The Croatian schooling system is classified into three categories: Kindergarten, primary school and secondary school. The Public School System is subsidized by the Ministry of Education. Nevertheless the Croatian government spends just 4% of its GDP on education, which is well below the European average. In this respect, salaries are also relatively low for teachers.
Kindergarten in Croatia
Croatia has approximately 450 Kindergarten schools, of which a significant percentage are public schools. Kindergarten in Croatia is not compulsory however children can enter as early as one year old.
Primary education starts at the age of 6, and is compulsory. Teachers are required to teach subjects such as Croatian, mathematics, visual art, nature and society, physical education, music, religion and at least one other foreign language. Upon reaching fifth grade, students have specialized teachers for each subject, with many new subjects being introduced, such as history, geography, chemistry, chemistry, physics, informatics and an additional language.
The most common foreign languages taught include English, German and Italian, however Spanish, French and Russian are also taught in some schools.
Secondary education in Croatia is optional although attempts at making it compulsory are in discussion. There are three different types of secondary education in Croatia:
· Vocational Schools
· Art Schools
Following four years of secondary education, Gimnazija awards either a Svedodzba o mature or an International Baccalaureate. Vocational schools take between one and four years to complete and offer a practical education with a vocational qualification awarded at the end. Art schools last for a period of four years and students are taught art, dance, visual art and design. Upon completion, students are awarded with a Svedodzba o Zavrsnom Ispitu.
Students who wish to go to university must sit a State Secondary School Leaving Examination. Children who successfully pass the exam can then apply to university.