Primary education in Croatia starts at the age of six or seven and consists of eight grades. In 2007 a law was passed to increase free but not compulsory education until eighteen years of age. Compulsory education consists of eight grades (Elementary School) Secondary education is provided by gymnasiums and vocational schools.
Croatia has eight universities, the University of Zagreb, University of Split, University of Rijeka, University of Osijek, University of Zadar, University of Dubrovnik the University of Pula and Dubrovnik International University. The University of Zadar, the first University in Croatia, was founded in 1396 and remained active until 1807, when other institutions of higher education took over until the foundation of the renewed University of Zadar in 2002. The University of Zagreb, founded in 1669, is the oldest continuously operating University in Southeastern Europe. There are also 11 polytechnics and 23 higher education institutions of which 19 are private.
There are numerous public music schools on the primary and secondary education levels. Over thirty scientific institutes are registered in Croatia, the largest one being the Institute "Ruđer Bošković" in Zagreb that excels in physics. The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb is a learned society promoting language, culture, arts and science from its first conception in 1836.
According to a survey ordered by the European commission in 2005, 49% of Croats speak English, 34% speak German, 14% Italian, 4% French and Russian and 2% Spanish language.
A worldwide study about the quality of education in different countries published by Newsweek in August 2010 ranked Croatian education system on the 22nd place, to share the position with Austria.