Grant TF 053149

Technical assistance for the preparation of Education Sector Support Program in Croatia

The Government of Croatia views education as a crucial element in the transition to a democratic society. Its policy on education is based on several strategic principles: special attention to minorities and the respect for human rights; decentralisation of the financing and management of schools; and a need to involve both public and private resources in education. Efforts are being made to reform the system, and the commitment of the Government to do so is an important asset. The process of education sector development in Croatia involves policy development and decentralisation as well as curriculum change, teacher training, strengthening educational leadership and financial restructuring.

Despite several good intentions to make concrete actions in education sector development very little has changed since the early 1990s. Therefore there is a wide consensus among basically all stakeholders, including teachers, on the need for urgent changes that would lead to improvement of quality of teaching and learning and making the education system more supportive to the ongoing social and economic reforms in Croatia. The current government is determined in its position to developing education. The priority issues as defined by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (MoSES) are:

  • changing the content of teaching and supporting the shift from presentation-recitation models of instruction towards active, productive learning that is essential in knowledge society and innovation-driven economic growth;
  • improving the knowledge, skills and working conditions of teachers so that they would be able to lead the change in their schools and classrooms;
  • strengthening education management and school leadership by creating systematic arrangements for professional development and monitoring the educational processes and outcomes;
  • harmonize education system regulations and programs with the requirements of the European Union;
  • emphasize the principles of lifelong learning at all levels of education, including raising the rate of adult literacy through specific interventions.

The accession path to European Community provides a great opportunity for Croatia to speed up these intended reforms in education. European Commission’s “Education and Training in Europe: a diverse system, shared goals for 2010” is relevant framework for education policy development and designing of education sector development plans. The key objectives of this program are well in coherence with the strategic education sector development goals in Croatia. Moreover, this program offers a set of indicators and benchmarks that are useful in monitoring of success of education reforms. Most of these indicators will be used in all 25 EU countries that provides an international benchmarks against which Croatian education system performance can be compared.

The World Bank is assisting the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports in preparing the Education Sector Support Program (ESSP) that is planned to be financed by the World Bank (IBRD) loan to the Government. The main purpose of this program that will be implemented as a sector-wide approach is to support the intended education reform by financing capacity building and professional development of administrators, school principals and teachers, development and distribution of the new curriculum for primary and secondary schools, establishing and equipping the National School Examination Centre, and development and implementation of regional innovations by financing regional and local development initiatives. The development objective of this proposed program is to improve student learning and performance by supporting Government’s efforts to modernize its education system. Furthermore, the main focus of this proposed project is on primary and secondary education.