The project Modernisation of the Vocational Education and Training System is co-financed by the European Social Fund, and the holder of the project is the Agency for Vocational and Adult Education. The project is in implementation from November 2017 to December 2022, with a total value of HRK 232 848 999.94. The project is funded under the Call to the Agency for Vocational and Adult Education to submit proposals for operations to be funded as a direct allocation of funds under Priority Axis 3 – “Education and Lifelong Learning” of Specific Objective 10.iv.1 “Modernisation of vocational education” and raising its quality in order to increase the employability of students as well as opportunities for further education of the Operational Program “Effective Human Resources 2014-2020.” which was published in 2018 by the Ministry of Labour.
The purpose of the project is to develop vocational education and training that is attractive, innovative, relevant, and related to the labour market and that will enable participants to acquire competences for personal and professional development, continuing education and lifelong learning. This purpose will be achieved by meeting specific project objectives: development of innovative and flexible sectoral and vocational curricula based on the needs of the labour market and strengthening the competences of educators for the introduction and implementation of said curricula.
The Agency for Vocational and Adult Education designed the project as one of the activities outlined in the Program for the Development of the Vocational Education and Training System 2014-2020, which directly responds to Priority 1. Improving the relevance of vocational education and training in relation to the labour market; Objective 1.1. Vocational education and training focused on the needs of the labour market and Measure 1.2. Development, adoption and monitoring of the implementation of sectoral and / or curricula for the acquisition of vocational qualifications.
This project approaches the modernisation of vocational education in the Republic of Croatia and the development of new vocational curricula with a strong link to the needs of the labour market, through developed occupational standards and qualification standards in accordance with the CROQF and based on curricular approach and learning outcomes. The approach to the sectoral curricula, which will be developed by the AVETAE, will lead to the rationalization of the number of curricula, will enable easier inclusion of the students in the labour market, better horizontal mobility, professional development and further education. Emphasis will be placed on work-based learning in different volumes, in accordance with the NCVE. The project will provide significant support to schools for the implementation of the new approach and model, which will place emphasis on the flexibility and autonomy of schools and will include the development of manuals and teaching aids. All stakeholders in the system will benefit from the achieved results of the project; particularly educators, ie teachers of vocational subjects and headmasters of VET institutions, who have been identified as the main target group of the project. Continuous media campaigns will increase the visibility of vocational education in the society, primarily among prospective students and parents, but also among employers and the general public.
In an over two years of implementation of this ESF project, a comprehensive curricular reform of vocational education in the Republic of Croatia has successfully been launched, with the aim of activating all stakeholders in the system. The results and indicators achieved so far include:
- Formation of a strategic working group for analysis and concept of methodology for developing sectoral curricula and vocational curricula, consisting of representatives of all stakeholders in the system including representatives of relevant ministries (Ministry of Science and Education, Ministry of Labour and Pension System), representatives of the education sector (Expert Working Group for Curricular Reform, AVETAE, Education nad Teacher Training Agency), representatives of the real economy (Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Crafts, Croatian Employmers Association, Croatian Academic and Research Network) and Trade Union representatives (ITEUCSSE), which held 3 meetings, made one study visit and made significant progress in harmonizing all stakeholders in the system around the concept of the main methodological documents.
- Formation of 19 sub-sectoral working groups and a special working group for students with disabilities, that aim to support, monitor and manage the process of development of Occupational Standards, Qualification Standards and Qualifications. These working groups number a total of 100 members and 20 coordinators from among teachers and directors of vocational education institutions. Three joint two-day workshops were held, at which priority occupational standards were adopted. Afterwards, work continued in individual meetings.
- Formation of 66 working groups for the development of occupational standards with a total of 265 members from the ranks of teachers, employers and employees in the respective sector, with whom one joint meeting was held. The groups continued their work in individual meetings, in order to develop proposals for 108 occupational standards in 13 vocational sectors at CROQF levels 2-5.
- Organizing and holding five workshops for coordinators, members of working groups and AVETAE on the development of occupational standards, as well as two targeted trainings for implementers of the Occupational Standard Survey according to the new Methodology for developing occupational standards, aimed at experts selected as coordinators of working groups and AVETAE.
- Development of a Sample of employers required for the quality implementation of the Occupational Standard Survey.
- Implementation of the first round of focus groups and structured interviews for all 108 occupational standards being developed in this project.
- Holding the first dissemination activies to present project results and raise the visibility of the curricular reform, which include creating a visual identity of the project, conducting two dissemination conferences for teachers, principals and professional associates of vocational schools and the public, creating and disseminating leaflets and promotional materials and implementing two targeted media campaigns aimed at raising the awareness of employers, craftsmen and businessmen in order to involve them in the curricular reform of vocational education and to ensure their participation in the Occupational Standard Survey.
Years 2020 and 2021 represent the years of key activities for finalizing the development phase of the project. During this period, completion of a series of key documents and steps is planned, as follows in chronological order:
- Development of the methodology for the development of sectoral curricula and vocational curricula; development of an animation / film that describes the methodology for dissemination of relevant information to employees in the vocational education system, future students, their parents, but also for the general public;
- Finalization of 108 Proposals of Occupational Standards with all reports and attachments in accordance with the new Methodology for the development of occupational standards (Ministry of Labour and Pension System, 2019) and entry in the CROQF register with the approval of the relevant sectoral councils;
- Creation of manuals for the development of sectoral curricula and vocational curricula;
- Expanding the e-qualification database to support the work of working groups and creating a completely new e-curriculum database;
- Development of 195 qualification standards, 13 sectoral and 156 new vocational curricula and curriculum models of vocational education institutions;
- Implementation of continuous education for all participants in the curricular reform and this project, as well as continuous dissemination activities and media campaigns in order to raise their visibility at all levels of society.
Upon the completion of the developmental phase of the project, new curricula will be introduced in all VET institutions in the Republic of Croatia. Main goals in last year of the project will be providing support to principals, teachers and expert associates for introduction, implementation and monitoring of sectoral curricula through continuous training, workshops, visits, education and preparation, as well as publication of 1248 manuals for teachers and 2184 other educational materials in digital and / or printed form.