Croatia, a beautiful country located in Southeast Europe, is known for its rich history, stunning coastline, and high-quality education system. The Croatian educational system is well-structured and offers a variety of options for both local and international students. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive overview of the educational system in Croatia, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language requirements, public and private school options, and alternative schooling methods such as homeschooling and online schooling.
What are the main stages of education in Croatia?
The Croatian educational system is divided into four main stages: preschool education, primary education, secondary education, and higher education. Preschool education is optional and caters to children aged 6 months to 6 years. Primary education is compulsory and lasts for eight years, typically for children aged 6 to 14. Secondary education, also compulsory, lasts for three to five years and is divided into gymnasiums (general education) and vocational schools. Higher education includes undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate studies.
Preschool Education in Croatia
Preschool education in Croatia is not compulsory and caters to children from 6 months to 6 years old. It focuses on the child’s overall development, including physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. The curriculum is play-based and encourages creativity and exploration. Preschool education is provided by kindergartens, which can be public or private.
Primary Education in Croatia
Primary education in Croatia is compulsory and lasts for eight years, typically for children aged 6 to 14. The curriculum includes subjects like Croatian language, mathematics, foreign language, natural and social sciences, arts, and physical education. The primary education aims to provide a solid foundation for further education and personal development.
How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?
Newcomers can enroll their children in Croatian schools by submitting an application to the chosen school. The application should include the child’s birth certificate, proof of residence, and previous school records. If the documents are not in Croatian, they should be translated and notarized. The school may also require a health certificate for the child.
My children are still learning Croatian, can they enroll in a public school?
Yes, children who are still learning Croatian can enroll in public schools. Croatian schools offer Croatian as a Second Language (CSL) programs to help non-native speakers. However, the main language of instruction in public schools is Croatian, so it might be challenging for children who do not speak the language fluently.
Are there public bilingual schools?
Yes, there are public bilingual schools in Croatia, particularly in larger cities like Zagreb. These schools offer a bilingual curriculum, with instruction in both Croatian and a foreign language, usually English or German. Admission to these schools is competitive and may require a language proficiency test.
What types of private schools are common in Croatia?
Private schools in Croatia include international schools, bilingual schools, and religious schools, particularly Catholic schools. International schools follow international curriculums like the International Baccalaureate (IB), while bilingual schools offer instruction in both Croatian and a foreign language. Religious schools incorporate religious education into their curriculum.
Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?
Expats in Croatia often choose private schools, particularly international schools, for their children. These schools offer a familiar curriculum, a multicultural environment, and often have better resources and facilities. However, some expats prefer public schools for their children to immerse them in the local culture and language.
How expensive are Private schools in Croatia?
Private school fees in Croatia vary widely depending on the school and the level of education. On average, annual tuition fees can range from 20,000 HRK to over 100,000 HRK. Additional costs may include application fees, enrollment fees, and costs for textbooks, uniforms, and extracurricular activities.
Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Croatia?
Yes, homeschooling is legal in Croatia. However, it is not very common and is subject to certain regulations. Parents who wish to homeschool their children must follow the national curriculum and are required to register with the Ministry of Education.
May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Croatia?
Yes, children can attend online schools while living in Croatia. This can be a good option for families who move frequently or for children who need a flexible schedule. However, it’s important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the curriculum meets the standards of the Croatian education system.