Croatia Last Country in Europe to Introduce IT as Compulsory Subject in Schools

By 6 July 2018

ZAGREB, July 6, 2018 - The scandalous complaint to the Constitutional Court by the “In the Name of the Family” civil society organisation not to introduce IT as a subject in Croatian schools is an attempt not to give everyone the right to an equal opportunity while Croatia is the last in Europe to introduce IT as a compulsory subject, Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak said on Friday.

Minister Divjak visited a Zagreb high school which is part of the "School for Life" project, and after the visit she addressed reporters and commented on the complaint that an associate of the “In the Name of the Family” NGO, Tomislav Gojmerac, submitted to the Constitutional Court in June.

Gojmerac requested that the legality and compliance with the Constitution of Divjak's decision to introduce IT as a compulsory subject in schools as of September be tested. He referred to a 2013 Constitutional Court ruling which quashed a decision on the introduction of the health education curriculum, and considers that that decision can be fully applied to the latest decision to introduce the IT curriculum.

Divjak said she was pleased with the visit today and that it was yet another confirmation that preparations to introduce the experimental curriculum reform programme were going according to plan. She added that visits like today's were an attempt to round off the first part of the preparations so that as of July 15, teachers could enjoy their break before the autumn, when they would be returning to the classroom.

She underscored though, "I have to admit that I feel immense pressure, as does my team at the ministry, with regard to various lies that are appearing in the media and pressure by extremist groups which in fact want to keep our schools and education in the dungeon, perhaps not even in the 19th century but in the Middle Ages."

Divjak recalled that some IT text books date back to 1994 and that more than 80% of Croatian citizens support the introduction of IT as a compulsory subject, as well as that more than 70% support the comprehensive curriculum reform and its experimental introduction.

She appealed to everyone, including teachers, to continue supporting the reform, noting that using the available human potential and chances to provide equal opportunities for every child was Croatia's greatest chance for the future.

Experimental text books next week

Divjak announced that she expected experimental text books for all subjects next week except for three subjects in Grade 7 of elementary schools. "Everything is going according to plan," she reiterated.

Commenting on the criticism by the GOOD initiative that the "money earmarked for the curriculum reform will mostly be spent on IT equipment," Divjak said that the "GOOD initiative should learn how to read the budget better because, in addition to the original limited funds from the state budget, there are resources we are getting and absorbing from European funds, so that the total amount at our disposal is 200 million kuna - 150 million kuna from the European Social Fund (ESF), four million in grants from the European Commission, 15% as Croatia's share, which is coming directly from the limited part, plus six million kuna from the budget."

When the total costs are observed, 20% of the money will be spent on IT equipment and the rest on education, work with teachers, textbooks, etc, she said.