Brexit Disclaimer
This website as well as the publications and online tools accessible via this website may contain UK data and analysis based on research conducted before the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on 31 January 2020. EU averages or other statistical parameters including the UK reflect the situation in the European Union before 31 January 2020 and should not be considered as representative of the situation in the EU thereafter. Any data or information pertaining to the UK will be gradually phased out from Cedefop’s website, publications and online tools, as ongoing research projects with the United Kingdom’s participation are concluded. Data coming from UK were collected, processed and published before its withdrawal from the EU. Therefore, EU averages contain UK related data up to 2019.

General themes

VET in Portugal comprises the following main features:

  • Permeability (horizontal and vertical) between different VET programmes and between general education and VET programmes.
  • All VET programmes grant double certification: an education certificate and a professional qualification.
  • Participation in upper secondary education has significantly increased, since 2005.
  • Early leaving from education and training has been steadily decreasing, since 2008.

Distinctive features ([1]Adapted from Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Portugal. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8119_en.pdf
)

Key principles of VET provision are the wide range of programmes accessible to young people and adults, the link between VET provision and labour market needs, and flexibility in type and duration of courses for adults. VET learners have the possibility to access programmes at higher levels or higher education. Credits achieved in post-secondary level programmes may be recognised when applying to a higher education programme in the same field of study. Permeability is secured for adults older than 23 by offering them an access to higher education through recognition of previous training and professional experience. Accrediting of publicly funded VET providers and trainers is mandatory and, along with their external evaluations, ensures quality of VET.

The national qualifications system (SNQ) ([2]Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 396/2007, de 31 de Dezembro (link to the consolidated legislation).) promotes upper secondary education as the minimum level of attainment, expanding IVET options and flexible learning paths for adults. The SNQ adopted a governance model based on involvement of the different VET providers, sector councils, and social partners, establishing common objectives and instruments. Tools that support SNQ are:

High on the policy agenda are the following challenges:

  • further reducing early leaving from education and training and discourage the entry of unqualified young people into the labour market;
  • increasing adult educational attainment by widening access to learning through modularisation;
  • improving tutor support to learners and reasserting the value of transferable skills in the curricula, in order to tackle education and training failure;
  • modernising learning provision through new teaching methods and wider variety of VET courses leading to competence-based qualifications;
  • offering initial and continuing VET provision in line with labour market requirements;
  • upskilling vulnerable groups and promoting their socio-professional integration.

Policy initiatives have resulted in an increase in upper secondary VET programmes, ensuring that VET programmes lead to double certification, and boosting the RVCC system ([7]Reconhecimento, validação e certificação de competências (recognition, validation and certification of competences)
) development. National authorities are also implementing measures for adults through the Qualifica programme ([8]A programme developed to promote investment in training pathways that will lead to the effective qualification of learners, especially focused on the improvement of adult qualification or employability. Decreto-Lei (Decree-law) n.º 14/2017 de 26 de janeirohttps://www.qualifica.gov.pt/#/programaQualifica 
) and assuring the continuity of lifelong learning policies, through the reinforcement of specialised Qualifica centres, launched in 2016. They target people over 18 years old who seek a qualification, guiding those who are low-skilled to RVCC processes. They provide guidance, counselling for young people (aged 15 or older), especially for NEETs ([9]Not in education, employment or training.), as well as increasing proximity to target populations.

Data adapted from VET in Portugal Spotlight 2018 ([10]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Portugal. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8119_en.pdf
).

Population in 2018: 10 291 027 ([11]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 1.9% due to negative natural growth ([12]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Population is ageing; Portugal is the fourth country with the highest proportion of elderly in the EU.

An old-age-dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 65 in 2060 ([13]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

 

 

Most companies are micro and small-sized. In 2017 the share of individual enterprises was 68.0% ([14]INE (2019).
Empresas em Portugal - 2017.
).

 

Enterprises by class size (%)

 

 

Main economic sectors:

  • commerce;
  • services;
  • construction & real estate activities;
  • agriculture and fisheries.

Since 2011, Portugal made major reforms deregulating professions. In 2019, there are 238 professions and 43 competent authorities registered in the database of the European Commission.

In 2015, a legal framework ([15]Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 37/2015, de 10 de março.) was adopted establishing a different way to gain access into professions and to practice them. According to these new regulations, professional qualifications required to access a particular profession or professional activity are:

  • tertiary education qualifications;
  • training references/standards for non-higher qualifications included in the National Qualifications Catalogue (CNQ);
  • training references of non-higher qualifications not foreseen in the CNQ;
  • diplomas or certificates obtained by passing exams without previous training.

Total unemployment (2018) ([16]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.): 6.0%; it decreased by 1.4 percentage points since 2008 and reached its lowest since 2008 ([17]Source: 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.
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. However, the youth unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) is lower than for those with high-level qualifications.

In 2018, youth unemployment in Portugal was 20.3% (3.6% less than in 2017, but still well above the EU28 average) ([18]Eurostat, table tesem140 [extracted 10.4.2019].).

Employment rate of recent VET graduates increased from 75.1% in 2014 to 84.6% in 2018. Since 2015, the employment rate of VET graduates has been higher than the one of general education graduates.

 

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 in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 (+9.5 pp) was higher compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+8.3 pp) in the same period in Portugal ([19]NB: Breaks in series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

Education attainment in Portugal is traditionally lower than the EU average. The share of people with low-level or no qualification was decreased from 73.7% in 2005 to 50.2% in 2018, but is still the highest in EU. The share of those with medium-level qualifications, although it has significantly increased, is still the second lowest in EU.

 

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

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; low reliability for ‘No response’ in Iceland, Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia.
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

8.0%

40.7%

100%

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

 

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].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET programmes (58.9%), except in the specialised art programmes where in 2016/17 71.5% of learners were females ([20]DGEEC (2018).
Perfil do aluno 2016/2017, pp. 86, 119.
).

Among VET programmes, Professional programmes have the highest percentage of female learners (32.7%).

Post-secondary non-tertiary VET has an even higher rate of males (66.9%) than secondary VET.

Early leaving from education and training has been steadily decreasing from 30.9% in 2009 to 11.8% in 2018. It is still above the national target for 2020 of not more than 10% and the EU-28 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].

 

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults including adult education and training programmes, certified modular training, and recognition of prior learning (Recognition, validation and certification of competences process - RVCC).

 

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].

 

Participation in lifelong learning had been decreasing during the period 2011-13 (economic crisis), while since 2014 has been steady and close to the EU average.

Regarding adults, participation in VET is rising. 27.5% of those enrolled in education/ training programmes are in the process of recognition of prior learning ([21]Recognition of prior learning - Recognition, validation and certification of competences process (RVCC).), which represents a rise of 7.8%; the Education and training programmes for adults (EFA) remain adults’ main option (59.9%).

Information not available

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • basic education (nine years) organised into three cycles integrating primary and lower secondary education (ISCED level 1 and 2);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • tertiary education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8).

Pre-school education is optional and covers children from three to six years old.

Compulsory education lasts 12 school years and starts at the age of six until 18 years old. It comprises basic education that includes nine years of studies until age 15. It is organised into three cycles; the four-year first cycle and the two-year second cycle constitute primary education, while the three-year third cycle corresponds to lower secondary education.

Upper secondary education comprises general (science and humanities) and VET programmes. These three-year programmes give graduates access to tertiary education but also to post-secondary non-tertiary. Permeability is ensured between both paths.

Tertiary education is provided by universities and polytechnics. Pre-conditions to enter tertiary education include successful completion of an upper secondary programme or a similar qualification level, admission exams and specific requirements concerning the area of study.

All VET programmes grant double certification (an education certificate and a professional qualification):

  • at lower secondary level, education and training

programmes targeting those aged 15+ who are at risk of early leaving; they are school-based and include practical training;

  • at upper secondary level, there are three types of school-based VET programme combining general or sociocultural training components, science and technological training with work-based learning (WBL);
  • at post-secondary non-tertiary level, technological specialisation programmes last from one to one-and-a-half years and incorporate WBL;
  • at tertiary level, two-year high professional technical courses are offered by polytechnics (including internship).

Regarding upskilling adults the following programmes exist:

  • adult education and training programmes targeting learners who want to complete lower or upper secondary education and/or obtain a professional qualification;
  • certified modular training;

recognition of prior learning (recognition, validation and certification of competences, RVCC). The two RVCC paths (academic and professional) can lead to either a lower or upper secondary education certificate or a professional qualification ([22]Information taken from the forthcoming Cedefop publication on spotlights compilation (2019).).

Apprenticeship programmes are for young people up to age 25. Programmes include 40% WBL. A training contract between the apprentice and the enterprise (training provider) must be signed ([23]Information taken from the forthcoming Cedefop publication on spotlights compilation (2019).). Curricula are organised in training components: socio-cultural, scientific, technological and practical training in a work environment (WBL) ([24]https://www.refernet.pt/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Apprenticeship_programmes.pdf). A double certification including a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma at EQF level 4 (ISCED 354) is granted upon successful completion of the programme.

The central government has overall responsibility for VET. The education ministry is responsible for school-based programmes, the higher education ministry for tertiary education, and the labour ministry for apprenticeship programmes, continuing vocational training and carrying out active labour market measures.

The SNQ ([25]National Qualifications System (Sistema Nacional de Qualificações - SNQ).), launched in 2007 and revised in January 2017, is the framework of VET; it is coordinated by ANQEP ([26]Agência Nacional para a Qualificação e o Ensino professional (National Agency for Qualification and VET).
) and comprises the main VET stakeholders. SNQ has reorganised VET into a single system. It is based on a balanced relationship between VET within the educational system and VET in the labour market. It has established common objectives, instruments, and complementary tools supporting the implementation of:

  • National Qualifications Framework ([27]Quadro Nacional de Qualificações (QNQ).);
  • National Qualifications Catalogue ([28]Catálogo Nacional de Qualificações (CNQ):
    http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Home/CNQ/
    ): a strategic tool to manage and regulate non-higher VET;
  • National Credit System for VET (Sistema nacional de créditos do EFP);
  • An instrument for Guidance and Individual Record of Qualifications and competences.

Under the SNQ successful completion of VET programmes grants a double certification.

VET is almost entirely funded by public funding through contributions from the state budget, the social security budget and the European Social Fund (ESF). However, the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and Azores, and the municipalities also contribute with funds, as well as the European Social Fund (ESF).

Spending on education has been reduced since 2013, but is slightly above the EU-28 average. General government expenditure on education, in 2016, was 4.9% of GDP (reduced by 1 p.p. since 2013) and 10.8% of total government spending (EU averages were 4.7% and 10.2% respectively). Secondary education takes the highest share of general government expenditure on education (35.4%), followed by pre-primary and primary education (31.4%) and higher education (12.9%). The annual expenditure in Portuguese educational institutions per student is below the EU average ([29]European Commission (2018). Education and training monitor 2018.
https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/document-library-docs/volume-1-2018-education-and-training-monitor-country-analysis.pdf
).

 

Public expenditure on education, EU28 and Portugal, 2016 (%)

Source: European Commission (2018). Education and training monitor 2018. https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/document-library-docs/volume-1-2018-education-and-training-monitor-country-analysis.pdf

 

In VET, there are:

  • VET teachers;
  • school-based trainers;
  • in-company trainers (nationally referred as tutors)
  • technicians of guidance, recognition and validation of competences ([30]Recognition of prior learning - Recognition, validation and certification of competences process (RVCC).);
  • social and personal mediators.

VET teachers are usually responsible for the sociocultural and scientific training components of VET programmes. A master’s degree is the minimum academic qualification for the teaching profession. Access to the teaching profession in the public sector is done via national competition, based on academic qualifications and work experience. Applicants have to pass knowledge and competences exams and undergo a subsequent probationary period.

The school-based trainer profession is regulated by 2011 legislation ([31]Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 214/2011, de 30 de maio. Note that the legislation does not differentiate the place of work. Cedefop uses school-based trainer for international comparison reasons.), which made initial pedagogical training of trainers compulsory. Although the minimum length of the initial pedagogical training is 90 hours, a training framework of 10-hour modules introduced more flexibility, allowing a more versatile offer adaptable to the needs of each candidate.

The basic requirements for trainers are:

  • an initial pedagogical training certification; and
  • a higher education degree in relevant scientific, technical, technological and practical training; or
  • training (in components, units or modules) oriented towards competences based on operational/work capacity, provided that trainers hold qualifications equal to the qualification to be granted to learners, and that they have at least five years of proven professional experience.

In-company trainers are professionals that work in the enterprises; there is no specific regulation for their role. In-company trainers should be selected among workers whose professional and pedagogical competences are recognised by the enterprise. In-company trainers are responsible for implementing learner individual activity plan, for assuring learner’s integration in the labour environment, and for assessing the learner; they are also the link between the enterprise and the VET institution. Each in-company trainer may accompany simultaneously up to five learners.

Technicians of guidance, recognition and validation of competences work in Qualifica centres ([32]Qualifica centres target people over 18 years old who are seeking a qualification and, exceptionally, young NEETs; they initiate and develop RVCC.). They must have a higher education degree and experience in one of the following areas: education or professional guidance, and methodologies for monitoring the learning development of young people and adults ([33]Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 232/2016, de 29 de agosto.). They are responsible for hosting RVCC candidates providing information and guidance; they are also responsible for the diagnosis of their needs.

Social and personal mediators work in institutions providing EFA programmes/courses ([34]Adult education and training (EFA) programmes target learners who want to complete lower or upper secondary education and/or obtain a professional qualification at EQF 2 to 4.
).Trainers or guidance professionals, holders of higher education qualifications and training to perform the role of mediator or relevant experience on adult education and training can fulfil the tasks of a mediator ([35]Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 230/2008, de 7 de março.). They are responsible for recruiting and selecting learners and supporting them with personal, social and pedagogical issues; they also participate in the analysis and evaluation of each learner’s profile and help them identify the most appropriate adult education and training offer.

Teacher Continuing professional development (CPD) is mandatory for their career progression ([36]Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 22/2014, de 11 de fevereiro.). There are different CPD types such as training courses with variable length, workshops, internships and projects accredited by the authority body ([37]Conselho Científico-Pedagógico da Formação Contínua (CCPFC).). The offers can be provided by higher education institutions; training centres run by school associations ([38]Centros de Formação de Associação de Escolas (CFAE).) or run by non-profit scientific associations; central services of the education ministry; public, private or cooperative associations accredited. For career progression, it is required the participation in one-fifth of the total number of hours of compulsory training in the respective career echelon.

School-based trainer CPD is also ruled by the 2011 legislation ([39]See footnote 31.
). Trainers that want to teach socio-cultural and scientific components of VET programmes included in the SNQ are required to hold the same qualifications as teachers do.

Continuous training of trainers is based on several referential/standards of competences, organised in a modular structure path with flexible length. It may include one or more of the following dimensions:

  • pedagogical: modules aim at improving, deepening or diversifying the competences of trainers. They may also include critical reflection and reinforcement of competences acquired at the initial pedagogical training in organisational, practical, deontological and ethical issues;
  • scientific and/or technological: modules aim at guaranteeing a permanent updating of the trainer’s knowledge and skills in their specific area of intervention, taking into account the constant technical and organisational changes occurring in the labour market, and;
  • operational research: modules directed to the analysis, research and optimisation of referential/standards, models, processes and training methods, ensuring their transferability or application in different contexts, with special focus on WBL.

Trainer CPD is organised into units of 10 hours (or multiples of 10 hours), structured according to its training standard. Seminars, technical meetings, workshops or similar events may have a shorter duration, but can be recognised and used for career advancement.

Launched in March 2015, the system for anticipating qualification needs (SANQ) ([40]Sistema de Antecipação de Necessidades de Qualificações (SANQ):
http://sanq.anqep.gov.pt/?page_id=23
), currently running under the supervision of ANQEP ([41]Agência Nacional para a Qualificação e o Ensino professional (National Agency for Qualification and VET).
), allows for anticipating the future needs of the labour market. It also sheds light into the priority areas and job opportunities in VET. SANQ has been strengthened, namely through the diversity of analysed data and the involvement of a significant and representative number of stakeholders at regional/local level.

IEFP ([42]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).) has been also developing annual lists aiming to enable VET programmes meet the real needs of the labour market. The List of priorities for VET 2018-19 ([43]https://www.iefp.pt/documents/10181/227378/2018-02-22+-+Sa%C3%ADdas+profissionais_Prioridade+IEFP+2018-2019.pdf/e330d255-9061-4210-bd30-3155c608bae4) at regional and local level is available online and intends to identify a set of areas and vocational opportunities in line with the priorities of the economy, to upskill professionals, to promote the competitiveness of Portuguese enterprises, and to promote the creation of high-skilled jobs.

Sector Councils for Qualification (CSQ), coordinated by ANQEP, are also responsible for regularly identifying the developments and changes regarding skill needs in different sectors. They are technical and consultative working groups; their role is mainly strategic and ensures the active and regular participation of the relevant economic and social stakeholders.

The following instruments also contribute in developing an integrated system to anticipate skills demand and supply:

  • the Integrated System for Information and Management of Education and Training (SIGO) is a platform that stores all data concerning education and training programmes for young people and adults. It is a key instrument for managing and monitoring training actions and issuing training certificates;
  • the Industrial Relations Centre (Centro de Relações Laborais - CRL) is a tripartite technical entity that provides information, promotes discussions and creates conditions for better employment policies with an open perspective about social and labour context, always taking into account the improvement of professional qualifications, employability, and collective bargaining. CRL has administrative autonomy and legal personality, but functions under the labour ministry. It is equally composed of representatives of the Government, the confederations of employers and the trade unions; it intends to improve the interaction between these bodies and to engage the scientific community.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([44]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast)

2017 legislation ([45]Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 14/2017 de 26 de janeiro:
https://dre.pt/application/file/a/105808732
) reinforces the importance of SANQ ([46]Sistema de Antecipação de Necessidades de Qualificações (SANQ):
http://sanq.anqep.gov.pt/?page_id=23
) in designing and updating qualifications in the CNQ ([47]Catálogo nacional de qualificações (CNQ) (National qualifications catalogue).). SANQ influences mostly the number and the design of VET programmes and courses, in order labour market needs to be addressed at regional level.

Upper secondary school-based VET programmes under the responsibility of the education ministry and professional training provided by the Public Employment Services of IEFP ([48]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).) are independent of the SANQ output.

The National Qualifications Catalogue (CNQ) ([49]http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Home/CNQ/) was launched in 2008. It is designed as a tool of strategic management of the qualifications framework for VET at non-tertiary level that helps regulate VET provision leading to double certification. One of its main objectives is to elaborate qualifications standards and key competences needed for the competitiveness and modernisation of the economy and for the personal and social development of individuals. The qualifications in the CNQ are organised by certification level training areas. In 2018, the CNQ included 310 qualifications in 41 areas of education and training.

Each standard for qualification of CNQ is composed by:

  • a professional profile comprising the work activities associated with the qualifications, as well as the knowledge and skills (professional, personal and social) needed to perform these activities;
  • a training framework establishing the content as well as the information needed to organise provision according to the framework of competences leading to double certification. It consists of a basic training component (school oriented) and a technological training component organised by autonomously certifiable units of short duration (from 25 to 50 hours), allowing for flexible qualification paths and permeability between the same area of education and training;
  • a framework for RVCC ([50]Recognition of prior learning - Recognition, validation and certification of competences process (RVCC).) of either formally or informally acquired competences helps guiding a candidate in a qualification path according to his/her needs and leads to the acquisition of a certificate (at the level of basic or secondary education) and/or a training certificate (at EQF level 2 or 4).

The open consultation process ([51]Modelo aberto de consulta (open consultation process):
http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Home/MAC
) is another mechanism that allows entities to participate in updating the CNQ through the revision, integration and/or exclusion of qualifications from the CNQ, as well as changing a professional profile or training reference and a standard of RVCC. The process endows the Catalogue with a greater dynamism and widens the debate around qualifications needs. Stakeholders can submit on-line their proposals. If the proposal concerns a new qualification, and if it is accepted, a three-stage process takes place leading to the publication of the new qualification in the official Bulletin for Labour and Employment ([52]http://bte.gep.msess.gov.pt/). Finally, the new qualification will be integrated into the CNQ and will be made available online given it fulfils specific criteria.

Sector Councils for Qualifications (CSQ) support the update and development of CNQ by presenting or analysing proposals for the revision, integration and exclusion of qualifications from the CNQ. They are expanded technical and consultative working groups involving stakeholders such as representatives of ministries, social partners, enterprises and training providers. CSQ are responsible for:

  • identifying the needs for qualifications and competences that respond to these changes;
  • presenting the appropriate proposals for updating and developing the CNQ;
  • analysing and advising on external proposals for updating and developing CNQ;
  • supporting the design of qualifications;
  • facilitating the cooperation, co-responsibility among the relevant bodies of each economic sector aiming to promote the development of innovative solutions for better competences and qualifications, and;
  • identifying technical and methodological competences to support ANQEP ([53]Agência Nacional para a Qualificação e o Ensino professional (National Agency for Qualification and VET).
    ) in the processes of updating and developing the CNQ.

DGERT ([54]Direção-Geral do Emprego e Relações Profissionais (General Directorate for Employment and Industrial Relations)
) is responsible for the accreditation ([55]Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 208/2013, de 26 de junho.) of VET providers (nationally referred to as certification) ([56]See also:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/portugal-certification-training-providers
). Education providers under the responsibility of the education ministry are exempt from accreditation.

Accreditation process

The requirements for the accreditation of VET providers are divided into two groups:

  • prerequisites: To apply for accreditation, VET providers should meet essential legal conditions;
  • quality requirements: The quality requirements of VET providers refer to:
  • the internal structure and organisation (human resources, facilities and equipment) of the provider;
  • the development process of training programmes (planning, design, organisation, development and training assessment);
  • assessment of outcomes and continuous improvement (post-training follow-up, annual assessment of results, constant improvement measures).

Initial accreditation

VET providers should define the training or education programme which will be under evaluation and self-evaluate its structure and practices against the quality standards. Subsequently providers submit an electronic request for accreditation to DGERT, which can then carry out evaluation (technical, documentary or audit-supported) to certify that they can develop a training programme in a specific thematic area. As long as accredited VET providers meet requirements, they can develop a new training offer and request extension of their certification to other education or training thematic areas

Maintaining accreditation

Maintaining accreditation is regularly assessed by DGERT through audits considering the results of providers’ training activity. DGERT follows the general criteria ([57]https://certifica.dgert.gov.pt/processo-de-certificacao1/manter-a-certificacao/auditoria-de-manutencao.aspx):

  • date of the initial accreditation;
  • signalling of changes in the structure or training activity;
  • signalling of complaints received by DGERT;

Accreditation benefits

  • quality accreditation;
  • training diploma referenced to national qualifications system;
  • access to national or community public funding programmes for vocational training;
  • tax exemption on VAT for training products and services;
  • deduction of training expenses in individual income tax.

 

Another national approach to improve quality assurance in VET and related WBL has been devised using the EQAVET framework. VET providers have been aligning their quality assurance approaches to the EQAVET framework and the overall objective is that, when the quality assurance approach is fully implemented, all VET providers can adopt it and be awarded a quality label based on EQAVET quality criteria and indicative descriptors. This plan will be gradually carried out until 2020.

Recognition of prior learning (recognition, validation and certification of competences process - RVCC) comprises the identification of formal, non-formal and informal competences developed throughout life; through the development of specific activities and the application of a set of appropriate evaluation tools. Adults may start this process at any time at a Qualifica centre ([58]Qualifica centres target young people (aged 15 or older), provide guidance and counselling especially for NEETs and initiate and develop RVCC processes for low-skilled adults.).

RVCC process has two distinct paths: the education and the professional.

To access educational or professional RVCC processes, candidates must be at least 18 years old and possess sufficient knowledge in relation to the key competence and the professional competence framework. 23-years old or younger candidates must also submit proof of a minimum of three years professional experience via a statement issued by the relevant social security office.

One of the tools used in the RVCC process to evaluate the candidates is the reflective learning portfolio (portefólio reflexivo). It is a written record of the candidate's competences acquired throughout life; it also presents a critical appraisal of their knowledge, competence development, prior experience, and education. It includes all relevant supporting documentation linked to the different areas of the portfolio. Validation of these competences is done under the referential framework of key competences elaborated by ANQEP ([59]Agência Nacional para a Qualificação e o Ensino professional (National Agency for Qualification and VET).
).

A jury appointed by a Qualifica Centre does the certification of competences after the evaluation of the candidate. It can include written, oral or practical evaluation, or a combination of the three, that can be organised by key competences areas in the case of the education path, or by professional competences in the case of the professional path.

Candidates can obtain a full certification (when they have proven that they possess all the competence units of the standard) or a partial certification. In the education path, a full certification enables the candidate to obtain a certificate of basic education (4, 6 or 9 years of schooling) or upper-secondary education (12 years of schooling) corresponding to EQF levels 1 to 4. In the professional path, a full certification testifies that the candidate holds the competences of specific professional standard at EQF level 2 and 4. Partial certifications allow the candidate to attend the remaining training to obtain a qualification.

These processes are under the responsibility of the Qualifica Centres, managed by ANQEP. Currently there are around 290 centres spread all over the country.

Participation in RVCC processes in 2017 was 11.1% when compared with all adults enrolled in VET offers.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([60]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

Allowances, grants and scholarships target learners with low income. The Operational Programme for Human Capital (Programa Operacional Capital Humano – POCH) foresees financial incentives for VET learners. Learners receive these incentives through VET providers. Incentives for VET learners are:

  • a scholarship received by learners during the WBL period (subject to learner’s attendance);
  • study material (Bolsa de material de estudo);
  • travel allowance;
  • accommodation subsidies for learners living more than 50km away from the VET provider premises;
  • food/ meals subsidies.

The most relevant funding for VET programmes and VET providers, including enterprises, is the Operational Programme for Human Capital (Programa Operacional Capital Humano - POCH), complemented by some actions of the Operational Programme for Employment and Social Inclusion (Programa Operacional Inclusão Social e Emprego - POISE). Moreover, VET support for employed adults is carried out by enterprises under the monitoring and evaluation of the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation (POCI/COMPETE 2020). These operational programmes fall under Portugal 2020 ([61]https://www.portugal2020.pt/Portal2020), a partnership agreement adopted between Portugal and the European Commission, which brings together the work of the five European structural and investment funds, including ESF.

Formal guidance is provided by professionals at schools, IEFP ([62]Training Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational).
) public employment services and Qualifica Centres ([63]Qualifica centres target people over 18 years old who are seeking a qualification and, exceptionally, young NEETs; they initiate and develop recognition, validation and certification of competences process (RVCC).).

School psychology and counselling services develop their activity in the psycho-pedagogical field supporting learners and teachers in developing school community relationships and in providing lifelong guidance. They work in an integrated way and in close contact with the educational community, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents, caregivers, and other educational agents in the surrounding area.

The IEFP has a network of Professional Integration Offices (Gabinetes de inserção profissional - GIP) supported by public and private non-profit organisations. GIPs are accredited to provide support to unemployed young people and adults to (re)-enter labour market in close cooperation with employment services; they also promote VET awareness. IEFP also runs an online platform ( Vi@s), which provides information, allows users to interact and eases users in managing their career. It also supports guidance professionals, teachers and parents.

The main objectives of Qualifica Centres are to:

  • Inform and guide individuals to VET programmes that best fit their profiles, needs, motivations and expectations;
  • initiate and develop Recognition, validation and certification of competences processes (RVCC);
  • increase awareness among young people, adults, and enterprises/employers about lifelong learning.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

CTeSP

2 years,

WBL =/> 25%

ISCED 554

Higher professional technical programmes (cursos técnicos superiores profissionais - CTeSP) leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554 ([85a]According to Deliberação n.º 343/2017, de 2 de maio de 2017. http://dre.pt/application/file/a/106931970 
).

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual entry age

18

Length of a programme (years)

2 (four academic semesters)

  
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?

Not applicable

Is it offered free of charge?

N

In public higher education the value of the fees is set according to each programmes and with a minimum amount corresponding to 1.3 of the national minimum wage and a maximum calculated on the basis of the consumer price index ([84]https://www.dges.gov.pt/pt/pagina/propinas?plid=371).

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Graduates are credited 120 ECTS points (practical training lasts at least one semester and grants 30 ECTS points)

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

These programmes comprise school-based general, scientific and technical components, and practical training which takes place through an internship

Main providers

These programmes are provided by polytechnic institutions

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>= 25%

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

Programmes are available for young people and adults.

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

To enter CTeSP programmes learners must have:

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a CTeSP programme, learners need to succeed in the final examinations of the subjects and achieve the number of ECTS required.

Diplomas/certificates provided

These programmes lead to a Diploma of Higher Professional Technician at EQF level 5 (not a higher education degree)

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

CTeSP graduates can access the 1st cycle of higher education programmes or integrated master programmes through specific application procedures, leading to a higher education degree.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

These programmes comprise general and scientific training components

Key competences

Y

These comprise general and scientific training components

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

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

CET

1-1.5 years,

WBL 30-46%

ISCED 454

Technological specialisation programmes (cursos de especialização tecnológica - CET) leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade


Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

19-20

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 1.5 years (from 1 200 to 1 560 hours)

  
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?

It depends on the training provider. Whenever the training provider applies to public funding the CET programmes are free of charge.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Through agreements with higher tertiary institutions CET graduates are credited 60 to 90 ECTS points

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

CET programmes comprise general, scientific and technological training components and WBL:

  • general and scientific - aims at developing attitudes and behaviours appropriate for higher level qualification professionals, adaptability to the labour and corporate world; and improving, if needed, the scientific knowledge related with the specific technological field of study.
  • technological - integrates areas of a technological nature oriented to the understanding of practical activities and to the resolution of problems in the professional practice.
  • WBL - aims at applying the knowledge and know-how acquired to the practical activities of the respective professional profile; and performing tasks under guidance, using the techniques, equipment and materials that are integrated in the production processes of goods or services. The WBL can adopt different types of practical training in a real work context, namely internships and it is developed through partnership.
Main providers

These programmes are provided by public, private and cooperative schools, vocational training centres direct or jointly managed by IEFP([83]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).), technological schools and other training providers certified by the labour ministry

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

30% to 46%

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

CET programmes are available for young people and adults.

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

To enter CET programmes learners must have:

  • an upper secondary qualification (EQF level 4); or
  • successfully completed all school subjects of the 10th and 11th years and have been enrolled in the 12th year but not completed it; or
  • a professional qualification at EQF level 3 or 4, or;
  • a specialisation technological certificate or a higher education degree and wishing to have a professional requalification.
Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a CET programme, learners need to pass formative and summative assessments according to the professional competences that the technological specialisation diploma certifies. A CET graduate is the one who has been approved in all their training components including the practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Graduates receive a qualification at EQF level 5 (ISCED 454) and a technological specialisation diploma called Diploma de Especialização Tecnológica (DET).

Examples of qualifications

Training is offered in various fields such as computer science, trade, electronics and automation, and tourism and recreation.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The CET diploma allows learners to apply to higher education through a special admission procedure determined by a broader regulatory framework, provided that they meet the entry requirements set by each academic institution.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

These programmes comprise general and scientific training components.

Key competences

Y

These programmes comprise general and scientific training components.

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

CEF programmes for >15 years-olds,

3 years,

WBL 17%

ISCED 254

Education and training programmes for young people (cursos de educação e formação de jovens - CEF) including four types of initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 254
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

254

Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

9

Usual entry age

15 (minimum)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([67]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 21) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 120 ([66]Article 5 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

CEF programmes comprise four training components: sociocultural, scientific, technological and practical including a minimum of 210 hours of work-based learning (WBL) each year.

Main providers

- network of public, private and cooperative schools;

- professional schools;

- IEFP ([68]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).) vocational training centres (directly and jointly managed);

- accredited training providers; linked with community entities, namely local authorities, enterprises or business organisations, other social partners and local or regional associations, set up by protocols aimed at maximising physical structures and human and material resources.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

17%

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

The aim of these programmes is to reduce the high number of early school leavers. Learners must be 15 or more years old and without a lower secondary education qualification.

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

Learners must have completed only the first cycle of basic education (four years) and be at least 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners’ assessment is carried out per subject/area and per training component. Assessment is formative and summative and includes a final test comprising a professional performance presentation in front of a jury, with one or more practical works related with the most relevant knowledge and skills included in the programme profile

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful completion of a CEF leads to a double certification: an education certificate (3rd cycle of lower secondary education certificate at EQF level 2 ISCED 254) and a professional qualification. A learner that only completed the 2nd cycle of basic education receives a certificate of EQF level 1 and a professional qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Training is offered in various fields, such as crafts, computer sciences, environmental protection, accounting, management, beauty care, domestic services, therapy and rehabilitation, electronics, food industry, metallurgy.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression is allowed to upper secondary education and to higher level CEF programmes after meeting certain requirements

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Two of the four training components of CEF programmes is the sociocultural (including Portuguese; foreigner language; and, ICT) and the scientific (including applied sciences, including mathematic).

Key competences

Y

Two of the four training components of CEF programmes is the sociocultural (including Portuguese; foreigner language; and, ICT) and the scientific (with applied sciences, including mathematic).

Application of learning outcomes approach

information not available

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

6.9% of all VET learners in lower and upper secondary education were in these programmes ([69]DGEEC (2018). Estatísticas da Educação 2016/2017: jovens [Education statistics 2016/17: young people].
http://www.dgeec.mec.pt/np4/96/%7B$clientServletPath%7D/?newsId=145&fileName=DGEEC_DSEE_DEEBS_2018_EE20162017_Jovens.pdf
)

EQF 4

CEF 1-3 years,

WBL 15-19%

ISCED 354

Education and training programmes for young people (cursos de educação e formação de jovens - CEF). Including three types of initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 3 years (from 1 125 to 2 276 hours)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([71]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 21) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 180 ([70]Article 6 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

These programmes combine sociocultural, scientific and technological school-based training with work-based learning (WBL).

Main providers
  • network of public, private and cooperative schools;
  • professional schools;
  • IEFP vocational training centres (directly and joint managed);
  • accredited training providers; linked with community entities, namely local authorities, enterprises or business organisations, other social partners and local or regional associations, set up by protocols aimed at maximising physical structures and human and material resources.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

15%-19%

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

These programmes aim to reduce the high number of early school leavers. They are meant to enhance learner integration into the labour market and to motivate them to continue further studies/training by providing flexible learning paths in line with their expectations and local labour market needs.

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

Learners should have completed basic education or lower secondary education CEF programmes.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is formative and summative, including a final test that comprises a professional performance presentation in front of a jury, with one or more practical assessments related to the most relevant knowledge and skills included in the programme profile.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful completion of a CEF leads to a double certification – a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma at EQF level 4.

Examples of qualifications

Training is offered in various fields, such as crafts, computer sciences, environmental protection, accounting, management, beauty care, domestic services, therapy and rehabilitation, electronics, food industry, metallurgy.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After being awarded a double certification, learners can continue their studies at:

  • post-secondary non-tertiatry; or
  • tertiary education.

as long as they meet the relevant access requirements.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

These programmes include sociocultural (including Portuguese; foreigner language; and, ICT) and scientific (including applied sciences) training components.

Key competences

Y

These programmes include sociocultural (including Portuguese; foreigner language; and, ICT) and scientific (including applied sciences) training components.

Application of learning outcomes approach

information not available

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

0.29% ([70a]2016/2017

 
).

EQF 4

Apprenticeship

programmes,

3 years,

WBL >40%

ISCED 354

Apprenticeship programmes (cursos de aprendizagem). Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (maximum of 3 700 hours)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([73]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 25) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 180 ([72]Article 6 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

These programmes comprise school-based sociocultural, scientific and technological training and WBL in an enterprise.

Main providers

These programmes are provided by IEFP ([74]Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional (Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).) vocational training centres or private providers (e.g. employers’ associations, companies, trade unions) under protocols with IEFP.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

> 40%

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

These programmes target young learners up to 25 years old.

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

Learners should have successfully completed the 9th year of schooling (the 3rd cycle of basic education/lower secondary education or a CEF programmes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The assessment is formative and summative. The final evaluation test (Prova de Avaliação Final - PAF) constitutes an integrated set of practical activities at the end of the training programme that helps a jury assess the competences acquired during training.

Diplomas/certificates provided

A double certification – a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma at EQF level 4 (ISCED 354) is granted upon successful completion of the programme.

Examples of qualifications

Priority areas of training include audio-visual and media production, computer sciences, trade, construction and repair of motor vehicles, electricity and energy, electronics and automation, hospitality and catering, manufacturing of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather, metallurgy and technologies of chemical processing.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

After being awarded the double certification, learners can continue their studies at:

• post-secondary non-tertiary; or

• tertiary education.

as long as they meet the relevant requirements set by the higher education establishment for the respective field of study.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

These programmes include sociocultural and scientific training.

Key competences

Y

These programmes include sociocultural and scientific training.

Application of learning outcomes approach

It depends on the fields of education and training ([75]http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Destaques/Detalhe/172).

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

14.5% ([76a]2016/2017
).

EQF 4

Professional

programmes,

3 years,

WBL 19-24%

ISCED 354

Professional programmes (cursos profissionais) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (from 3 100 to 3 440 hours)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([77]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 25) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 180 ([76]Article 6 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

These programmes combine the following training components:

  • sociocultural, scientific and technological training (school-based components); and
  • work-based learning (WBL) in the form of a traineeship carried out in enterprises or other organisations.
Main providers

Programmes are offered by professional, public (upper secondary) or private schools.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

19% - 24%

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

The technological training component includes subjects of technological, technical and practical nature provided at school. It also includes in-company practice foreseen in an agreement between the school and the enterprise and has a minimum duration of 600 hours up to a maximum of 840 hours. The learner’s work plan, once signed, is considered an integral part of the training contract (different from a labour contract).

Main target groups

These programmes target learners that want to follow a more practical and labour market-oriented programme.

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

To enrol in these programmes learners need to be between 15 and 18 years old (with exceptions foreseen by legislation) and to have completed lower secondary education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The programme has formative and summative assessment and includes a presentation of a project called Proof of Professional Aptitude (Prova de Aptidão Profissional - PAP) in front of a jury.

Diplomas/certificates provided

They lead to a double certification – a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma

Examples of qualifications

Training fields include applied arts, business administration, computer sciences, electronics, engineering, energy, construction and architecture, food industries, health services, tourism and hospitality, etc.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can pursue further studies in Technological specialisation programmes, access higher education, upon the fulfilment of requirements foreseen in the regulations, or enter the labour market.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Y

These programmes include three general education subjects (common for all training fields): Portuguese, foreign languages and physics.

Key competences

Y

These programmes include three general education subjects (common for all training fields): Portuguese, foreign languages and physics.

Application of learning outcomes approach

It depends on the fields of education and training ([78]http://www.catalogo.anqep.gov.pt/Destaques/Detalhe/172).

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

68.7% ([79]DGEEC (2018). Estatísticas da Educação 2016/2017: jovens [Education statistics 2016/17: young people].
http://www.dgeec.mec.pt/np4/96/%7B$clientServletPath%7D/?newsId=145&fileName=DGEEC_DSEE_DEEBS_2018_EE20162017_Jovens.pdf
)

EQF 4

Art education

programmes,

3 years,

WBL varies

ISCED 344, 354

Art education programmes (cursos artísticos especializados) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 344, 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

344, 354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3 (from 3 645 to 6 390 hours according to the training field)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

In 2009, compulsory education was extended to 12 years of schooling, between the age of six and 18 ([81]Lei (Law) n.º 85/2009, de 25 de agosto.).

18

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

Exempt of fees for learners under compulsory education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

The legislation does not set an age limit, but only young adults (up to the age of 21) attend it.

ECVET or other credits

Depending on the programme, the minimum of credits is 180 ([80]Article 6 of the
Portaria (Ordinance) n.º 47/2017, de 1 de fevereiro.
).

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

These programmes combine:

  • education, science and technological training (school-based components); and
  • work-based learning (WBL) in the form of a traineeship carried out in enterprises or other organisations.
Main providers

Programmes are offered by public, private or cooperative 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)

The technical-artistic component includes practical training at school and in-company practice. It is mandatory only in the third year of the programme (12th year of schooling). It is preferentially performed at the workplace, in workshops, companies or other organisations, through the transmission of know-how, by taking on occasional jobs or via an internship. It can be performed via the simulation of a set of relevant professional activities to the programme profile, developed in similar conditions to a real world working context, integrated in the school subject of the Technical-artistic training component called ‘Project and Technologies’.

Main target groups

These programmes target learners who want to have a career in the artistic field of their choice and develop their capacities and talent or to take further studies/training in one of the fields.

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

Learners must be at least 15 years old and completed the 3rd cycle of lower secondary education (9th year of schooling).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Assessment is formative and summative, including a final test (Prova de Aptidão Artistica - PAA) that comprises a professional performance presentation in front of a jury, with one or more practical assessments related to the most relevant knowledge & skills included in the programme profile.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Successful completion of an art education programme leads to a double certification (a professional qualification and a 12th year school leaving diploma).

Examples of qualifications

The programme in the field of visual arts includes communication design, product design, and artistic production. The programme in the audio-visual field includes audio-visual communication.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Progression is possible to technological specialisation programmes (EQF level 5) or higher education (university or polytechnic), provided that learners meet the access requirements.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

These programmes have a general and a scientific training component.

Key competences

Y

These programmes have a general and a scientific training component.

Application of learning outcomes approach

information not available

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

1.3% ([82]DGEEC (2018). Estatísticas da Educação 2016/2017: jovens [Education statistics 2016/17: young people].
http://www.dgeec.mec.pt/np4/96/%7B$clientServletPath%7D/?newsId=145&fileName=DGEEC_DSEE_DEEBS_2018_EE20162017_Jovens.pdf
)

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