According to the latest official data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DSZ), the number of first graders in Croatia continues to drop year after year.
Due to the negative death rate and increased and massive migratory wave of Croatian population to other EU countries, the DSZ data show that in the last decade the country has lost almost 2,521 classes with 25 students. Last year Croatia recorded 1,375 first graders less in comparison to the school year 2015/2016. However, the beginning of the 2017/2018 school year has not brought new data yet, however, temporary enrollment data from June indicate that this year's situation is even more dramatic than last year and that Croatia has lost another 2,139 first graders.
Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining. Even though the total plus (+631) is three time less than the total minus (-1,804), it is surprising that there are 50 cities in Croatia that continue to defy this alarming trend and record an increase in the number of enrolled first graders.
According to the data obtained directly from cities, out of 128 cities in Croatia 16 of them have recorded a two-digit increase in the number of first graders this year such as Supetar, Mali Losinj and Oroslavje with ten first graders more than last year. The cities of Vukovar (+42) and Dubrovnik (+46) have the highest number of enrolled children this year. Other Croatian cities following this positive trend are Koprivnica (+33), Zabok (+35), Solin (+37), Samobor (+37) and Kastela (+39). Among the Top ten cities with the largest increase in absolute figures are Senj (+24), Karlovac (+22), Porec (+20), Daruvar (+17) and Krk (+17).
As stated, out of 128 cities in Croatia, 50 of them are improving the average figures, whilst the remaining 78 cities continue the negative trend.
However, the scale and the pressure of the ''minus'' situation depend on the size of each city. For example, this year Osijek has recorded 48 first graders less than the previous year, however, considering the trends in the country and the fact that Osijek has 20 schools and more than 800 first graders, the situation is not that gloomy. On the other hand, the city of Beli Manastir has recorded 30 first graders less than last year meaning almost one third less enrolled children in comparison to the previous year.
Number of first graders in Croatian towns last year, this year and their share per 1000 inhabitans