Junior Coalition Partner Brags about Curricular Reform

By 2 September 2018

ZAGREB, September 2, 2018 - Croatian People's Party (HNS) leader Ivan Vrdoljak told a news conference on Sunday, ahead of the start of the new school year and the curricular reform, that the reform had been delayed for 20 years and that its launch on Monday, September 3, was a result of "the synergy between politics and expertise".

"The synergy between politics and expertise... for which we assumed responsibility a year and three months ago, has made it possible for Blaženka Divjak, a professor and scientist, to become the first minister to launch the curricular reform," Vrdoljak told reporters in the offices of his party which is a junior partner in the coalition government led by the HDZ. He said that the HNS had ensured full autonomy for Minister Divjak and her team.

"One of the key messages of the reform is that we do not want children to learn by rote, but rather learn critical thinking and develop their competencies. There is no ideology in the reform set that will reach classrooms tomorrow, the focus is on children, content, education, future and competencies," said Vrdoljak. He added that the reform could not be implemented overnight and called for continuing work on its development and for constructive criticism.

Asked if the reform could have been prepared better considering that the school year would begin with not all schools covered by the experimental stage of the reform having the necessary books and computers, Vrdoljak said that as far as he knew, most of the books had arrived in schools last Friday while the rest would arrive on Monday and Tuesday.

He said that school principals had taken over the necessary funds for the purchase of the teaching material and equipment and were therefore also responsible for the purchase of tablets and other digital equipment.

Vrdoljak noted that the equipment and maintenance of schools was within the remit of local and regional government units. "I am confident that the 8,500 children to begin the reform process will have the necessary books and digital equipment on Monday and Tuesday so that classes can be held with the least possible problems," Vrdoljak said, underscoring that close to 2,000 teachers had undergone training for the experimental stage of the curricular reform.

Minister Divjak said earlier this week that her ministry was ready for the launch of the "School for Life" pilot project in 74 schools. "The School for Life pilot project covers 74 schools with 8,500 pupils and close to 2,000 teachers and assistants, who have all been trained," said Divjak.