Investing Strategically in Croatia’s Higher Education: Aligning Public Funding with Policy Objectives

April 26, 2016

ZAGREB, April 26, 2016 – The Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia and the World Bank today organized a joint workshop Investing Strategically in Higher Education: Aligning Public Funding with Policy Objectives. The main goal of the workshop is to share knowledge and experiences on different ways to align higher education policy objectives and funding strategies.

With most of higher education funding in Central European and Baltic countries coming from public resources, many governments are increasingly looking at financing as a policy instrument that can help them realize their higher education policy objectives. Considering that government funding accounts for more than half (and up to 90%) of income for most universities in the region, aligning the way money is allocated to universities can create strong incentives for better higher education performance.

The workshop gathered senior policy makers from Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Czech Republic. With the involvement from several international tertiary education experts, including Mr. Jamil Salmi, Mr. Frank Ziegele, and Mr. Francisco Marmolejo, the attendees discussed common challenges and opportunities facing their higher education systems, examples from other countries of how the strategic use of financing can support specific policy objectives, and how the World Bank and European Commission have supported higher education financing reforms. The workshop emphasized not only the theory behind strategic financing but also the process and challenges associated with implementing reforms.

“Given the current economic challenges throughout Central Europe and the Baltic countries, it is no surprise that policy makers are interested in exploring more efficient and effective financing mechanisms for higher education,” said Arup Banerji, World Bank Regional Director for Operations in the European Union. “The World Bank is pleased to co-host this workshop, facilitate regional knowledge exchange on the key topic, and provide direct support to some of these countries as they design and implement reforms to revamp their higher education systems,”

The workshop highlighted how performance-based contracts, competitive funding, excellence schemes, and other financing mechanisms can be mixed and matched to support common higher education policy objectives, including assuring and enhancing quality, improving links between higher education and the labor market, fostering research and technology transfer, optimizing finances of higher education institutions, increasing equitable participation of disadvantaged populations, and fostering collaboration.

The workshop serves as an important contribution to a forthcoming World Bank policy note on aligning public funds with higher education policy objectives.

“I am very pleased that Croatia was chosen, by the World Bank, to host this workshop which gathered high level delegations from nine European Union members. Together with the World Bank, we are working on the implementation of a better higher education financing model. The Ministry and the academic community are partners in this process. I am certain that together we will offer an education system of higher quality that  will contribute to Croatia’s economic growth, as high-grade human capital, is key to economic progress in any country,” said Predrag Šustar, Minister of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia.

Since joining the World Bank in 1993, Croatia has benefited from financial and technical assistance, policy advice, and analytical services provided by the global development institution. To date, the World Bank has supported 54 operations amounting to around US$3.5 billion.

Media Contacts
The World Bank Office in Croatia
Vanja Frajtić
Tel : 01/ 2357 230
Ministry of Science, Education and Sports
Katarina Matasić
Tel : 01/ 4594 295