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Due to a number of changes in Plans of re-accreditation of university postgraduate study programmes in 2016 and 2017, a new, updated overview of re-accreditation activities for autumn of 2017 and 2018 is provided on ASHE website.

The Agency for Science and Higher Education conducts the procedure of re-accreditation of doctoral study programmes in accordance with the Plans of re-accreditation of university postgraduate (doctoral) study programmes for 2016 and 2017.

The reports of expert panels in external reviews of Croatian higher education institutions implemented by the Agency for Science and Higher Education (ASHE) between 2010 and 2014 list a number of issues connected with doctoral training as it is delivered in Croatia. This prompted ASHE to conduct a thematic review of doctoral study programmes in 2013. The report on the thematic review available on this link identified certain systemic issues and called for a reaccreditation of all doctoral study programmes after a wide public discussion on the criteria of such a procedure.

In 2013 Croatia passed the Act on the Croatian Qualifications Framework (CroQF) aimed at improving the quality of education in Croatia and connecting Croatian qualifications with European. Pursuant to Article 7. Act, doctoral education represent the highest level of the CroQF, 8.2, which in Croatia can be reached by attending a postgraduate university (doctoral) study programme, or by successfully (on a viva) defending a doctoral thesis written independently. Both should amount to at least three years of scientific or artistic research in full-time equivalent, resulting in original articles with a relevant international peer review. The Act also provides descriptors of learning outcomes at this level.

The Croatian 2020 Strategy for Education, Science and Technology, adopted in 2014, lists among its objectives the implementation of the European University Association (EUA) Salzburg Principles through a number of measures, including the "establishment of international joint and national doctoral schools with the research component amounting to at least 80%, based on the existing quality doctoral programmes" (measure 2.5) and "joint supervisions" (measure 3.1). The Strategy also foresees a change in the way programmes are funded, individually as well as at the level of the system, calling for an increase in the offer of scholarships and stipends for academic mobility, also at the doctoral level.

The conclusions of the thematic review, demands of the CroQF and strategic goals all point to a need to:

- ensure that all doctoral programmes are aligned with the legal framework;

- adapt the number of enrolled students to available resources at higher education institutions, primarily with regard the number of qualified mentors and research projects;

- ensure quality improvement of all doctoral programmes is comprehensive, aligned with the Standards and guidelines for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area and European University Association recommendations (as listed in Salzburg Principles, their Implementation Report and ARDE project report on quality assurance in doctoral education); 

- ensure that all doctoral candidates in Croatia have the opportunity to graduate on time and achieve learning outcomes at the level 8.2 of the CroQF.

These four mutually connected aims lead to the four goals of the reaccreditation of doctoral study programmes:  accredit only those programmes that comply with the existing legal preconditions; provide higher education institutions with a review of quality assurance and comprehensive performance indicators at the doctoral level (adequateness of resources for existing and prospective candidates, completion rates, employability, mobility), and recommendations and target dates for improvements; check if higher education institutions are able to guarantee achievement of learning outcomes at a satisfactory level of CroQF, and provide recommendations and target dates for improvements; identify high-quality doctoral programmes. The principles and criteria are available on this link .

Contact:

Department for Accreditations in Science

T:  00 385 1 6274-853

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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