M. Huđek, A. Kišić, R. Kelemen

Varaždin County (CROATIA)
This is a research on the areas and criteria of excellence in primary and secondary education at the level of regional self-government. The study was conducted on a sample of 33 primary and 13 secondary schools founded by the Varaždin County. On the basis of research data and using the Pareto principle and descriptive statistics a model for determination of excellence in primary and secondary education at the level of regional self-government is presented. The areas analysed in the study are very important for the functioning of the school system, because they include lifelong learning, attitude towards business on the principles of good management, encouragement of learning competencies for the real sector, promotion of the sustainable development, computerization, introduction of project financing and working with gifted students. The model of excellence is shown through seven areas of schools’ work, and for each there are certain criteria. These seven areas of schools’ work include: excellence of the managing personnel since their excellence is crucial in decision making. The excellence of business expenditures refers to the expenditure management which determines financial equality among schools. Analysis and criteria for determination are made using the Pareto principle for the expenditures that make up 80% of the financial cost of the schools. The excellence of student entrepreneurship refers to programs of student entrepreneurship which are important educational elements, created according to the needs of the environment in which the school operates. The excellence of green programs in education has a significant importance in school business, and in the field of education and sustainable development of the environment in which the school operates. It includes programs which refer to energy efficiency and renewable energy, and educating teachers on the environmental protection, rational use of energy and the implementation of eco programs. Nowadays, in the time of global computerization, the excellence of e-programs is extremely important for the school system in its mission of education, but also for the business of the school as an institution. Also, the excellence of the EU programs is of great importance for the school system. It encourages project financing and partnership in the implementation of projects financed by EU funds which improve the educational system. Programs of excellence for gifted students enable a large number of them to meet their interests and develop their skills for specific areas and specialties. The excellence of gifted students implies students' and teachers' participation in the work of centers of excellence, as well as their participation and results in competitions at local, national and international level. After the consolidation of the results of excellence in these seven areas, the model is given on the basis of which we follow excellence at the level of regional self-government. The model and the results give us an overview of the areas and schools which are the basis of excellence. They also give us an overview of the participation in the excellence results by some schools and areas, as well as of those schools and areas where the principle of progress and improvement should be applied.