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Higher education, scientific and artistic activity represent activities of special interest for the Republic of Croatia, and make an integral part of international, especially European, education, scientific and artistic area.

Pursuant to the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity (OG 119/2022) higher education in the Republic of Croatia is based on: 

  • European humanistic and democratic tradition and the European higher education system; 
  • openness of higher education institutions to the public, citizens and the local community; 
  • reciprocity and partnership among all members of the academic community; 
  • integrity and high quality of university teaching and scientific research, or artistic endeavour; 
  • unity of professional and educational work aimed at training for specific professional knowledge and skills, a concept of life-long learning, obligation to develop social responsibility of students and other members of the academic community and the interaction with the community. 

In accordance with the Bologna system, higher education in the Republic of Croatia has a three-cycle study model, including undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level of study.  

Higher education institutions in the Republic of Croatia perform activities related to higher education, as well as scientific, artistic and professional activities.  

Higher education institutions include universities, faculties, art academies and polytechnics and they are established as public or private higher education institutions. By way of exception, a public higher education institution established for the purposes of military, police and diplomatic education can be established as an organizational unit of the competent state administration body.  

Higher education institutions may set up professional development programmes for the purposes of lifelong learning, leading to competences that are consistent with an occupational standard or a set of competences and a qualification standard or a unit of learning outcomes entered in the Croatian Qualifications Framework Register as well as the differential requirements for the purposes of changing a study programme or enrolment in a study programme, completing the previously started study programme and for recognising competences acquired outside the study programmes, which are a prerequisite for enrolment in the study programme. 

A professional development programme for the purpose of lifelong learning shall not be considered a study programme, and may be funded through the voucher system for the purpose of participation in the workforce.