The Croatian education system consists of various schooling types: kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools. Holidays typically run for two weeks at Christmas, one week in April and from mid-June to September. Public education in Croatia is free from kindergarten until the end of secondary education, as it is subsidized by the Ministry of Education.
There are approximately 450 kindergartens in Croatia, although not all are public. Kindergarten is not compulsory, but children can enter as early as one year old.
Primary education is compulsory in Croatia, and starts at the age of 6. There are nearly a thousand public primary schools, directed by the municipalities themselves.
Grading is done on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “insufficient” and 5 “excellent”. 1 is the only failing grade. Secondary schooling is optional in Croatia, although there is a strong movement to make it compulsory. The grading system used in secondary schools is identical to the primary school system. Students used to take an exam to enter university, but this was replaced in 2009 by a State Secondary School Leaving Examination for all students.
As for English-speaking options the American School in Zagreb is the only truly international school and recognized as such. American International School of Zagreb (AISZ) accepts children from Junior Kindergarten (must be age 4 by October 1st of the year of entrance) through to High school. The school is located at Voćarska Street, a residential area, about 10 minutes from the main square. The academic year usually begins in the last week of August and ends in mid June.
The primary curriculum is based on the American public school system and the International Baccalaureate is used in the High school. Instruction is in English. Those students with limited English are offered instruction in English as a second language. The foreign language program starts in Senior kindergarten and includes German and French classes. Croatian is not taught at the school, except as an after-school activity.
The French School of Zagreb (Ecole Francaise de Zagreb) is under the jurisdiction of the French Embassy in Zagreb, and is in the same building with the German School of Zagreb known as Eurocampus. Excellent co-operation of those two schools provides the children of both schools to participate in joint activities. Eurocampus is located in Fratrovac, about 10 minutes by car from the city centre. The French school takes children from ages 3-16. It is open to children of all nationalities, regardless of whether their native language is French or not, but a basic knowledge of French is required. The French School of Zagreb is a part of a network of French schools abroad so its pupils can continue their education in any of international French schools.
Curriculum is based on and accredited by the French public school system, and teachers are a graduate French professors coming from the French Ministry of Education.
German International School of Zagreb (Die Deutsche Internationale Schule in Zagreb) is an internationally recognized and is supported by the German Central Office for Education Abroad (Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen – ZFA). German School of Zagreb is open to students of all nationalities and it is located in EuroCampus together with the French school. EuroCampus allows students to live and learn in a European environment.
The German school takes children from ages 3-16. The working language is German, in kindergarten as well as in the school. Children whose first language is not German will be offered a language program “German for Foreigners”. Croatian language, Croatian history are compulsory as well as English and French languages. The school follows a curriculum based on German public school system.
As for Croatia-speaking options (with English as a second language) we can advise you to visit Matija Gubec School (Age 7-15, this school follows both a general Croatian curriculum and a separate International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and it is officially accredited and licensed by the IB organization in Geneva, international pupils are expected to speak English and Croatian as a foreign language is compulsory) and XV. Gimnazija MIOC (From age 15, International Baccalaureate (IB) program, officially accredited and licensed by the IB organization in Geneva, the working language is English, but every pupil has the opportunity to study his native or best language, literature and culture, the main focus is in the areas of Maths and Science)