Education System The eight years of primary education are divided into two stages: classes one to four and five to eight. Secondary education comprises grammar schools, vocational schools and art schools. Grammar schools are divided into general, linguistic, classical and scientific schools. Vocational schools offer courses lasting for three or four years, including a period of practical instruction. Art schools include Music, Dance, Visual Art and Design. Attendance to Science classes is not obligatory. Students must pass an entrance examination to enter university in professional fields. Institutions of higher education include universities, faculties, and academies of arts, polytechnics and schools of professional higher education. Higher education is divided into a university and a non-university sector. Universities can comprise faculties, academies of arts or departments. In addition to public higher education institutions, there are also private institutions of higher education approved by the National Council for Higher Education. Population Croatia has an estimated population of 4.5 million. Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (89.6%). Minority groups include Serbs (4.5%), Bosniaks (0.5%), Hungarians (0.4%) and others. Capital Zagreb Languages The official and common language, Croatian, is a South Slavic language, using the Latin alphabet. Other languages are spoken by less than 5% of the population. Religions Roman Catholic 87.8%, Orthodox 4.4%, Muslim 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, others and unknown 6.2% (2001 estimates) Economy Before the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Croatia, after Slovenia, was the most prosperous and industrialized area, with a per capita output perhaps one-third above the Yugoslav average. The economy emerged from a mild recession in 2000 with tourism, banking, and public investments leading the way. Unemployment remains high, at about 14%, with structural factors slowing its decline. While macroeconomic stabilization has largely been achieved, structural reforms lag because of deep resistance on the part of the public and lack of strong support from politicians. Growth, while impressively about 4% for the last several years, has been achieved through high fiscal and current account deficits. The government is gradually reducing a heavy back log of civil cases, many involving land tenure. The EU accession process should accelerate fiscal and structural reform.