I. Santini, A. Zbiljski, I. Ogrizek Biskupic

University of Applied Sciences Baltazar Zapresic (CROATIA)
The authors of this paper analyse predictors and ground issues of European Higher Education Area with focus on its development, shortcomings and market needs compliance. Universities of Applied sciences are usually underrepresented rather than scientific ones and furthermore, some regulatory bodies from EU countries highlight their unequal position as something positive. According to the description and purpose of polytechnics and/or universities of applied sciences founded within EU HEA framework (especially in the field of business), they provide the wider amount of professional practise and cooperation with enterprises. However, the growth and development of HEI in business generate problems related to an appropriate positioning of private founded HEI within HEA system and a production of specific knowledge by HE teachers with a lower level of professional quality. These problems reflect to Croatia as well.

Based on the Eurostat data on Lifelong learning programmes and the inclusion of population in overall, Croatia is still on the bottom of EU 28. Private founded HEI in Croatia currently provide a larger number of LLL programmes than public universities and polytechnics. Furthermore, private founded universities educate a larger number of part-time students who are already employed or self-employed, which by the nature of things, affects and determines a need for the further professional and scientific development of HE teachers on the one hand and the private founded HEI in general on the other. Accordingly, in the end, an open issue related to the purpose and quality of specific knowledge production accrues.

In this paper the authors will discuss problems related to the position of private founded HEI within HEA system and the production of specific knowledge by HE teachers for the practice purpose. Consequently, with an aim to ensure an appropriate direction of the further growth and development of specific knowledge production within the private founded HEI conceptualized in the form of LLL programmes, the authors will discuss the results of conducted preliminary research based on University of Applied Sciences Baltazar alumni and on its HE teachers to investigate their perception related to:
(1) the current state of interconnection between HEI (HE teachers) and practice (alumni students) and
(2) the need for continuous interconnection between HEI and practice in the future.