The strategic basis for the development of the CROQF is set in the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning from April 2008 (OJ C 111, 6.5.2008.). Besides giving guidelines for the development of qualifications frameworks with the view of enhancing lifelong learning and professional mobility, the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) supports the development of the European labour market. Through the process of referencing of national qualifications frameworks to the EQF, transparent comparisons of different education and training systems is made more possible (attempting to take into account all educational sub-systems and forms of learning, and not just formal learning) and the understanding of qualifications and competences is facilitated for the educational institutions, employers and individuals.
Parallel to the development of the EQF, in 2003, at the conference of the European ministers of higher education in Berlin, the development of the so-called Bologna Framework or the Qualifications Framework of the European Area of Higher Education (QF-EHEA) was initiated and accepted at the ministers' conference in Bergen in 2005. The process of self-certification of national qualifications frameworks against the QF-EHEA harmonizes the acquiring of qualifications in the higher education system.
The Croatian Qualifications Framework is linked to both of these 'meta-frameworks', and the representatives of the Republic of Croatia, that is, the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, participate regularly in the European Commission’s working groups, such as for example the network of National Contact Points for EQF (NCP EQF) and the EQF Advisory Group as well as in the work of the Council of Europe, for instance in the Bologna Follow-up Group.
The development and the implementation of the CROQF is also in line with the implementation of the Copenhagen process, a reform process in the field of vocational education and training in which Croatia participates along with other 32 European countries. The Copenhagen Declaration represents the basis for the European Union's efforts in enhancing cooperation in the field of vocational education and training. The Declaration is a result of the Barcelona European Council in 2002 and it envisages activities in the field of vocational education similar to those envisaged by the Bologna Declaration in the higher education field.
Until 2013 Republic of Croatia has closely cooperated with the EU's Education and Training Foundation (ETF) which was responsible for supporting the development of human capital through the reform of education and training system and its connection to the labour market. The main areas of cooperation between the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and the ETF consisted of developing evidence based policy making within the Torinet initiative and activities of referencing the Croatian Qualifications Framework to the European Qualifications Framework.
After joining the European Union, Croatia started to cooperate with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training – (CEDEFOP) which is responsible for the EU Member States' cooperation in the field of VET. CEDEFOP has an advisory role and with its research and collected data provides help to the European Commission, Member States, EU institutions and other organizations to make informed decisions on the vocational education and training policy.
EDUCATION REFORM INITIATIVE OF SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE (ERI SEE)
ERI SEE is a regional platform for cooperation in the field of education and training. The cooperation was initiated in 2004 by the Task Force Education and Youth (TFEY) of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe with the aim of providing support to national reforms in education and training in South Eastern Europe through the perspective of EU integration and promotion of regional cooperation at the level of education systems.
In cooperation with the Task Force Building Human Capital (TFBHC) of the Regional Cooperation Council - the follower of the TFEY – ERI SEE established the following four clusters of knowledge:
• CoK Modernizing VET system – improving performance, quality and attractiveness of VET;
• CoK Evidence Based Policy Making in Education;
• CoK Development of National Qualifications Frameworks;
• CoK Teacher Training.
TFBHC and ERI SEE Cluster of Knowledge Development of National Qualifications Frameworks was established after the Croatian proposal in 2011 with the view of exchanging experiences and examples of good practice in the field of development of national qualifications frameworks and their referencing and self-certification to the European Qualifications Framework and the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area, as well as in the field of quality assurance and development of systems for recognition and validation of informal and non-formal learning. The cluster is managed by Croatia as the lead country and other countries that participate in its work are Bosnia Herzegovina, FYROM, Kosovo*, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.