Higher education in Croatia and requirements of the European Union
In: Croatian Accession to the European Union: Institutional Challenges
The objective of this paper is to draw attention to the conditions that Croatia needs to meet in the area of higher education on the route towards European Union (EU) accession. Although higher education is not one of the priority sectors Croatia should work upon in order to meet the provisions of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), it is very clear that the harmonisation of Croatian legislation with European standards in the area of higher education will be one of the mainstays of social development and then of genuine accession to the EU. The main means for the unification and reform of tertiary education in Europe is the Bologna Process. Just recently, through the nominal accession to the Bologna Process, Croatia has started to become aware of the imperatives that the EU has set all accession countries and potential accession countries. However, Croatia also has additional problems, inherited from the tradition, which should be settled before it begins to address those related to joining the European higher education area. We shall first give a brief account of the situation in Europe and outline the requirements of the Bologna Declaration. Then we shall compare the situation in Croatia and the accession countries with respect to the parameters that are tracked in the integration process, and highlight just a few problems that derive from the tradition and that take on increasing salience in the process of harmonisation with the Bologna Declaration. Lastly, we shall put forward some recommendations.
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