities (see also below for school-based developmental projects and mobility projects funded by EU programmes). Data related to the in-service teacher training of VET school teachers are regularly recorded in the VETIS, where teachers register their participation at in-service teacher training events. Travel and accommodation costs of in-service training for teachers are covered by VET institutions, which affect the numbers of teachers attending training. Overall, the provision of in-service training for VET staff is extremely underfinanced and generally perceived as insufficient.

Apart from the State-funded in-service training described above, in-service training of VET teachers is also implemented by:

  • professional associations and other non-governmental organisations offering training (fee-based or free of charge);
  • public open universities (Pučka otvorena učilišta);
  • the Chamber of Crafts and Trades;

These in-service trainings do not require programme or provider accreditation.

The system enables promotion in the profession of teachers, vocational trainers and teaching associates. The Regulation on the Promotion of Teachers in Primary and Secondary Education ([26]Pravilnik o napredovanju učitelja i nastavnika u osnovnom i srednjem školstvu (Regulation on the Promotion of Teachers in Primary and Secondary Education), Official Gazette No. 89/1995
) guides the promotion in the profession, and teachers can acquire title of mentors and advisors.

In addition, they can be awarded for outstanding achievements in education. The above mentioned Regulation prescribes levels, conditions and ways of progression. Evaluation elements of expertise and teaching excellence are: teaching success (e.g. methodological creativity in teaching, application of the latest working methods in teaching and the latest sources of knowledge, etc.); extracurricular expert work (e.g. lecturing in teacher training events on at least county level, mentorship of a trainee up to in-service professional exam, mentorship of students that won one of first three places in international competitions, authorship of a textbook, etc.); in-service teacher training. Requirements for promotion are proscribed with the number of years of work experience, grade, number of points and regular in-service teacher training. The school initiates the process of VET teacher promotion, with evaluation of teachers work by school director and with the consent of teacher council and the process is implemented by the Agency for VET and Adult Education.

Teachers are elected into positions of mentor and advisor for the period of five years and can be re-elected.

In 2018, the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education (AVETAE) produced the concept for the new model of continuing professional development (CPD) and open programme of CPD for VET school teachers ([27]As part of the national project Modernisation of the continuous professional development of VET teachers, launched by AVETAE in 2017 and co-funded by the European structural and investment fund.). The concept significantly expands the scope, the quality and the modalities of CPD and defines general and elective modules delivered through guided training, individual assignments and assessment activities. Modules are directed at developing teaching competencies, teaching talented students and students with disabilities, quality assurance, class management, innovative teaching methods, adult education, service learning, as well as strengthening peer- and lifelong-learning, digital and project management competencies.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([28]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

Based on the Government’s Decree on the monitoring, analyses and prediction of labour market needs and the development of an educational enrolment policy ([29]Government’s decree on the monitoring, analyses and prediction of labour market needs and the development of an educational enrolment policy (Uredba o praćenju, analizi i predviđanju potreba tržišta rada za pojedinim zvanjima, te izradi i uzimanju u obzir preporuka za obrazovnu upisnu politiku); Official Gazette No 93/2010.), PES ([30]Public employment service.) (Hrvatski Zavod za zapošljavanje) conducts an annual analysis and prediction of labour market needs for specific qualifications. This analysis is based on relevant statistical data and employment indicators of currently unemployed persons with specific qualifications, data from the Employers questionnaire (anketa poslodavaca) and regional and local development strategies and plans. PES publishes the Recommendations for educational enrolment and stipend policies (Preporuke za obrazovnu upisnu politiku i politiku stipendiranja). These recommendations are regionally and locally determined and are qualitative, rather than quantitative in nature, indicating only if there is a need for an increase or decrease in the enrolment in a specific VET programme. As such, these recommendations have not always taken into account whilst determining the enrolment vacancies in the specific VET programmes and the need for a more efficient and precise system was recognised.

Legislation on NQF ([31]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) in 2013 provided a new tool for qualification development and the reshaped the structure for labour market anticipation and feedback loops between occupational standards, qualification standards and curricula. The process of adjusting education to labour market needs begins with an estimation of future needs for knowledge and skills, as outlined in key strategic documents ([32]Strategy of regional development, Industrial strategy, Smart specialisations strategy, Innovation Strategy and Strategy of Science, Education and Technology.). The process of adjustment between education and labour market needs is based on the development of occupational standards (standard zanimanja) and subsequently upon the development of qualification standards (standard kvalifikacija). The occupational standards are empirically founded upon the sector profiles (profil sektora) and the occupation standard survey (anketa o standardu zanimanja).

Both development and accreditation of VET curricula are based on the qualification standards.

In order to support qualification development, the Ministry of Labour has in previous years launched the Croatian Qualifications Framework (CROQF) web portal ([33]http://hko.poslovna.hr/) as the central portal with labour market and education indicators. The CROQF portal is designed to serve as the central tool for labour market monitoring, mid-term and long-term skills anticipation and the main evidence base for the development of sector profiles and occupational standards as the key mechanisms of CROQF. The portal offers data visualization, statistics and analyses by CROQF sectors. In particular, it integrates data on employment, unemployment, enrolment in secondary and higher education programmes, key economic activities and corresponding employment rates, and distribution of different occupations in sectors in relation to economic activities. The portal associates data on unemployment from the Croatian Employment Service, data on employment from the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, enrolment in secondary and higher education programmes from the Ministry of Science and Education and the relevant statistical indicators from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([34]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast)

VET qualifications

The three major elements of qualification development are foreseen:

  • occupational standards (standard zanimanja)

The occupational standards are a tool developed to identify the skills and associated knowledge required to be ‘competent’ in a particular job role. The standards are broken into units, which classify different sets of skills and knowledge. For VET qualifications, the occupational standards are being developed to a level of detail that highlights and describes the broad skills and knowledge sets that may be applied across a number of sub-sectors and related job roles within a particular industry.

  • qualification standard (standard kvalifikacija)

The qualification standards take the skills identified and described within the occupational standards and translate them into criteria against which learners are evaluated. The qualification standards are broken down into a series of logical ‘units’. Each unit is comprised of a set of ‘learning outcomes’ and ‘assessment criteria’. The learning outcomes describe what a learner should be able to achieve once a programme of study has been completed. The assessment criteria establish the activities and benchmarks that must be achieved by the learner in order to demonstrate that learning outcomes have been achieved. Each unit is also given a credit value that identifies the amount of time required by an average learner to complete all relevant learning and assessment activities to achieve the required learning outcomes. Finally, when a range of qualification standards has been developed, a decision is made as to which units need to be ‘mandatory’ or ‘elective’.

  • VET curriculum (strukovni kurikulum)

The final phase of the development process is associated with the production of VET curricula, which set out what needs to be taught in order to ensure that learning outcomes can be achieved.

The qualification development in VET follows the general process for qualification development at all levels, described in the CROQF Act ([35]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) and the Ordinance on CROQF Register ([36]Ordinance on CROQF Register (Pravilnik o Registru Hrvatskog kvalifikacijskog okvira); Official Gazette No 62/2014.). The CROQF Register represents the central repository of approved occupational standards, qualification standards and units of learning outcomes, organised in corresponding sub-registers. In order to be approved, the proposals for occupational standards and qualification standards follow the prescribed procedure for the enrolment in the CROQF Register.

Consequently, the first stage of qualification development consists in the development and enrolment of the relevant occupational standard for the qualification. According to the CROQF Act, any legal entity or natural person, as well as public administration body, with legitimate interest, may propose an occupational standard for enrolment in the CROQF Register. The proposed occupational standard needs to be empirically founded upon relevant development strategies, sector profiles and occupational standard survey, which ensures the input of employers. The proposed occupational standard is submitted to the Ministry of Labour and then evaluated by the relevant CROQF sector council. If approved by the council and appropriately revised if requested, the Ministry of Labour decides on the enrolment of the occupational standard in the CROQF Register.

Qualification standard development follows a similar process, with the Ministry of Science and Education responsible for the enrolment of the qualification standard in the CROQF Register and the sector councils responsible for the evaluation of qualification standards.

The final stage comprises the development of vocational curriculum, which is based on the qualification standard and aligned to the occupational standard. The proposed vocational curricula should be aligned with the National curriculum for VET and the relevant sectoral curricula. Based on the learning-outcome approach, the National curriculum for VET from 2018 describes teaching and learning processes, including work-based learning and learning cycles. It encompasses qualifications on CROQF/EQF levels 2-5 and defines the curricular framework for VET, which comprises sectoral curricula, vocational curricula and VET school curricula. The document sets out the structure for each qualification level in terms of the proposed teaching time devoted to general content, vocational modules, elective modules and work-based learning in line with sectorial and vocational curricula. Finally, the National curriculum for VET defines enrolment, permeability and assessment in VET. It allows for learning flexibility and specialisation through elective modules integrated in qualifications at CROQF level 4.1. and 4.2. / EQF level 4 for up to 30% of vocational curricula. The sectoral curricula set out the framework for all vocational curricula for qualifications on EQF levels 2-5 within particular education sectors. This way, the sectoral curricula ensure the attainment of broader competences relevant for all occupations within a sector. The sectoral curricula development is envisaged within the current AVETAE project for the modernisation of vocational education and training system in Croatia.

 

Managing qualifications

Several bodies are involved in designing, updating and awarding qualifications:

  • 25 CROQF sectoral councils (HKO sektorska vijeća): as advisory bodies on the sector-level, the sectoral councils evaluate proposals for occupational standards, qualification standards and units of learning outcomes. They also analyse existing and necessary competences on the sector level and propose changes to qualification standards based on changes in occupational standards;
  • Ministry of Science and Education: as the national coordinating body responsible for CROQF, the Ministry of Science and Education is also in charge of the sub-registers of qualification standards and learning outcomes. It offers methodological guidelines for the development of qualification standards and decides on the enrolment of the proposed qualification standards in the CROQF Register. It also coordinates quality assurance of qualifications and learning outcomes, and is responsible for developing a system for the recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning;
  • Ministry of Labour: as the responsible authority for the labour market, the Ministry of Labour is in charge of the sub-register of occupational standards. It offers methodological guidelines for the development of occupational standards and decides on the enrolment of the proposed occupational standards in the CROQF Register. It is also responsible for producing evidence-base for the development of occupational standards by collecting information about the current and the future labour market needs and the necessary competences. The Ministry of Labour is expected to monitor the labour market needs and propose corresponding development of qualification standards and occupational standards;
  • Agency for VET and Adult Education (AVETAE): as the public administration body in charge of VET, AVETAE proposes occupational standards, qualification standards and curricula in VET. Currently, AVETAE leads a large-scale project for the modernization of vocational education and training system in Croatia, as the largest initiative for update of VET qualifications and reform of VET curricula. AVETAE representatives also sit in the CROQF sectoral councils relevant to VET;
  • The National Council for the Development of Human Potential (Nacionalno vijeće za razvoj ljudskih potencijala): as the strategic advisory body responsible for CROQF, the National Council offers recommendations for policies relevant to qualification development and the alignment of education to the labour market.

Developing a coherent system

Currently, the area of quality assurance is informed by:

  • external assessment of student competencies and VET providers, administration of the State Matura exams and national exams in VET, based on the VET Act and the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education Act ([37]National Centre for External Evaluation of Education Act (Zakon o Nacionalnom centru za vanjsko vrednovanje obrazovanja); Official Gazette No 151/2004.), by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education;
  • external assessment of institutions ([38]Ordinance on the Means of Implementing External Evaluation and Using the Results of External Evaluation of Education Providers (Pravilnik o načinu provedbe vanjskog vrednovanja i korištenju rezultata vanjskog vrednovanja školskih ustanova); Official Gazette No 23/2011.), inspection ([39]School Inspection Act (Zakon o prosvjetnoj inspekciji); Official Gazette No 61/2011 and 16/2012.) performed by the Ministry of Science and Education and professional-pedagogic supervision of VET providers ([40]Professional-Pedagogical Monitoring Act (Zakon o stručno-pedagoškom nadzoru); Official Gazette No 73/1997.) by the Agency for VET and Adult Education;
  • quality assurance of programmes for acquiring qualifications by the Ministry of Science and Education and the Agency for Science and Higher Education through the CROQF ([41]Ordinance of CROQF Register (Pravilnik o Registru Hrvatskog kvalifikacijskog okvira); Official Gazette No 62/2014.);
  • surveillance over organising and implementation of apprenticeships ([42]Crafts Act (Zakon o obrtu); Official Gazette No 77/93, 90/96, 102/98, 64/01, 71/01, 49/03, 68/07, 79/07, 40/10.) by the Ministry of Economy, SME and Crafts and the Ministry of Science and Education;
  • external assessment of journeyman exam by the Agency for VET and Adult Education and the National Centre for External Assessment of Education ([43]Crafts Act (Zakon o obrtu); Official Gazette No 77/93, 90/96, 102/98, 64/01, 71/01, 49/03, 68/07, 79/07, 40/10.);
  • self-assessment of VET providers ([44]Vocational Education and Training Act (Zakon o strukovnom obrazovanju); Official Gazette No 30/2009, 24/2010, 22/2013, 25/2018.), based on the VET Act and relevant methodology([45]Agencija za strukovno obrazovanje i obrazovanje odraslih (2011b). Hrvatski okvir za osiguranje kvalitete u strukovnom obrazovanju i osposobljavanju: Priručnik za samovrjednovanje [Croatian framework for quality assurance in VET: manual for self-assessment].
    http://www.asoo.hr/UserDocsImages/Priru%C4%8Dnik%20za%20samovrjednovanje.pdf
    ) , organised and supported by the Agency for VET and Adult education. VET schools do self-assessment once a year, within the six assessment areas:

    • planning and programming of work;
    • teaching and support to learning;
    • learning outcomes;
    • material & human resources, including continuing professional development of staff;
    • cooperation within the VET school and with stakeholders; and
    • administration and management.

Each area is further broken down into quality areas, which are described using individual quality criteria. All areas are applied primarily to IVET. In 2011, secondary VET schools launched a self-assessment process and the first annual reports were produced and analysed. To assist VET schools in the process, the VET agency developed a comprehensive manual and an online ’E-quality’ tool ([46]http://e-kvaliteta.asoo.hr) (e-kvaliteta) that enabled secondary VET schools to effectively present their self-assessment data and plans for improvements. Both measures are evidence-based.

The strategic documents call for the establishment of a coherent, unified system of VET quality assurance at the national level, at the level of VET providers and at the level of qualifications developed in line with EQAVET recommendations. This system is to be used for both IVET and CVET. Strong argumentation for a coherent, unified system comes from analyses indicating the existence of parallel and uncoordinated structures that are insufficiently used for the amelioration of school practice and the development of VET policy.

Formal qualifications cannot be acquired through recognition of non-formal and informal learning ([47]The legislation has foreseen an ordinance on recognition of non/formal and informal learning which is still under preparation. Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013.).

Allowances in apprenticeship

In the three-year VET programmes for crafts and trades, the contract for apprenticeship (ugovor o naukovanju) regulates learner allowances as stipulated by the legislation ([48]Regulation on Minimum Requirements for Apprenticeship Contracts; Official Gazette No 63/2014.).

Scholarships for shortage occupations

In 2018, the Ministry of Economy, SME and crafts awarded 3,020 scholarships to learners in three-year VET programmes in crafts and trades (jedinstveni model obrazovanja, JMO) for which there is a labour market shortage. The total amount awarded was around EUR 3.6 million, indicating a sharp increase from 2017, when the amount was EUR 2.8 million. The list of eligible programmes was determined nationally, but allows regional modification. Local communities, as well as professional associations and private firms, also provide incentives and stipends for learners.

In Croatia, the main employment policy relevant to VET is the Active Labour Market Policy (Mjere aktivne politike zapošljavanja, ALMP).

Tax exemptions

Companies that provide apprenticeships for three-year VET programmes learners have tax breaks reducing their taxable income ([49]Act on State Aid for Education and Training (Zakon o državnoj potpori za obrazovanje i izobrazbu); Official Gazette No 109/2007, 134/2007, 152/2008, 14/2014.). Entrepreneurs that train one to three learners per year on their premises may reduce their taxable income by 5%; an additional learner further reduces the taxable income by one percentage point, up to a limit of 15%.

The Croatian Employment Service (CES) systematically organises activities aimed at giving information, guidance and counselling for students in the final years of primary and upper secondary education (including VET).

Several elements developed by CES within this comprehensive guidance and counselling system are aimed at young persons. In recent years, CES has organised a regional network of 13 centres for career information and guidance under the name of CISOK ([50]See
http://www.cisok.hr
) (Centri za informiranje i savjetovanje o karijeri). This allowed for a tailor-made approach to guidance and counselling. The services are free of charge and open to both students and parents. Trained guidance counsellors provide services. Guidance is provided to learners in transition from primary to secondary and from secondary to higher education through open days and career fairs. These initiatives are supported by chambers, employers, former students and parents.

Career guidance for learners is conducted through the joint efforts of school counsellors and CES career guidance counsellors. Particular attention is devoted to learners who, according to the evaluations, might face labour market problems after they complete their education, i.e. those with developmental and health issues, learning disabilities or behaviour disorders. CES pays special attention to vocational guidance for VET students with disabilities. Furthermore, secondary school students who achieve poor results are referred to an expert team for career guidance. Here, expert opinions concerning the most adequate choice for further education, labour market needs and educational opportunities are taken into account, as well as the learner's individual abilities and needs. If needed, a team evaluation is carried out, which might include psychological assessment, an interview and a medical examination by a physician specialising in occupational health.

CES has also developed a web portal e-Guidance ( www.e-Usmjeravanje.hzz.hr) to offer the information needed for the selection of education programmes and to provide assistance in setting and reaching professional goals and searching for jobs.

Finally, CES conducts a yearly survey of the vocational intentions of primary and secondary schools’ students. Using the results of this survey, expert teams of school and CES representatives define target groups that need specific services for career guidance. The aggregate results of the survey indicate the trends in the intentions of learners and are forwarded to stakeholders in the fields of education and employment at both regional and national level.Please see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Short-cycle professional

undergraduate programmes

2-2.5 years

ISCED 554

Short-cycle professional undergraduate programmes (kratki stručni studij)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2-2.5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Under the current regulations, in the period from 2018 until 2022, the education is free of charge for full-time students enrolled in public higher education institutions, either for students in the first year of the programme for the first time or, in further years of study, for students who earned at least 55 ECTS credits in the previous academic year. Exceptions exist for students with disabilities and high-achieving students simultaneously enrolled in two programmes at tertiary level.

Students at private higher education providers or part-time students pay tuition fee for their studies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

120 -150 ECTS

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • part-time
  • full-time
Main providers

Higher education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Practical training duration is determined by individual curricula.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at Higher education institutions
  • in-company training
Main target groups

For full-time studies: young people, secondary school graduates at EQF level 4

For part-time studies: young people and working adults

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Previously acquired EQF level 4 qualification or higher (3-year or 4-year general education or IVET programmes)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Continuous written or oral examinations at course level

Final assessment may include written and/or oral examination or final thesis, as determined by the curricula

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional associate (stručni pristupnik)

Examples of qualifications

Professional associate in chemical engineering (stručni pristupnik kemijskog inženjerstva)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates may continue their education at professional undergraduate programmes.

Depending on the curricula, graduates may also enrol in university graduate programmes or specialist graduate professional programmes; under condition they successfully pass additional and supplementary exams.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

General education subjects are normally taught only in relation to vocational subjects.

Key competences

Some courses may be offered to teach key competences

Application of learning outcomes approach

Not consistent

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In 2017/18, there were 51 students enrolled in short-cycle professional undergraduate programmes, representing 0.11% of students in higher education professional programmes, and 0.03% of all students in higher education.

EQF 6

Professional

undergraduate studies,

3-4 years

ISCED 655

Undergraduate professional studies leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655, (preddiplomski stručni studij)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

3-4

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Under the current regulations, in the period from 2018 until 2022, the education is free of charge for full-time students enrolled in public higher education institutions, either for students in the first year of the programme for the first time or, in further years of study, for students who earned at least 55 ECTS credits in the previous academic year.

Exceptions exist for students with disabilities and high-achieving students simultaneously enrolled in two programmes at tertiary level.

Students at private higher education providers or part-time students pay tuition fee for their studies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

180-240 ECTS

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • part-time
  • full-time
Main providers
  • colleges (visoke škole)
  • polytechnics (veleučilišta)
  • universities (sveučilišta)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Practical training duration is determined by individual curricula.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

• practical training at education institution

• in-company training

Main target groups

For full-time studies: young people, secondary school graduates at EQF level 4

For part-time studies: young people and working adults

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirements consist in the completion of secondary education and successful completion of the State Matura exam. Higher education providers may set additional requirements and different weights to average secondary school GPA, Matura exams or entry exams independently. Work experience may be considered for enrolment in part-time programmes.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Continuous written or oral examinations at course level.

Final assessment may include written and/or oral examination or final thesis, as determined by the curricula.

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • professional bachelor (baccalaureus, prvostupnik) in occupation, or
  • professional bachelor engineer (prvostupnik inžinjer) in occupation
Examples of qualifications

Professional bachelor (baccalaureus) in economy (stručni prvostupnik (baccalaureus) ekonomije) (bacc. oec.)

Professional bachelor (baccalaureus) engineer in information technology (stručni prvostupnik (baccalaureus) inženjer informacijske tehnologije) (bacc. ing. techn. inf.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Upon graduation, students are allowed to progress to specialist professional graduate studies or university graduate programmes, EQF 7.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Higher education providers are required to set internal guidelines for recognising prior learning at EQF levels 6 and higher.

General education subjects

Some general education subjects may be taught in relation to vocational subjects.

Key competences

Depending on the programme, courses may be offered to teach key competences

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In 2017/18, there were 40 117 students enrolled in professional undergraduate programmes, representing 84.9% of students in higher education professional programmes, and 24.3% of all students in higher education.

EQF 7

Specialist graduate professional studies leading to EQF 7, ISCED 757

Specialist graduate professional studies leading to EQF 7, ISCED 757 (specijalistički diplomski stručni studij)
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

757

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

1-2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Under the current regulations, in the period from 2018 until 2022, the education is free of charge for full-time students enrolled in public higher education institutions, either for students in the first year of the programme for the first time or, in further years of study, for students who earned at least 55 ECTS credits in the previous academic year. Exceptions exist for students with disabilities and high-achieving students simultaneously enrolled in two programmes at tertiary level.

Students at private higher education providers or part-time students pay tuition fee for their studies.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60-120 ECTS

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • part-time
  • full-time
Main providers
  • colleges (visoke škole)
  • polytechnics (veleučilišta)
  • universities (sveučilišta)
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Practical training duration is determined by individual curricula.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

• practical training at education institution

• In-company training

Main target groups
  • for full-time studies: young people, graduates of undergraduate professional programmes
  • for part-time studies: young people and working adults
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirements are the completed undergraduate professional studies or completed undergraduate university studies.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Continuous written or oral examinations at course level

Final assessment may include written and/or oral examination or final thesis, as determined by the curricula

Diplomas/certificates provided
  • professional specialist in occupation (stručni specijalist), or
  • professional specialist engineer (stručni specijalist inžinjer) with the addition of the name of the occupation
Examples of qualifications

Professional specialist engineer in civil engineering (stručni specijalist inženjer građevinarstva) (struč. spec. ing. aedif.)

Professional specialist in accounting and finances (stručni specijalist računovodstva i financija) (struč.spec.oec.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Specialist graduate professional studies are designed as a terminal professional degree leading to the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Higher education providers are required to set internal guidelines for recognising prior learning at EQF levels 6 and higher.

General education subjects

General education subjects are normally taught only in relation to vocational subjects.

Key competences

Some courses may be offered to teach key competences

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In 2017/18, there were 7 062 students enrolled in specialist graduate professional programmes, representing 14.95% of students in higher education professional programmes, and 4.28% of all students in higher education.

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

VET specialist development

programmes

ISCED 453

VET specialist development programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 453 (programi stručnog obrazovanja i osposobljavanja nakon srednjeg obrazovanja). These programmes are legally foreseen and not introduced yet.
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

Not applicable

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Not defined. Qualifications at this level are foreseen by the NQF, yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The total workload for programmes at EQF level 5 is a minimum of 120 ECVET or ECTS credits, with at least 60 ECVET or ECTS credits of the level 6 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes ([75]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.).

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. Each ECVET credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

ECTS credits are awarded for higher education at EQF levels 5-7. Each ECTS credit includes 25 to 30 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

VET specialist development programmes may include:

• school-based learning

• practical training at school and in-company

Main providers

VET schools or higher education institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 50% ([76]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines WBL share for VET specialist development programmes of at least 50%.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

VET specialist development programmes may include:

• practical training at school

• in-company practice (preferred)

Main target groups

Learners who completed VET programmes at secondary level (at least CROQF/EQF 4.1. or higher)

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Completed VET programmes at secondary level (at least CROQF/EQF 4.1. or higher)

Assessment of learning outcomes

Not defined.

Qualifications at this level were foreseen by the Act on NQF ([77]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) in 2013, yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET post-secondary development and training certificate (strukovno specijalisticko usavrsavanje i osposobljavanje)

Examples of qualifications

Qualifications at this level were foreseen in 2013 by the Act on NQF ([78]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.), yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

These programmes have strong labour market orientation. Progression mechanisms to higher education are not defined at this point.

Destination of graduates

Information not applicable since programmes are not introduced yet.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Not defined. Qualifications at this level were foreseen by the Act on NQF ([79]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) in 2013, yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Application of learning outcomes approach

All future qualifications, developed in line with the National curriculum in VET, should be outcome-based.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Qualifications at this level were foreseen by the Act on NQF ([80]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.) in 2013, yet no VET specialist development programmes have been developed thus far.

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2-3

1- 2 year programmes

ISCED 351

IVET 1-year and 2-year programmes leading to EQF levels 3, ISCED 351 (jednogodisnji i dvogodisnji strukovni programi).
EQF level
2-3
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

9-10

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The total workload for acquiring a qualification at EQF level 3 is a minimum of 60 ECVET and / or HROO credits of the EQF level 3 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes. ([53]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.).

The total workload for acquiring a qualification at EQF level 2 is a minimum of 30 ECVET and / or HROO credits of the EQF level 2 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes.

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. HROO credits are awarded at levels 1-4 for general education qualifications and general education content of vocational qualifications. Each ECVET and HROO credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning;
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
Main providers

Upper secondary VET schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 50% ([54]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines WBL share in qualifications at EQF level 2 at over 60%, and WBL share for 1-2 year programmes at EQF level 3 at over 50%. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed in the VET reform process, which is currently underway.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Vocational training programmes at EQF level 2 are particularly popular with adult learners in CVET.

2-year programmes at EQF level 3 are particularly suitable for young people aiming to enter the labour market upon completion of the programme, or learners at risk of early leaving.

Students with disabilities may enrol adapted two-year VET programmes, which could extend for up to three years.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Entry requirements include a certificate of completion of primary education and good physical and mental health, as required by the curricula.

Assessment of learning outcomes

In case of 1-2 year programmes at EQF level 3, VET providers perform the final assessment of learners, which consists in production and presentation of the final practical assignment (završni rad).

Diplomas/certificates provided

For vocational training at EQF level 2, training certificate (uvjerenje o osposobljavanju) represents a formal award recognised by the education and training and labour authorities.

For 1-2-year programmes at EQF level 3, certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) represents a formal award recognised by the education and training and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

For 1-2-year programmes at EQF level 3: welder (zavarivač), administrator (administrator).

For vocational training at EQF level 2: trained forklift operator (osposobljen za rukovatelja viličarom), trained for bartending jobs (osposobljen za poslove barmena), trained for simple jobs in the occupation of butcher (osposobljen za jednostavne poslove u zanimanju mesar).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Students holding this certificate normally enter the labour market meeting requirements to execute simple tasks in familiar conditions. Furthermore, after completing two-year VET programmes, learners have the possibility of vertical mobility and continuing their education at a higher level in the status of regular learners. They can enrol in a three-year VET programme and pass additional and supplementary examinations.

Destination of graduates

1-2-year programmes at EQF level 3 are labour market-oriented, which is the primary destination of graduates.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Currently, the share of the general education content in the total teaching load for 1-2-year programmes ranges from 20-40% ([55]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines those vocational curricula for qualifications at EQF levels 2-3 should include up to 20% general education content. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed.).

Key competences

Depending on the curricula, key competences in programmes at EQF level 3 usually encompass competences in Croatian and foreign languages, mathematics and ICT.

Vocational training programmes at EQF level 2 generally do not comprise key competence development.

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In the school year 2018/19, 10 VET providers enrolled 163 students (0.2% of all IVET learners) in 7 programmes at EQF level 3.

In 2018, estimated 14 000 adult learners ([56]Andragogical General Data Registry (Andragoški zajednički upisnik podataka, AZUP); data from May 2019.) enrolled in vocational training programmes at EQF level 2, as the most popular education pathway in CVET.

EQF 4

School-based and

apprenticeship programme,

3 years,

WBL 30-60%

ISCED 353

Initial VET three-year apprenticeship programmes for crafts and trades, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353, Unified Model of Education-JMO (jedinstveni model obrazovanja – JMO programi); Initial VET three-year Industrial and industry-related programmes, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353 (industrijski strukovni programi)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

17

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

as school-based programmes only

ECVET or other credits

The total workload for 3-year programmes is a minimum of 180 ECVET and / or HROO credits, with at least 120 ECVET and / or HROO credits of the level 4 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes ([57]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.).

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. HROO credits are awarded at levels 1-4 for general education qualifications and general education content of vocational qualifications. Each ECVET and HROO credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

JMO programmes:

  • apprenticeships

Industrial programmes:

  • school-based learning with practical training at school and in-company
Main providers

JMO programmes:

VET secondary schools

Companies (licenced craft workshops or legal entities)

Industrial programmes:

VET secondary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

JMO programmes: 60%

Industrial programmes:

5%-10% ([58]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines WBL share in 3-year industrial programmes at 30-40%. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

JMO programmes:

  • apprenticeships
  • practical training at school

The education is implemented according to a VET curriculum that consists of two parts, the general education part and the apprenticeship. The apprenticeship consists of a professional-theoretical part and practical training and exercises. The general education and the professional-theoretical parts are implemented in VET schools. The practical training and exercises are implemented mainly in the work process, in craft business workshops or in a trade association, institution or cooperative and to a lesser extent in VET school workshops in a certain number of hours, according to the curriculum for each qualification.

Industrial programmes:

  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults (as a school-based option only).

Many curricula at this level, for example for assisting professions, are also suitable for learners with special educational needs, such as moderate and severe disability. Special arrangements are available for them in VET schools and social welfare institutions.

Programmes are also suitable for learners at risk of early school leaving.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The entry requirements for three-year programmes include:

  • certificate of completion of primary education
  • adequate physical and mental health, as required by the VET teaching plans and programs

For JMO programmes, an apprenticeship contract is also required.

Assessment of learning outcomes

For the completion of the educational programme learners need to take a final practical assignment (izradba i obrana završnog rada) which is mandatory for all learners in order to receive a valid qualification. The final assessment is organised and conducted by schools ([59]Regulation on the development and defence of the final exam (2009).); upon successfully passing it, a learner acquires a secondary school qualification and the VET school issues a certificate.

The final exam ([60]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
) is a small project composed of the theoretical part, the practical part and the defence. Each school can have different timelines regarding the organisation of the final exam as well as the specificities regarding the choice of topics. Learners choose topics (tema) themselves or with the teacher support (usually by 1 October of the third year) and consult with the mentor in craft whether he/she can accomplish that. The final exam covers both the theoretical and practical part, both in written form. In the practical part, the learner describes what he/she did and also defends it in front of the commission; in some schools the practical part takes place at the craft or legal entity. These commissions usually consist of VET teachers. Some schools include in-company mentors; from those interviewed no one took part.

Additionally, JMO graduates can take also a journeyman exam (pomoćnički ispit ([61]Pravilnik o postupku i načinu polaganja pomoćničkog ispita [Regulation on the procedure and way of implementation of journeyman’s exam]. (2014). Official Gazette No 63/14, 86/15.
http://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2014_05_63_1209.html
)) afterwards. A journeyman exam ([62]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
) is taken after the successful completion of the educational programme; it is organised by Agency for VET (Agencija za strukovno obrazovanje i obrazovanje odraslih, ASOO) and takes place in schools. The journeyman exam is free for learners for two years after they graduate. In addition, during one school year after graduation, the practical part of their final exam is usually recognised and they do not have to do it again as a part of the journeyman exam. The implementation includes a number of activities: Croatian Chamber of Crafts (Hrvatska Obrtnička komora) suggests the commission members to ASOO; VET schools send applications of learners, organise the exam on their premises, prepare documentation and fill the online system (e-naukovanje); Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts (Ministarstvo gospodarstva, poduzetništva i obrta, MoEEC) finances members of the commissions and issues certificates signed by the minister. ASOO organises, supervises and coordinates all these activities.

Learners in JMO programmes can also take an intermediate test (kontrolni ispit) in the second year [63]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
. Some learners call this test ‘small matura’ (mala matura).

Diplomas/certificates provided

For 3-year programmes, certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) represent a formal award recognised by the education and training and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

JMO programmes:

Chef, hairdresser, auto-mechanic, carpenter, photographer,

Industrial programmes: CNC operator

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

According to the legislation ([64]Act on VET (2009) and the Amendments to the Act on Primary and Secondary Education (2008) of 2012.), both horizontal and vertical pathways are stipulated. As of 2014, graduates from three-year VET programmes can enter an optional one- to two-year bridge programme ([65]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
) and, if successful in gaining a second VET qualification, can also take matura exams to access higher education. JMO graduates can also apply for the master craftsman exam after two to three years of work experience in the field. In 2016, an additional regulation on the conditions and the pathways of continuing education for obtaining higher level of qualifications has been introduced, specifying that learners can continue education for two years after acquiring the lower level qualifications, conditional on previous educational achievements, i.e. the minimum average score achieved during the period of their three-year education. Schools providing JMO programmes are obliged to organise a tuition-free fourth year for learners wishing to continue their education.

According to the findings of the Cedefop review ([66]Cedefop (2019). Apprenticeship review: Croatia. Improving apprenticeships through stronger support and care. Luxembourg: Publications office. Thematic country reviews.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/4173_en.pdf
), provisions for access to higher levels of education are not widely used in practice. It is very hard for JMO learners to continue with their education: schools reported approximately 10 per cent of their third year learners continuing their studies. Learners have to take many exams to catch up with learners from other programmes and enrol in the regular fourth year: according to some, about 20-25 exams, or equal to two years of schooling, the successful graduation of which gives access to the State matura (državna matura) exams. Most schools offer, and learners opt for, adult education programmes that are not free of charge but are provided as evening school option allowing learners work full-time. The learners who decide to continue their education are mostly learners with higher grades achieved during the three-year period of the JMO programme.

Destination of graduates

Students holding this certificate generally enter the labour market. In the school year 2018/2019, 225 students are recorded to have enrolled a 4-year VET programme with supplementary examinations, after having completed a 3-year programme, which equals 0.3% of students in 4-year VET programmes. The trend is similar for previous years.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

JMO:

Currently, the share of the general education content in the total teaching load for JMO programmes is around 20%.

Industrial programmes:

Currently, the share of the general education content in the total teaching load for 3-year school-based programmes is 20-40 % in the 1st and the 2nd year, and 25-40% in the 3rd year ([67]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines those vocational curricula for 3-year school-based programmes should include up to 20-25% general education content. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed.).

Key competences

Depending on the curricula, key competences in 3-year programmes at EQF level 4 usually encompass competences in Croatian and foreign languages, mathematics and ICT.

Application of learning outcomes approach

In the school year 2018/19, one 3-year outcome-based programme for salespersons is in implementation in Croatian VET schools. Other qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the learning-outcome approach are yet to be developed in the VET reform process, which is currently underway.

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In the school year 2018/19, 214 VET providers enrolled 26 791 students (27.6% of all IVET learners) in 136 programmes. Over the last 15 years, student participation in these programmes has been steadily declining. Specifically, the number of students finishing three-year programmes has fallen from 21 000 in 1998 to 9 965 in 2017, declining as a share of upper secondary education graduates from 40% to 22%.

EQF 4

School-based programmes,

4-5 years,

WBL 10%

ISCED 354

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354, four-year programmes mainly; one five-year programme for general nursing qualification (četverogodišnji strukovni programi; jedan petogodišnji program - za medicinsku sestru opće njege)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

12-13

Usual entry age

15

Usual completion age

18-19

Length of a programme (years)

4-5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The total workload for 4- and 5-year programmes is a minimum of 240 ECVET and / or HROO credits, with at least 150 ECVET and / or HROO credits of the level 4 or a higher level of units of learning outcomes([68]Croatian Qualification Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru); Official Gazette No 22/2013, 41/2016, 64/2018.).

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. HROO credits are awarded at levels 1-4 for general education qualifications and general education content of vocational qualifications. Each ECVET and HROO credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

For four-year programmes:

  • school-based learning with practical training at school and in-company

Five-year programme for general nursing qualification follow the different structure:

  • school-based general education in the first two years;
  • school-based vocational theoretical and practical parts in schools and practical training in hospitals in the second three years.
Main providers

VET schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

In 4-year programmes: Less than 10% ([69]Adopted in 2018, the National curriculum for VET defines WBL share in 4-year programmes at around 10%. New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the National curriculum for VET are yet to be developed in the VET reform process, which is currently underway.)

5-year programme:

60% in the final three years of the programme.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In 4-year programmes:

  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice

For five-year general nursing qualification programme, practical trainings are organised in hospitals and other teaching healthcare institutions.

Main target groups

Young people

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The entry requirements include a certificate of completion of primary education and adequate physical and mental health, as required by the occupational standards.

Assessment of learning outcomes

For the completion of the educational programme learners need to produce and present final practical assignment (izradba i obrana završnog rada) which is mandatory for all learners in order to receive a valid qualification. A final assessment is organised and conducted by schools ([70]Regulation on the development and defence of the final exam (2009).); upon successfully passing it, a learner acquires a secondary school qualification and the VET school issues a certificate.

In order to enrol into higher education, VET graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes. The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only, as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (advanced) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently.

Diplomas/certificates provided

For 4-year programmes, certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) represent the formal award recognized by the education and training and labour authorities.

For 5-year programmes, certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) equally represent the final formal award. However, after completing the first two years of the nursing programme, which focuses on the general education content exclusively, the candidates also receive a certificate of completion of 2-year general education programme for attainment of medical care qualification (uvjerenje o završenome dvogodišnjem općeobrazovnom programu za stjecanje zdravstvene kvalifikacije).

Examples of qualifications

In 4-year programmes:

beautician, mechanical engineering technician, ICT technician, commercialist

in 5-year programme:

general care nurse

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

In order to enrol into higher education, graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes. Students holding the certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) as well as a certificate on the passed State Matura exams (potvrda o položenim ispitima državne mature) can apply to higher education. The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (higher) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently. National data from 2016/17 suggest that over 80% of four- and five-year VET programme students expressed a wish to study at the tertiary level by enrolling in the national information system and taking the three obligatory State matura exams (Croatian language, mathematics, foreign language).

Destination of graduates

In the academic year 2018/19, fewer than 60% of VET graduates enrolled higher education studies, including over 40% of VET graduates that finished upper secondary education in 2018.

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

The programmes consist of general education and vocational parts in approximately equal shares.

The share of the general education content in the total teaching load in 4-year programmes ranges from 40-70% in the 1st year, 40-60% in the 2nd year and 30-40% in the 3rd and the 4th year.

The National curriculum for VET defines those vocational curricula for 4-year programmes in IVET should comprise up to 45% of general education content.

For five-year general nursing programme, the general education ratio is 100% the first two years, and VET part ratio is 100% in the second three years.

Key competences

Depending on individual curricula, 8 key competences ([71]As per Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December for lifelong learning (2006/962/EC).) are integrated in 4-year programmes at EQF level 4 to different extents.

Application of learning outcomes approach

In 2018/19, 25 outcome-based curricula were in implementation in Croatian schools in 4-year IVET programmes.

All other programmes are content-based teaching programmes ([72]New qualifications and vocational curricula in line with the learning-outcome approach are yet to be developed in the VET reform process, which is currently underway.).

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In 2018/19, 290 VET providers enrolled 65 125 students (67.1% of all IVET learners) in 129 4-year programmes.

In addition, 24 VET providers enrolled 5 034 students (5.2% of all IVET learners) in 1 (general care nurse) 5-year programme.

EQF 4

Bridging programme

ISCED 354

Bridging programme in initial VET leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354, 1 or 2-year programme mainly (program za stjecanje više razine kvalifikacije)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13-14

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

1-2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

60 ECVET or HROO credits

ECVET credits are awarded for vocational education and training at EQF levels 2-5. HROO credits are awarded at levels 1-4 for general education qualifications and general education content of vocational qualifications. Each ECVET and HROO credit includes 15 to 25 hours of study work in the duration of 60 minutes.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Depending on the curricula, learning forms may include:

  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
Main providers

VET schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Depending on the curricula, WBL types may include:

• practical training at school

• in-company practice

Main target groups

Graduates from IVET 3-year programmes, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353, may enrol bridging programme to attain qualification at EQF level 4 (ISCED 354, normally attained after completing 4-year programmes).

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Completed 3-year programme, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 353, normally in the same education sector, and average GPA of at least 3.50 on the 5.0 scale from the previous education level in VET (three-year IVET programme).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Before enrolling into the bridging programme, the teaching council at the VET provider determines the list of additional and supplementary exams the student needs to pass based on the programme completed earlier and the qualification the student will attain by completing the bridging programme. VET provider is responsible for organising the assessments for students to pass the prescribed additional and supplementary exams.

While a student can enrol into the bridging programme of education as a regular student, the number of the additional and supplementary exams determines the duration of the bridging programme. Namely, students with a lower number of supplementary exams can immediately integrate into regular classes of the final year of 4-year programme under condition they pass the exams before 31 March of the same school year. Students with a higher number of exams first take one year to pass the exams, and then the next year attend classes regularly. For the completion of the educational programme learners need to produce and present the final practical assignment (izradba i obrana završnog rada) which is mandatory for all learners in order to receive a valid qualification. The final assignment is organised and conducted by schools ([73]Regulation on the development and defence of the final exam (2009).); upon successfully passing it, a learner acquires a secondary school qualification and the VET school issues a certificate of completion.

In order to enrol into higher education, graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes.

The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only, as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (advanced) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificates of completion (svjedodžba o završnome radu) represent the formal award recognized by the education and training and labour authorities.

Examples of qualifications

Commercialist, mechanical engineering technician

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

In order to enrol into higher education, graduates can opt to take the State Matura exams (ispiti državne mature) following the completion of four- and five-year programmes. The National Centre for External Evaluation of Education administers the State Matura exams in cooperation with upper-secondary schools. The State Matura exams serve three aims: final examination and requirement for graduation from general upper-secondary schools, entrance exams for undergraduate studies at tertiary level for all students (including VET graduates) and external evaluation of student competencies and learning outcomes. State Matura exams are administered in general education subjects only as obligatory and optional exams. Obligatory exams are in Croatian language, mathematics and foreign language and they may be taken on A (higher) and B (elementary) level. The list of optional exams is determined by the National Centre for External Evaluation of Education for each school year. Higher education institutions set the required level of exams and optional exams among their admission criteria independently.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

General education share depends on the curricula of the programme students enrol. As the bridging programme mostly means integration in regular 4-year programmes, the share of the general education content in the total teaching load would thus normally range from 30-40% in the 3rd and the 4th year, as in all standard 4-year programmes.

Key competences

Depending on individual curricula, 8 key competences ([74]As per Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December for lifelong learning (2006/962/EC).) are integrated to different extent.

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In 2018/19, 225 students are recorded to have enrolled a 4-year VET programme with supplementary examinations, after having completed a 3-year programme, which accounts for 0.3% of students in 4-year VET programmes. The trend is similar for previous years.

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available