Access to education



Croatian Law Centre

About text

The right to education is a constitutional right for all children staying in Croatia. According to the LITP, only child applicants (i.e. under 18) are entitled to primary and secondary education.1 Applicants who have begun to exercise the right to secondary education are allowed to continue secondary education even after they turned 18.

According to the LITP, the right to primary and secondary education is granted to child applicants under the same conditions as for Croatian nationals, and children can access education within 30 days of lodging an application.2

There have been reported obstacles to accessing secondary education for asylum seeking children.3 The major problem when accessing school is still the language barrier, but there has been progress in the last few years, and children access the educational system more easily at the moment. According to information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, children in Zagreb attend individual classes of Croatian language organised by schools. There is a great need for interpreters.

As in Zagreb, the main problem in Kutina is also the language barrier. An agreement was made with the school in Kutina that during their first year children are only present to listen in the school in Kutina. Moreover, Croatian Red Cross employees working in Kutina have mentioned that no big obstacles exist when accessing secondary education if the child holds proof of education from the country of origin.

According to the Ministry of Interior,4 some problems arose mainly relating to the organisation of preparatory Croatian classes, lack of documentation on previous education as well as in relation to the expansion of the so-called “e-matica” system (centralised system of the Ministry of science and Education with the data of the pupils), as asylum seekers do not have an individual identification number (OIB) required for registration in this system.

In addition, as mentioned in Conditions in Reception Facilities, several organisations provide educational activities and language classes in the two centres.

It is hard to predict how the education system would address issues arising in case of asylum seeking children with special needs.

Child applicants are also entitled to special assistance to learn Croatian and to make up for the knowledge they might lack in some school subjects, in the form of preparatory and supplementary classes.5 In November 2011, a Programme of Croatian for preparatory classes for primary and secondary school students who do not speak or speak Croatian insufficiently was adopted. This is an intensive 70-hour course of Croatian, spread over a maximum of one academic year.

  • 1. Article 58(1) LITP.
  • 2. Article 58(3) LITP.
  • 3. Information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, 13 February 2017.
  • 4. Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 2 March 2017.
  • 5. Article 58(4) LITP; Article 43 Law on Education in Primary and Secondary Schools (Official Gazette 87/08, 86/09, 92/10, 90/11, 5/12, 16/12, 86/12, 126/12, 94/13).

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti