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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.9 Skills recognition

Last update: 14 February 2024
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  1. Policy Framework
  2. Existing arrangements

Policy framework

According to the Volunteering Act, if a volunteer makes a request and the volunteering is of a long-term nature, the volunteer organiser is obligated to issue a Certificate of Competences Acquired through Volunteering. The Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy (MLPSFSP), as the competent body, in consultation with the National Committee for the Development of Volunteerism, adopts framework criteria for recognising competences, skills, and experience acquired through volunteering. This involves defining the framework content of the Certificate of Competences Acquired through Volunteering. The framework criteria and the framework content of the Certificate are made available on the MLPSFSP’s website. To facilitate understanding and completion, the Guide for Filling in the Certificate of Competences Acquired through Volunteering, including an example of a completed Certificate, has been prepared.

The Croatian Qualifications Framework Act outlines the objectives of the Croatian Qualifications Framework (CQF), including the establishment of a system for recognising and evaluating both non-formal and informal learning. However, as of now, there is no existing rulebook to regulate the recognition and evaluation of informal knowledge and skills within the CQF (Balković, 2016). Furthermore, the CQF lacks essential components such as sectoral councils, detailed occupation and qualification descriptions (standards), comprehensive implementation instructions, and formal rules. The absence of these elements limits the practical utility of the system for users and stakeholders involved in the qualification system (Balković, 2016). A segment of the qualification system that is intended to support the recognition and evaluation of informal learning has not yet been conceived and lacks the legal basis (Balković, 2016).


Existing arrangements

Although there is a possibility of obtaining a Certificate of Competences Acquired through Volunteering that organisers of volunteering issue to volunteers after long-term volunteering, there is currently no ordinance to regulate the recognition and evaluation of outcomes from non-formal and informal learning. In reality, standardised mechanisms for recognising and evaluating volunteer work, especially youth work, are lacking.

The recognition and evaluation of volunteering by pupils and students are facilitated through a volunteer booklet, serving as a volunteering certificate. This booklet details the volunteer organiser’s name, the number of volunteer hours, the duration of volunteering, and the specific activities involved. The volunteer organiser, responsible for completing the booklet, is obligated to issue a certificate to the volunteer upon the end of volunteering, which is then authenticated by the organiser’s stamp. Additionally, the booklet may incorporate details about education relevant to the volunteer’s academic pursuit.

Higher education institutions in the Republic of Croatia issue a diploma supplement in Croatian and English at the end of Bologna studies for all students free of charge. The diploma supplement may include details about further studies, scholarships, acknowledgments, and extra-curricular activities, including volunteering activities. .  This section not only explains the effects of the student's work on qualification but also enables a higher education institution to recognise additional work and success of a student during the course of their studies. If information is added herein that is not an integral part of the study programme (e.g., work in a student association, student representation) the institution is obligated to ensure equal conditions for all students to submit information for this section (Diploma Supplement: Instructions, Rules and Examples).

The practice of including extracurricular activities in the diploma supplement is just beginning at Croatian higher education institutions, and it has not been implemented systematically or equally yet (Kotlar and Ćulum, 2014). In other words, universities are left to independently evaluate the volunteer work of students in terms of awarding European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits. There is no uniformly developed system for evaluating students, both across different universities and among various components of a particular university.

It should be noted that the diploma supplement issued under the Croatian higher education system does not bear the designation of Europass. This is the only distinction between the Croatian version of the document and the original, developed by the European Commission (EC), Council of Europe, and UNESCO (Europass), as a part of the Europass initiative.

Since 2010, universities in Croatia have annually announced a competition and presented the Rector's Award to recognise the volunteer of the year.

Youthpass serves as a tool of the EC, facilitating the planning, monitoring, evaluation, and recognition of non-formal learning outcomes in projects co-financed under the Erasmus+ programme. It acts as a bridge between policies and practice.