Up to 1991, when Croatia belonged to Yugoslavia, the country had been characterized by a socialist social system, though with an economic system that was largely governed by market principles. In 1945–58 the compulsory school consisted of classes 1–7 and then increased by another year (1–8). The training was mainly vocational preparation. After independence, Croatia’s education system was reformed.
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Since 2010, the school system consists of preschool, elementary or elementary school, upper secondary school and higher education. The eight-year compulsory school is compulsory. The upper secondary level comprises three types of schools: colleges, vocational schools and artistic schools. The upper secondary school comprises four years and vocational training three to five years. The artistic education is of varying length.
Prior to 1998, there were no private schools in Croatia. Subsequently, a few such schools have been established. According to the government, not all are considered to meet the requirements of the country’s schools and have therefore not been recognized.
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Previously, applicants for higher education must meet the requirements for a high school diploma and be approved in matura, which was a government test in Croatian, mathematics and a foreign language. Nowadays admission to higher education is based on the high school grades.
Croatia has joined the Bologna system for higher education, which means that this education includes undergraduate, master’s and postgraduate education. There are about 100 government institutions for higher education. The corresponding figure for those run privately is 40. About 165,000 students read some form of higher education (2016). 56 percent of them are women and 44 percent are men. Croatia has seven state and three private universities.
Adult education is primarily aimed at qualifying participants for different professions and providing them with citizenship knowledge.
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The country’s economy remained in poor condition. Growth in 2014 was -0.6% – the 6th year of negative growth – and unemployment reached 19.6%. Joining the EU had not contributed to improving the country’s economy.
In June 2015, Osijek High Court upheld the Zagreb court judgment, saying that Zagreb Prize had violated the honor and dignity of a former Croatian radio and TV (HRT) journalist when they placed her on a list of candidates for the award as the most homophobic person in 2013. The court ordered Zagreb Pride to pay € 5,414 in compensation to the journalist and publish the verdict on their Web site.
In August 2015, official Croatia celebrated the 20th anniversary of Operation Storm, which marked the beginning of the cleansing of 200,000 Serbs from the country. The celebration once again brought to light the conflicts between Croats and the remaining Serbs. In the city of Vukovar, the city council announced that all street names written in Cyrillic (Serbian) letters would be removed and a special tax would be introduced for those of the city’s citizens who wrote to the municipality in Cyrillic writing. 34% of the city’s residents are of Serbian origin.
Croatia became a transit country for the huge influx of refugees through Europe in 2015. 550,000 passed through the country, but only a few hundred applied for asylum and in October only 37 had received asylum. The country defaulted on its obligations according to. The Refugee Convention to identify and take care of weak refugees – including unaccompanied children and victims of human trafficking.
The November 2015 parliamentary election was a staggering defeat for the government alliance, Croatia Vokser (with HDZ as the largest party). The alliance lost 17 seats and had to settle for 56. In contrast, the National Conservative Alliance led the Patriotic Coalition 15 seats, gaining 59. As an expression of general politician, the newly formed Conservative Alliance, the Bridge of Independent Lists (MOST), entered Parliament with 19 seats. After over two months of complicated negotiations, the two Conservative alliances decided to form government with independent Croatian-Canadian businessman Tihomir Orešković as prime minister. The government had a narrow majority, which did not last long, however. In June 2016, it lost a vote of no confidence in Parliament when 125 voted against it and only 15 voted. The government resigned and in July Parliament was dissolved. The government crisis was caused by a growing tension between MOST and HDZ, whose chairman Tomislav Karamarko was involved in economic crime. Both opposition and MOST on several occasions called for Karamarko to resign, but in vain. Only in mid-June, when a parliamentary commission of inquiry had determined that Karamarko was guilty, did he resign, but at the same time declared that he would bring the case to the Constitutional Court. Karamarko’s wife was financially involved in a deal the spring signed with a number of oil companies and oil and gas exploration.