Comprehensive curricular reform is under way in Croatia, guided by the 2014 Strategy for education, science and technology. The first segment of the reform, creating 52 new curriculum documents, was completed at the end of February 2016.
The expert working groups for early and preschool, primary and secondary education, which started their work in February 2015, comprise 430 experts and teachers from schools and universities. The main goals were renewing education to correspond to the learner’s age and interests, preparing them for the world of work, further education and contemporary life challenges, along with defining clear learning outcomes and new changing roles for teachers and educational institutions.
The working groups designed the overall framework and a range of new national curricula for different levels and types of education:
- early and preschool education and upbringing;
- primary education;
- gymnasium education;
- vocational education and training (VET);
- art education.
The new national curricula define the purpose, values, goals and principles for education cycles. They define and direct learning, teaching, assessment and reporting in a manner that corresponds to the level and type of education.
The national VET curriculum aims to provoke continuous development, respecting individual needs and labour market influences, and with a strong emphasis on fostering entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity. Various formats of work-based learning are strongly encouraged. The reform also foresees development of sectoral VET curricula to introduce both more congruence and flexibility in VET through electivity and modularity, while ensuring sound general education and key competence development as a basis for VET graduate progression to further education and lifelong learning.
Along with the new curricula, three new national frameworks were developed, addressing:
- overall learning processes and outcomes assessment;
- adaptation to the needs of learners with disabilities, encouraging and improving their experiences and assessment;
- improvement and encouragement of talented learner processes of learning and outcomes assessment.
National documents for seven curriculum areas (technical and informatics, physical and health, mathematical, language-communication, natural sciences, art, social and humanities) have also been developed and accompanied by 29 subject curricula. Seven curricula for cross-curricular topics were created, encompassing learning to learn, entrepreneurship, personal and social development, health, sustainable development, use of ICT, and civil education.
Following publication of the document proposals, both experts and general public consultation processes are foreseen. Public consultation will be through the central government portal for e‑consultations (https://esavjetovanja.gov.hr). The VET and Adult Education Agency will organise expert consultation among VET schools.
Trial implementation of the new curricula is expected to commence in school year 2016/17, with full implementation to start in 2017/18.