A new education, science and technology strategy, discussed last year, is being prepared. The strategy aims to create a society of equal opportunities based on know-how, where education and science are development priorities not only for Croatian society as a whole, but for each individual.
The strategy is aligned with EU strategies for 2020 and also includes goals for 2025. Its underlying principle is the ’knowledge triangle’ which consists of lifelong learning, science and innovation.
It aims to create conditions for research and innovation focused on excellent science, industrial leadership and society challenges, as well as conditions to provide high quality education for all and enable science to contribute to job creation and socioeconomic prosperity.
It covers the entire education and training system. Regarding vocational education and training (VET), emphasis lies on the importance of linking education and training better to the labour market, and on improving learning outcomes and skills. It underlines the need to modernise pre-service and in-service teacher training and establish a model for continuing professional development which should be monitored based on teacher competence standards. Special attention will be given to information and communication technology (ICT) in teaching and learning.
A national curriculum for VET will be developed to establish common values, principles and objectives for all forms of VET. The guiding principles are:
- flexible VET through modularised programmes;
- delaying specialisation to the final grades to avoid learners being prematurely directed to specific occupations and increase flexibility of the future workforce;
- providing general education and key competences as a basis for further education and lifelong learning;
- gradually introducing work-based learning;
- preparing and implementing a forecasting model based on needs, plans and trends in VET sectors at county, regional and national levels;
- easing transition from upper secondary VET to various forms of higher education through additional educational programmes and by removing barriers and dead ends.
It is also necessary to develop progression opportunities for learners in three-year VET programmes. The strategy also aims to set up regional VET competence centres and improved programme offers at VET schools based on needs analyses in line with regional development.