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Higher education system

In accordance with the Bologna system, higher education in the Republic of Croatia has a three-cycle study model, including undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level of study. Like several other European higher education systems, the Croatian system comprises a professional and university profile of study programmes and institutions (Figure 1). Unlike higher education institutions that run university programmes up to the doctoral level, professional studies are primarily delivered at polytechnics and colleges at two levels – undergraduate and graduate.

There are currently 117 higher education institutions in Croatia in which a total of 162,928 students studied in the academic year 2018/2019, out of which 133,720 students studied in universities and university constituents; 90% students study in public higher education institutions and 10% students study in private higher education institutions. Full-time students of public higher education institutions can study free of charge if they collect the required number of ECTS credits, while students of private higher education institutions pay tuition fees. All full-time students are entitled to subsidized student means and accommodation.

The period of the last twenty years has seen major developments in the area of higher education, which have included the reform of study programmes in accordance with the Bologna principles (from 2005 to 2009); establishing of new higher education institutions, public polytechnics and private colleges, as well as increase in establishment of universities; the development of the Croatian Qualifications Framework (CroQF) and its alignment with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area – QF-EHEA; the introduction of the State Matura at the end of high-school education; the introduction of a centralized system for applications to study programmes which take into consideration the results of State Matura exams, etc.

 

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