Access to education


Country Report: Access to education Last updated: 26/06/23


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According to the LITP, beneficiaries of international protection have the right to elementary, secondary and higher education under the same conditions as Croatian citizens, pursuant to separate regulations.[1]

Asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection shall exercise the right to adult education as well as the right to recognition of foreign qualifications pursuant to the regulations on adult education under the same conditions as Croatian citizens.

For asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection, who for justified reasons are not able to provide the necessary documentation to prove their foreign qualifications, an assessment shall be conducted of their prior learning.  The assessment of the prior learning of beneficiaries of international protection shall be conducted by a competent body, pursuant to the regulations governing regulated professions and recognition of foreign vocational qualifications.

A decision to refuse an application for recognition of foreign vocational qualifications cannot be based exclusively on the fact that no official documents exist to prove a specific foreign vocational qualification.

If an asylee or foreigner under subsidiary protection does not have sufficient financial resources available, the translation of foreign documents for the purpose of recognition of foreign qualifications shall be provided from the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia, under the item of the Ministry competent for education.

During 2022 the Ministry of Science and Education organized 23 courses of Croatian language, history and culture for asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection with the aim of their inclusion in Croatian society. Furthermore, in the same period documentation (diplomas and certificates) were translated for 15 asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection. In 2022, 5 persons under international protection were enrolled at the following universities: Faculty of Law, Faculty of Political Sciences, Faculty of Mining and Geology, Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Civil Engineering, while only one refugee student is the beneficiary of a stipend.[2]

However, in September 2022, the Ministry of Interior took the decision to terminate the agreement with the Ministry of Science and Education, among other things, due to the fact that Croatian language courses were not held.[3]

According to the Ombudsman’s report for 2022, civil society organizations stressed that there are differences in the implementation of preparatory classes in the Croatian language for children under international protection, for which the approval of the Ministry of Science and Education must first be obtained, which sometimes takes months, compared to the preparatory classes that are organized for children displaced from Ukraine, which is organized within couple of days. The Ombudsman’s report

further emphasized that, although students under international protection are guaranteed the right to higher education under the same conditions as Croatian citizens, the ordinance from 2013, which regulates the exercise of the right to cover part of students’ food costs, does not mention them. Recognizing said shortcoming, the Ministry of Science and Education regulated the issue of their nutrition with a special decision, and a new ordinance is being drafted that will systematically regulate the issue of nutrition for the aforementioned category of students.[4]

In 2022, the new Law on Recognition and Evaluation of Foreign Educational Qualifications[5] entered into force. The Law prescribes the possibility of evaluating foreign educational qualifications for the purpose of continuing education at the same or higher level of education and for the purpose of accessing the labour market for beneficiaries of international and temporary protection and their family members.

To be included into the education system, beneficiaries must have a certificate of their status in Croatia, a certificate of residence, an identity document (e.g. birth certificate, identity card, passport or relevant document of the Ministry of Interior) and a document of previous education. If it is not possible to enclose a document on previous education, it is necessary to give a statement to the notary public, which is then presented to the school’s professional service to organise an enrolment test in order to determine the class that the candidate can attend.

Centre for Peace Studies reported several problems in the educational system: problems with preparatory classes for children; lack of preparedness of schools; insufficient number of teaching assistants; problems in realizing the right to higher education; problems in exercising majority of rights enjoyed by regular students, such as the right to subsidized accommodation and food and the possibility of receiving a scholarship; difficulties with the recognition of qualifications and nostrification of diplomas when persons have documents proving their education, as well as a lack of customised procedures for recognition of qualifications when they do not have documents.[6]

According to Civis Mundi, higher education is hard-to-reach for persons granted international protection. According to them this is due to few reasons: the slowness of the competent Ministry of Science and Education in translation and nostrification of documentation but also due to the high costs for continuation or enrolment in  the higher education.[7]

AYS reported that in the course of 2022, they continued to provide educational support to children granted international protection i.e. 77 volunteers provided 2,407 hours of educational support to 48 school aged children from 21 families.[8] The support programme included support in language learning, mastering school materials, cooperation with schools and mediation in communication between parents and the school. The similar support in 2022 was provided by the Centre for children, youth and family – Modus.[9] In 2022, Modus provided learning assistance to children under the international protection. The activity was carried out by volunteers in the premises of the school attended by children. As a rule, volunteers and children met once a week for 60 minutes or once every two weeks for 90 minutes. In addition to support in writing homeworks and preparing for tests, the engagement of volunteers was designed to act as friends-mentors for children and at the same time provide additional social support in the integration of children. In addition, joint gatherings of children, parents and volunteers involved in the project were organized in 2022.

In 2021, Centre for Peace Studies (CPS) published the thematic report” Education of Children of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the Republic of Croatia – (In) readiness for quality inclusion in the education system”.[10] The report analyses the response of the Republic of Croatia to the needs of children, with a specific focus on access to education but also the identified difficulties and existing legislative framework. In addition, the report provides examples of good practices.

Centre for Peace Studies (CPS) also reported obstacles in the access of beneficiaries granted international protection to higher education in practice in 2022.[11] Although, they have the right to higher education similarly to Croatian citizens, there is no specific category for enrolling persons granted international protection to faculties, so they are enrolled either as other foreigners, which means they have to pay high tuition fees, or as Croatian citizens – which means that they have to take state graduation exam. There is also the problem of non-recognition of foreign educational qualifications in cases where beneficiaries have documents to prove their previous education. In addition, problems arise in the exercise of most of the rights enjoyed by full-time students, such as the right to subsidized accommodation and meals or the possibility of obtaining a scholarship.

For students who have insufficient knowledge of the Croatian language, the school is obliged to organise preparatory classes, but according to Centre for Peace Studies (CPS)  and AYS, practice has shown that the process of organising preparatory classes is extremely long and children often wait several months before such classes are approved. Also, some children have to go to another school for preparatory classes, and as a result, they are not attending part of their classes at their own school.[12] However in 2022, AYS reported that this process was simplified by only in regard to children from Ukraine.

AYS also reported that children are, due to non-standardized tests, often enrolled in lower classes than their peers. For this reason, most of the children are in the class with others

which are not at their developmental level and are often victims of violence and social isolation. In addition, AYS reported that, although higher education should be available for persons granted international protection under the same conditions as Croatian citizens, for those who have not yet received Croatian citizenship, the only option is enrolment according to the quota for foreigners. Furthermore, not all faculties apply this quota.

Between 2018 and 2020, the number of students under international protection included in primary education (101) for whom preparatory classes have been approved was at its highest in 2019. That year, the total number of approved classes for learners of Croatian (7,070) and the total number of approved Croatian classes including methodical preparation for teachers (10,605) were at their highest as well. In 2020 and 2021, the number of students belonging to this category decreased significantly, especially in 2021, when only 29 students granted international protection attended primary school.[13]

In May and June 2022, several schools in Zagreb, Osijek and Sisak organized social actions in the community. The aim was to empower local communities to accept citizens of third countries. The actions were organized as part of the project “INCLuDE of the Office for Human Rights and the Rights of National Minorities, together with students, school employees, and residents of local communities.[14]




[1] Article 70 LITP.

[2]  Croatian Law Centre, The Croatian Asylum System in 2022 – National Report. The report was prepared as part of the project “Legal Assistance and Capacity Building for Access to Territory and Asylum in Croatia“, with financial support of the UNHCR Croatia: available in English at:

[3] Ministry of Interior: Decision on the cancellation of the Decision on the allocation of financial resources for the implementation of the project “Integration of asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection into Croatian society, education and preparation for inclusion in the labor market”; available in Croatian at:

[4] Ombudsperson, Annual report 2022, available in Croatian at:

[5] Law on Recognition and Evaluation of Foreign Educational Qualifications, Official Gazette 69/2022, available in Croatian at:

[6] Information provided by Centre for Peace Studies, 18 January 2023.

[7]  Information provided by Civis Mundi, 14 February 2023.

 [8]  Information provided by Are you Syrious, 3 February 2023.

[9] Information provided by the Centre for children, youth and family –Modus, 9 January 2022.

[10] Information provided by Centre for Peace Studies, 10 January 2022. See:

[11]  Information provided by Centre for Peace Studies, 18January 2023.

[12] Information provided by Centre for Peace Studies, 10 January 2022 and Are You Syrious, 7 February 2022 and 3 February 2023.

[13] Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia: INCLuDE Social Inclusion of Persons Granted International Protection in the Republic of Croatia,year of publication: 2022, available in English at:; and in Croatian at:

[14] EMN, Quarterly Bulletin (April – June 2022), available at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation