Secondary school students in Croatia are showing a growing interest in vocational occupations, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said earlier this week, citing data from the Ministry of Science and Education.
"According to our calculation, which is based on the latest data from the Ministry of Science and Education, the total number of children enrolled in secondary schools this school year is 39,342, which is a marked increase from last year when 37,993 were enrolled," said the head of the HGK Education Division, Bozo Pavicin.
Pavicin said that they were particularly glad that this year 650 more students were enrolled in scarce vocational occupations than last year. He said that this was encouraging and that this trend was expected to continue over the next three to four years.
However, despite these short-term positive indicators, the HGK expressed concern about the fall in the number of school children as a result of overall poor demographic developments.
In the last five years, 44,000 pupils have been lost (down from 509,000 in the school year 2013/2014 to 465,000 in 20182019), with three eastern counties - Vukovar-Srijem, Brod-Posavina and Pozega-Slavonia - observing the highest rates of decline, of more than 20 percent.
A brief overview of shortage occupations shows that the number of secondary school students enrolled in vocational programs for cooks has increased by 6.4 percent to 1,268, the number of those enrolled in programs for waiters has risen by 11.5 percent to 608, the number of tilers has gone up by 19 percent to 112, the number of bricklayers has risen by 10 percent, while the number of joiners and butchers has increased by 21 and 70 percent respectively.
The number of students enrolled in grammar schools has remained stable at 6,400, while the number of those enrolled in secondary economics schools has risen by 7 percent to about 2,500, the HGK said.