In an interview on Sunday, State Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Education Matko Glunčić commented on the results of the OECD educational research of knowledge and skills of students PISA 2015 (Programme for International Student Assessment), reports N1 and Index.hr on December 11, 2016.
“The results of Croatian students are not as catastrophic as they are being represented. In reading literacy, we have achieved a progress of 11 points, although we are still below average. But it shows that we are moving forward. Reading literacy is essential for all other forms of learning. However, we must invest all our resources to improve the situation”, he explained.
Asked about the below average results of Croatian students in international research, Glunčić gave an unexpected answer. “These rankings take into account average results. We do not take only the best students. In some European countries, they say to under average students not to come to school on the day of the test. Also, our statistics include children with special needs and national minorities. We take them all together”, said Glunčić.
The reporter asked him to explain why it mattered that a student was a member of a national minority. “I did not mean it like that, but we take it all together”, he tried to explain.
“The statement by the representative of the Ministry had a chauvinistic and racist addition, forgetting that intelligence and knowledge are not distributed according to criteria he mentioned, because if that were the case, then one of the most important scientists of our time, Stephen Hawking, would not be what he is, and Nikola Tesla would not be what he was”, said Milorad Pupovac, president of the Serbian National Council in Croatia, reacting to the Glunčić’s statement.
Former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said that the State Secretary should be dismissed from his position. “Dismissal and an apology – that would be the only appropriate response to the statement by official whom we pay to protect children, and not to discriminate against them with his statements”, said Kosor.
Member of Parliament Bojan Glavašević (SDP) also reacted to the statement. “We have Education Minister Barišić, with serious doubts that he plagiarized his scientific works, and now we see that his State Secretary discriminates against children by whether they are disabled or belong to ethnic minorities. When you take into account how much money Prime Minister Plenković allocated for education and research in the state budget, it is clear that the interest of the government is for the citizens of Croatia to be less educated and less informed. That is a shame”, said Glavašević.