MOBILITY IN A BINARY THREE LEVEL EDUCATION SYSTEM: CASE STUDY OF CROATIA

J. Havranek, M. Grubisic

Agency for Science and Higher Education (CROATIA)
We consider the Croatian education system as an example of a three level binary education system. It was developed out of a more traditional two level system with the purpose of stimulating more student mobility and in better adapting to the need of emerging new economy.

More to the point, higher education in the Republic of Croatia is performed within university and professional courses. University study programmes have three levels: undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate. Professional study programmes are split into: short professional studies, undergraduate professional studies, and specialist graduate professional studies.

University study programmes are designed to qualify students to work in science and higher education, private and public sector and society in general, as well as to develop and apply scientific and professional knowledge. Professional study programmes provide students with an appropriate level of knowledge and skills required to work in an applied professions, as are meant to facilitate a direct integration in the working process.

In the time of the introduction of binary system of higher education (university studies and professional education) it was envisaged that professional study programmes will be performed independent colleges and polytechnics. However, after more than ten years of practice most universities still perform professional study programmes and at lower levels (eg. undergraduate professional studies). Furthermore, independent colleges and polytechnics, both public and private, develop primarily study programmes with emphasise on business administration and related fields and us such are not adapted to the full scope of needs of Croatian industries. Furthermore, most of the students study first two levels of study programmes at the same higher education institution, and thus the transition from the old two level system seems not to have leveraged its full potential to stimulate the student mobility as the needs of their career development evolve.