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Croatia: VET curricula reform places VET in the spotlight

Two flagship initiatives for the modernisation of education address vocational and general education components of VET.

In early 2019, the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education (ASOO) signed an agreement to implement the project Modernisation of the vocational education and training system, funded through the European Social Fund, with total project value of over EUR 30 million. This initiative is expected to impact significantly quality, relevance and innovation in VET provision through comprehensive redesign of VET curricula in line with identified labour market needs, focus on learning outcomes, work-based learning and updating teaching materials.

The new curricular approach is expected to offer greater flexibility and autonomy to schools and ensure intensive training and support to VET schools and teachers implementing the new curricula. Future steps in VET curriculum reform include the development of occupational standards and qualifications standards in VET, sectoral and VET curricula, along with a model of school curricula for VET schools, teacher manuals and supporting teaching materials. Further, the ASOO will continuously provide extensive support to VET schools in introducing and implementing sectoral, VET and individual school curricula through teacher training, school visits and consultations, as well as through an interactive online platform. Finally, a national public awareness campaign will assist successful project implementation by engaging teachers, principals, students and parents in support of the reform process. The project will run until December 2022.

As the central initiative of the VET system development programme 2016-20, the modernisation of the VET system complements the efforts of the broader education reform at national level. In 2018-19, the Ministry of Science and Education launched the experimental programme School for life, implementing a comprehensive curricular reform in general education at primary and secondary levels, including general education subjects in VET. The programme involves 48 primary schools and 26 secondary schools across the country, 8 456 students and 2 000 teachers, school directors and staff. In VET schools, the programme is implemented in general education subjects in the first year of four-year VET programmes at CROQF level 4.2/EQF level 4. The aim of the experimental programme is to prepare schools for the mainstream introduction of the curricular reform in general education subjects as of school year 2019/20. The participating schools benefit from the opportunity to implement new experimental curricula, new teaching materials and digital teaching contents, professional development, investment in digitalisation of the school infrastructure, as well as expert guidance and support. Finally, continuous nation-wide capacity-building efforts are deployed to familiarize teachers with the general education reform and motivate them to embrace the forthcoming change.