Croatia’s Education Reform: a roller coaster

Editors observe: By publishing 36 curricula within the Official Gazette remaining month, the Ministry of Science and Education formally achieved the challenge to reform training. However, this isn’t always a tale with a happy finishing for faculty children in Croatia. Even at the start glance, it’s miles clean that the curriculum is far from what became promised three years ago. With controversies around the new curriculum rising regular, Jose Miguel Calatayud grants the tale approximately the war for educational reform in Croatia from its starting.

One day 3 years ago, Daniela Drandić became very surprised whilst she saw her nine-12 months-antique daughter’s pocketbook from college. The Croatian Language trainer had turned around in crimson every ‘r’ her daughter had written. The letters were OK and legible, but in Croatian, the ‘r’ has to be written in one specific manner that wasn’t how Daniela’s daughter became doing it, the trainer stated.

As her baby endured to be chastised for her ‘r’, Daniela went to the school, inside the town of Rovinj within the Istria vicinity, and talked to the trainer and the principal. Both of them stated the ‘r’ must be written that manner in step with policies, period.

Upset approximately the complete tale, Daniela shared a photograph of the pocketbook on Facebook, and then a friend of hers mentioned that, even though all the ‘r’ were turned around, the teacher had failed to accurate a spelling mistake. “Not catching a mistake like that could be trouble”, says Daniela, who is Canadian-born and works at parents’ affiliation RODA.

“(Children) are mastering all varieties of nonsense and of stupid things by heart, however it’s not something they’re going so that you can use, and it’s now not going to present them useful abilties, it just teaches them that shape is greater essential than content material”, says Daniela, who complains about the Croatian education device no longer having changed extensively for many years and being out of sync with today’s reality.

In fact, between 2013 and 2016 the share of Croatian 15-12 months-olds with underachievement increased and is above the European Union (EU) common, in keeping with the cutting-edge PISA have a look at, a global evaluation of instructional systems. “The first-rate of curricula and coaching appear to be the principal driver of Croatia’s terrible performance”, said in November 2017 the European Commission (EC) commenting on the one’s outcomes.

The need for education reform has been acknowledged in Croatia since it declared independence in 1991, but with the aid of the late 2000s, the successive governments had failed to achieve any noticeable reform. “There changed into no clear way and nobody desired to reveal this initiative from the political events to exchange something, because (with) this gadget you produce students that don’t have any way of crucial wondering, that does not query something”, says Daniel Martinović, 38, an IT consultant and activist based totally in Zagreb. “Without any civic education, you produce passive citizens”.

Research conducted in 2009 through the united states of america’s Center for Human Rights had reached a similar conclusion: “Croatian colleges do no longer offer sufficient instructional content to develop youngsters into responsible and self-conscious residents. The gadget of schooling does no longer function in an open and democratic way, and teachers and headmasters do no longer feel enough able nor prompted to educate kids about human rights subjects”.

United for civic training

Daniel had studied to emerge as an instructor himself, however, after his coaching exercise, he was given upset within the system and have become an activist as an alternative. One of the NGOs he ended up operating for is GONG, which targets to encourage “lively and responsible participation of residents in political procedures”. Back in 2008, inside the context of a hastily modernising and newly democratic Croatia on its manner to grow to be a EU member, GONG, the Center for Peace Studies and the Croatian Youth Network released the GOOD Initiative to push for the introduction of civic schooling as a separate situation in schools, with the intention of manufacturing a extra politically competent youngsters.

Instead of making a brand new employer, civil society actors preferred to join forces to shape a wide movement in which absolutely everyone ought to take part in line with their ability and information. After some years, GOOD encompassed extra than forty different organizations –inclusive of Daniela’s RODA– managing human rights, democracy, gender issues, the kids, the media, Croatia’s history… The old education gadget and the political incompetence it became producing provided a focus for Croatian civil society to rally around.

Thanks to European and countrywide finances, between 2008 and 2011 GOOD participants implemented extra than 20 initiatives concerning democratic citizenship and human rights. “(We were) presenting non-formal schooling in the field of civic education, operating with schools, running with teachers, with principals, and seeking to impact and have an impact on government officers in order for civic education to a part of the mandatory curricula inside the way that we idea it should be”, summarises Marko Kovačić, 31, who joined GOOD because the representative of the Croatian Debate Society in 2011, when he changed into a pupil.

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