Self-evaluation of vocational schools in Croatia

As part of the quality assurance arrangements in vocational education and training (VET) in Croatia, a system of self-evaluation of vocational schools has been developed. Self-evaluation of the VET institutions is being monitored and evaluated by the Quality Committee, which is designated by the managing authority of the Vocational Education Institution. For this purpose, the Handbook for the implementation of self-assessment tool as well as an internet tool named ?e-quality?, can be used which provides easy access to self-evaluation reports.

Vocational Education Act (Official Gazzette, No. 30/2009): Schools responsible for the implementation of vocational education will conduct self-evaluation for the following key areas:

  • planning and programming of work;
  • teaching and learning support;
  • students’ achievements;
  • material conditions and human resources;
  • professional development of employees;
  • human relations in VET institutions;
  • management and administration; and,
  • cooperation with other stakeholders.

Since the 2012/13 school year, the system has been mandatorily implemented in VET schools. The schools are obliged to submit regular annual self-evaluation reports. Contact persons for the school self-evaluation coordinators are senior advisers of the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education.

According to Article 12 of the Vocational Education Act, self-evaluation is monitored and evaluated by the Quality Committee, which is appointed by the school board. The Quality Committee has to have 7 members: 4 members among teachers and professional associates; 1 representative from the stakeholders on the proposal of the school founder; 1 member as students’ representative; and, 1 member among parents. Their role is to prepare an annual self-evaluation report and submit it to that year’s school board and Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education. School principals appoint a coordinator for self-evaluation. They are part of the Quality Committee and contact persons for the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education's counsellors.

After the Agency had held professional training courses, principals and vocational schools coordinators recognised self-evaluation as an opportunity to raise the quality of educational work, school management and cooperation with partners. They also recognised it as a possibility of distinctively positioning Croatian schools at local, national and international level.

During the process of self-evaluation, coordinators pointed out certain difficulties in its implementation, i.e.: mainly technical difficulties with the e-tools usage. Some pointed out that there was a general lack of support in the process of self-evaluation, including from the Quality Committee. Some coordinators reported that some school employees cannot be sensitized for self-evaluation or monitoring of the school work quality. A lack of feedback from the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education, regarding the quality of the submitted reports, analyses and presented evidence was also emphasised.

Although the process of self-evaluation in vocational schools has been legally enforced since the 2012/2013 school year, its implementation has experienced certain difficulties. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, systemic problems occur because of an unclear jurisdiction of two national institutions responsible for the self-evaluation monitoring. The National Centre for the External Evaluation of Education is responsible for monitoring the quality of work in all educational institutions (from kindergarten to high school, including vocational schools). Only VET institutions are under the authority of the Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education. Each institution has developed its own methodology and different forms of annual reports.

The Ministry of Science, Education and Sports has launched a process to resolve these problems, according to the new Strategy of education, science and technology, which was adopted in October 2014. It is planned to unify procedures and patterns of self-evaluation, regardless of education level and type of educational institution. Common goals include: reducing the amount of unnecessary administration; ensuring quality; periodic external evaluation and monitoring of self-evaluation in all educational institutions; and, empowering schools with forehand feedback and suggestions to improve.

Picture: Valentin Antonucci /

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