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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.7 “Learning to participate” through formal, non-formal and informal learning

Last update: 27 March 2024
On this page
  1. Policy Framework
  2. Formal learning
  3. Non-formal and informal learning
  4. Quality assurance/quality guidelines for non-formal learning
  5. Educators' support

Policy framework

At present, in Croatia, there is no national strategy solely dedicated to the development of the social and civic competences of Croatian youth.

The first indication of grasping the importance of adequately adapting the educational system to facilitate the development of youth citizenship competences emerged in 1999 with the adoption of a programme under the promising name ‘The National Programme of Education for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship’. The Programme comprised the following elements: 

  • education for human rights
  • education for democratic citizenship
  • intercultural education
  • education for peace and nonviolent conflict resolution
  • education for sustainable development
  • education for the prevention of prejudice and discrimination
  • exploration of humanitarian law and practices, etc.

In 2010, with the adoption of the National Curriculum Framework, citizenship education was desingated as a distinct domain, laying the ground for the development of a new curriculum in citizenship education.  During this process, the Curriculum for Citizenship Education was developed, and its experimental implementation was endorsed by the former Ministry of Science, Education and Sports in the year 2012.  The Curriculum envisaged the development of students’ citizenship competences through six structural dimensions: human rights, political, social, (inter)cultural, environmental, and economic. 

Despite the positive evaluation of the pilot version of the Curriculum, a new interdisciplinary and cross-curricular model, diverging from the tested one, was introduced in schools. The programme did not incorporate none of the students and teachers suggestions from the previous experimental implementation phase, nor did it introduce any new content related to human rights, intercultural education, or citizenship participation (Kekez-Kostro, Horvat, Salaj, 2017: 24). A new Curriculum for the cross-curricular Topic Civic Education for primary and secondary schools in the Republic of Croatia is valid since 2019.


Formal learning

For the past two decades, Croatia has witnessed a public debate on the need for the introduction of civic education in schools. However, despite clearly articulated needs and a degree of political consensus, the integration of this content has been dependant on the motivation of individual schools. 

Since 2014, Croatia has the Programme of Cross-curricular and Interdisciplinary Contents of Citizenship Education for Elementary and Secondary Schools. With the adoption of the Cross-curricular and Interdisciplinary Civic and Citizenship Education Programme, civic and citizenship education is introduced cross-curricularly, aiming to contribute to the full development of civic competency in students. In doing so, it acknowledges the fact that all school subjects are directly connected with the general right to education and all other special rights guaranteed to every child. This requires the development of specific skills and values that, to varying degrees, contribute to the realisation of civic and citizenship education.

Several local and regional governments (Rijeka, Osijek, and Sisak) have autonomously introduced and are implementing citizenship education as an elective subject in schools.


Non-formal and informal learning

There are a number of civil society organisations conducting various education programmes intended for increasing youth participation. Civil society organisations therefore, provide educational activities, produce various didactic materials, and offer a platform for civic engagement practice. There are several structured programmes aimed at young people, covering different perspectives within the field of youth participation.

In addition to Youth Studies, the GOOD Initiative offers various trainings exclusively focused on civic education. Even though their trainings do not exclusively target young people but also include parents, journalists, and teachers, their scope and content correspond to the idea of this chapter – encasing youth participation throughout education.


Quality assurance/quality guidelines for non-formal learning

There are no measures in place regarding a reference programme or strategy. 


Educators' support

Education and Teacher Training Agency organises training for teachers in the area of citizenship education. 

Numerous civil society organisations also conduct training for teachers, and the most famous coalition of civil society organisations focused on civic education is the GOOD Initiative.