Administration, Finance, & Educational Research
As already noted, the Ministry of Education and Sports has had primary responsibility for making and implementing educational policy in Croatia's preschools, primary, and secondary schools, with the Ministry of Science and Technology administering Croatia's higher education system. Attached to these ministries are a number of councils and commissions charged with specific tasks in administrative oversight, policy direction, or program implementation and management. For example, the National Council for Higher Education is an independent body of 18 members nominated by the Rectors' Conference and higher education institutions and appointed by the national parliament to carry out quality assessments and evaluations of the higher education system. The National Scientific Research Council also is an independent body whose tasks include preparing the National Scientific Research Program for Croatia. The country's educational system was still highly centralized in the year 2000, though proposals were under discussion to bring administrative authority closer to the local level. In 1997 Croatia's total public expenditures on education amounted to about 3 percent of the GDP.
Besides the government ministries and other formal bodies charged with planning, implementing, and evaluating educational policy in Croatia, nongovernmental associations, community organizations, and private individuals became increasingly involved in the development of educational policy and the provision of learning opportunities to students in the years after the Balkans wars. The National Federation of the Young People in Croatia, for example, was an umbrella organization of 20 associations in 1998 and had observer status in the European Youth Forum. Teachers' associations also provided their input. Likewise, local community organizations and more informal groupings of parents and community members became more involved in developing and implementing school programs in Croatia from the mid-1990s on. For example, the Step by Step Program, begun by the international nongovernmental Open Society Institute in 1994 with funding from the Soros Foundation, has encouraged individuals and groups in local communities to come together to plan programs fostering the development of children's problem-solving skills, more democratic decision-making in schools, and greater respect for ethnic minorities. As Croatians continue to decentralize their government and participate more in public decisionmaking, additional opportunities undoubtedly will emerge where students and their parents, along with educators and other interested members of local communities, will work more closely together to develop the education programs that suit them best.
Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceCroatia - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education