Improvement and equalisation of the quality of compulsory education in Croatia
Current educational policy in developed countries (EU, OECD) aims for a high quality education for all, thus providing competencies for a life and work in a knowledge based society and economy. In order to equalize and improve the quality of education in schools, these educational systems are developed with a focus on modernization of curriculum and by taking into account new key competencies,. Hence, in order to conduct an empirical research on the quality of education and its factors, it is important to clearly and operationally define concept of the quality of education and its depending factors. It is possible to improve a national quality of education through the targeted actions towards the critical quality factors. The research aims are: to conceptualize the quality of education and its main factors, to determine main factor indicators that influence quality of education, to develop and asses instruments for testing factor indicators influencing quality of education, use the empirical research to suggest measures for improvement and equalization of the quality of education in different regions of Croatia. Hypotheses: Factors that influence quality of education in Croatia are suboptimal in regards to new key competencies which are necessary for the development of a knowledge society. There are large differences between regions in the learning conditions that influence the quality of education. It is expected: to conduct a consistent conceptualization of the concept of and factors that influence quality of education; to verify methodology for testing factors of the quality of education indicators; to determine the present state of indicators of factors of the quality of education; to determine regional differences in certain indicators of factors of the quality of education; to give suggestions for enhancement and equalization of quality of education in Croatia. The results will be validated in comparison with the international standards in the area of education and with the external evaluation data (HNOS, PISA). Importance of the proposed research is in its contribution to the theory of quality of education and construction of validated instruments for measurement of indicators for quality variables. Practical importance is in the identification of the main factors of the quality of education in Croatia. This would enable explicit recommendations for improvement and equalization of quality of education in Croatia.