Rijeka’s Model of Citizenship Education Expands to Other Regions

Elementary school students want to know more about the society they live in.

Mayor of Rijeka Vojko Obersnel and Deputy Mayor of Osijek Žana Gamoš have signed an agreement on co-operation in the implementation of citizenship education extracurricular activity in primary schools, reports Novi List on May 7, 2018.

Osijek is the tenth town or county in Croatia which has decided to take over Rijeka’s curriculum for the citizenship education classes. The programme is already being implemented in Sisak, Poreč, Rovinj, Pula, Umag, Pazin, Opatija, Istria Country and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

“We are delighted with interest shown in the programme which we have introduced in our primary schools. That is a message that we are on the right track. I am sorry that there is no will to solve the issue of citizenship education on the national level through curricular reform, but that is a different story. At the local level, we have proven our responsibility and efficiency, and we have reacted faster than the state when it comes to citizens' needs. The Town of Osijek, as in all previous cases, will receive free of charge the curriculum, the textbook, the teacher education programme and everything else needed for the implementation,” said Rijeka Mayor Obersnel.

Deputy Mayor of Osijek Žana Gamoš expressed her the satisfaction that the signed agreement will enable the implementation of the project for the introduction of citizenship education in primary schools in Osijek.

“I would like to thank the Town of Rijeka for its support, assistance and experience that it will share with us, which will make the implementation easier. We have issued a call for the introduction of citizenship education in 20 elementary schools, and in the next academic year the classes will start in five additional schools,”, Gamoš announced.

For the purpose of carrying out the extracurricular subject Citizenship Education, Rijeka will provide Osijek with the “Student Citizen” textbook, which is intended for students of fifth and sixth grades of primary schools, accompanying teaching materials and guidelines for teachers.

After the textbook for students of the seventh and eighth grades of primary schools is published, it will also be forwarded to Osijek.

Citizenship education has been introduced in primary schools in Rijeka as an extracurricular activity, in the form of a separate subject which students initially had once a week for the first year. However, students expressed interest in having more classes and, starting from this academic year, there are two classes each week.

At the national level, the introduction of citizenship education is considered controversial by conservative activists, who believe it is a way of promoting liberal values among children.

Translated from Novi List (reported by Damir Cupać).