Thursday, 3 February 2022

Proposal to Amend Foreign Qualifications Recognition Act

ZAGREB, 3 Feb 2022 - The proposal to amend the Foreign Qualifications Recognition Act provides for the recognition of post-secondary school education that is not part of the higher education system, Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The existing law does not provide for the recognition of foreign regulated professions and is not harmonised with strategic EU documents, so it was necessary to draw up the new proposal, the minister said. The new law is expected to facilitate access to the labour market for skilled labour and provide protection from poor qualifications, he added.

The recognition of foreign qualifications would be done by the Agency for Science and Higher Education, the Agency for Vocational Education and Training, and the Education and Teacher Training Agency.

The recognition of qualifications obtained abroad for the purpose of continuing education in Croatia would be carried out by education institutions where further education will be pursued.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 17 January 2022

Croatian Education Vouchers Worth 10,000 Kuna to be Issued in April

January the 17th, 2022 - Croatian education vouchers are set to be sent out to both employed and unemployed people in the amount of 10,000 kuna, as new technologies and new ways of doing things become more and more frequent.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Nikolina Petan writes, new technologies require the creation of new jobs, which can result in a number of disruptions, as a number of workers have to change careers, leading to an even more pronounced mismatch between supply and demand on the labour market.

The gap between need and supply is one of the main long-term problems of the Croatian labour market, which the relevant institutions are trying to solve through various measures. As suc, back at the end of December last year, Croatian Parliament passed amendments to the new Adult Education Act, and earlier this year the CES adopted new Active Employment Policy Measures for 2022, which include both the unemployed and the employed. The new measures include something called Croatian education vouchers.

Among these measures, which will encourage employment, self-employment, education and training, and ultimately stimulate economic growth through green and digital methods, include on-the-job training and education in various adult education institutions.

One of the key challenges to acquiring skills is the very low participation rate of Croatian adults in lifelong learning. The aim of these new measures is, therefore, to enable the greater participation of both unemployed and employed persons in lifelong learning with an emphasis placed on acquiring skills related to the green and digital transition and to provide employers with a quality workforce.

"Although there are more than 600 registered adult education institutions across the Republic of Croatia that implement or have implemented more than 11,000 educational programmes, there was no defined quality assurance system that would ensure quality and effective education focused on individual and labour market needs.

According to the former legal solution, adult education institutions received a decision from the Ministry of Science and Education to implement formal adult education programmes of unlimited duration, which resulted in programmes that were methodologically and substantively outdated, and sometimes inconsistent with changes in regulations from individual areas, which couldn't always guarantee an adequate level of quality.

In the system of adult education, there were still many problems in the implementation of adult education, which certainly shouldn't have happened, given the importance of an entire sector in which adjustment to the labour market is important.

Through the adoption of the new Adult Education Act, significant changes were introduced in the education system at the end of last year, especially when it comes to the harmonisation of educational programmes with the needs of the labour market and the quality of the implementation of said educational programmes.

The intention of the state is to reach the EU average in adult education by 2030, because Croatia is currently at 3.5 percent, while the EU average is a far higher 10.8 percent. Amendments to the law were needed to better respond to labour market needs and help gain better social status through adult education,'' said Tomislav Katic, director of the recently opened Orsus University and owner of the Orsus Group, one of Croatia's leading security management companies.

One of the most important measures of the Law on Adult Education and the first document that legally regulates the announcement of the government's National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO) is related to the issuance of Croatian education vouchers for education of 30,000 employed and unemployed people over the next three years. According to the bill, these Croatian education vouchers will be used for both formal and non-formal education programmes in order to facilitate access to the labour market, and the funds for it have been withdrawn from EU funds.

This financial instrument for the allocation of public funds for adult education will be awarded on the basis of the Adult Education Agreement, and its value for individual adult education is on average 10,000 kuna per person, meaning that the measure is planned to cover 30,000 people. The exact amount of Croatian education vouchers issued will be determined depending on the sector in question and the duration and complexity of the selected education programme, which will depend on the final elaboration of price scaling.

Legislative framework for establishing a Croatian education voucher system

"MROSP has defined about 60 required skills with an emphasis on the green and digital transition. By April this year, an improved skills catalog will be developed - that is, a list of skills needed to do a particular job. The Law on Adult Education introduces the notion of acquiring micro-qualifications, which is the basis for shorter educational programmes,'' explained Katic.

The establishment of the ORSUS College was a logical sequence of developing the business of the ORSUS Group through education in economic activities that require specific knowledge and skills and which, through practice, have been recorded as a shortage in the domestic labour market.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Andrej Plenkovic Visits Novska Gaming Campus, New Student Dorms

January the 14th, 2022 - Novska is having a complete and utter turnaround, becoming the Novska gaming campus which has just recently been put into function, as have new student dorms.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, it has been less than two years since Novska's former INA building was transferred to the portfolio of that city, which is rapidly positioning itself as the centre of the gaming industry in Croatia. The new building has been put into a new function by being transformed into new student dorms.

This has been a joint project of the City of Novska, Sisak-Moslavina County and the Croatian Government, which was officially opened this week by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who made sure to emphasise that this is just one project which is transforming Novska into the country's gaming centre as the industry of the future.

Two business incubators are playing host to more than 60 companies specialising in video games, while over 50 percent of the companies engaged in the gaming industry are registered in Novska where young people just keep on coming, which is the nucleus of development and new positioning of the city and the wider county.

In the specific case of the second student dormitory in this county, the education department has a prominent role, which verified a new subject for Novska's students - training to become technicians for video game development, resulting in the need to open the aforementioned student dormitory.

More than half of the students enrolled in this subject of study come from outside of the area, and 21 students will be the new tenants of the new building. According to Prefect Ivan Celjan, there is a recognition of the education and needs of today's students, but also the efforts of parents who are trying to achieve better conditions for their children. Owing to the deep understanding of the above, the student dorms will be fully funded, which means they'll be free of charge for end users.

The new dorms will house students from all over Croatia from Zagreb, Dugo Selo, Bjelovar, Kutinska Lipa, Stari Petrovo Selo, Kumrovec, Bektez, Koprivnica, Vodnjan and beyond, while the interest in the new field of study is unsurprisingly huge given the popularity of video games and the Novska gaming campus.

The Croatian Government has raised subsidies for entrepreneurs to the maximum (within the programme of the reconstruction and revitalisation of the local economy after a series of catastrophic earthquakes at the end of 2020) and this concept is being carried out in cooperation with the CES, being considered a magnet for young people who will come to Novska and hopefully decide to stay following their studies.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Croatia and Hungary Sign Programme of Cooperation in Education and Science

ZAGREB, 24 June 2021 - Croatian Minister of Science and Technology Radovan Fuchs and Hungary's Minister for Human Resources Miklós Kásler on Thursday signed a program of cooperation in education and science for the period 2021 to 2025. 

"The document additionally testifies to the exceptionally good, friendly, harmonic relations between Croatia and Hungary. The centuries-long history of our two peoples comes to full expression in cooperation and friendly relations," said Minister Fuchs.

He underscored that the way the issue of the Hungarian minority in Croatia and the Croatian minority in Hungary, all the rights that national minorities enjoy, is definitely an example of how relations between minorities could be resolved in other EU countries.

"This program opens further possibilities for cooperation, additional elements that will improve what we have been trying to do this entire time, to preserve the cultural and national identity of our national minorities," Fuchs said.

The program adds a new element to that cooperation. Each country will send their teachers, not members of national minorities but native speakers, to improve and advance courses in their mother tongue. 

Fuchs thanked the Hungarian government for its aid to earthquake-struck areas in Croatia, particularly for the construction of a new elementary school in Petrinja.

Kásler: Both governments attach great importance to public education, the inclusion of minorities in education

Minister Kásler underscored that bother governments attach great importance to public education and the inclusion of national minorities in their own education and culture.

That cooperation exists equally between institutions, students, and teachers, he said.

"This is a beautiful and important station in development and cooperation. Just like Hungary has done for the Croatian minority, Croatia has expanded the possibilities in public education for the Hungarian minority. This is a symbolic step, but it is also very important because it enables that one country provides help for the other," said Minister Kásler.

In that context, he said that since 2010 Hungary has increased its financial investments by three and a half times, from the initial 1.8 billion forints (€5.1 million) to 10 billion (€28.5 million) now.

"We have to discuss material matters that will enable good functioning but I consider that content is just as important. We have 800 years of joint tradition and history, living in peace and allowing coexistence and survival in difficult times," he said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Croatian Algebra Awards Scholarships Worth More Than 500,000 HRK

June the 1st, 2021 - The Croatian Algebra educational institution is offering scholarships for its MBA programme which exceed the very handsome amount of 500,000 kuna.

As Novac writes, the final presentation of the candidates who have applied, the team work on this assignment and then the announcement of the most successful scholarship holders ended the scholarship competition of the Croatian Algebra University this past weekend.

The above competition involved candidates who were given the opportunity to win full and partial scholarships for the only e-Leadership MBA programme in Croatia and the wider area. It involves teaching modules imbued with topics related to the digital transformation and the industrial revolution 4.0, the Croatian Algebra University said.

The partner of the final day of the competition was one of the most innovative global marketing companies, Red Bull, whose experts prepared a challenging business case to be solved by Algebra's scholarship candidates. The mentors available to the teams were Hrvoje Martic (Infodom), Luka Maricic (Superology), Filip Petrovic (JGL), Mario Pavic (Five), Juraj Zlof (GrowthFix), Petra Stojanov (Algebra LAB) and Zeljko Riha (Riha & Stamac).

As part of this year's competition, one full scholarship, one scholarship in the amount of half the tuition fee and ten partial scholarships were awarded. Although the applications for the scholarship competition were individual, on the scholarship day itself, the candidates competed in teams, so that, in addition to individuals, members of the three best placed teams also won partial scholarships for MBA studies at the Croatian Algebra University.

The candidates, who were divided into teams, voted for the performances of other teams and solutions to the aforementioned Red Bull business challenge that they liked the most. Members of the winning team, "Arima One", won scholarships for the MBA programme in the amount of 35,000 kuna per candidate, the second-placed team "Running Cord" was offered scholarships in the amount of 30,000 kuna, while the third-placed team, "Divas", was awarded scholarships in the amount of 25,000 kuna per candidate.

The jury will then award the most valuable prizes, a full scholarship for the MBA programme in the amount of 135,000 kuna, as well as all remaining partial scholarships this year, after further analysis of individual performances in the coming days due to the complexity of the evaluation process and the very good presentations of the candidates with their project solutions. The jury of this year's scholarship competition consists of members of the MBA team of the University of Algebra - Goran Radman, Maja Dujlovic, Arsen Solic and Natasa Soic.

"We believe that our vision of upgrading the classic MBA study with topics related to the digital transformation and the industrial revolution 4.0 is becoming more and more real every year, with each new generation of students.

The great interest we've seen from the candidates for this year's scholarship competition as well as the great successes achieved in the business sphere and in the careers of our previous candidates, as well as our current students and graduates, show that this MBA programme has successfully responded to the challenge of educating people for leadership and management skills, but also that it inspired them to creatively apply digital technologies with the goal of digitally transforming the business of their companies. We'd like to congratulate all of the scholarship holders on their scholarships and we believe that they'll also represent a step towards significant progress in their careers,'' emphasised Arsen Solic of the Croatian Algebra University.

The Algebra MBA scholarship competition is otherwise, and traditionally, a fantastic opportunity for business networking. The final competition, which sees the solving of a specific business challenge, attracts people in similar career positions in some of the best Croatian and international companies. As the Algebra MBA e-Leadership programme combines knowledge and skills from the fields of business management, managerial skills and knowledge of digital technologies, as well as the implementation of digital transformation, its participants are usually those who require some of these skills - and their synergy effect - for further advancement and to take new, leading positions in their companies.

For more, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

EC Approved More than €150 Million to Integrate Innovative Digital Technologies in Croatia's Education System

November 18, 2020 - According to the EU Cohesion policy, the European Commission has approved an investment worth more than €150 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) to integrate innovative digital technologies in Croatia's education system.

The project e-Schools will roll out a comprehensive ICT infrastructure, provide state-of-the-art IT equipment, develop educational software and connect students and teachers in 1166 public primary and secondary schools throughout the country. CARNET’s regional hubs in Zagreb, Osijek, Rijeka and Split, as well as county hubs, will be upgraded. Schools will get computers, and every school will have an interactive classroom with an interactive display and tablets for students and other equipment according to their needs. This unique national network will improve conditions for teaching and learning and make the management of schools more efficient and transparent. At the same time, students and teachers will benefit from targeted training to upgrade their e-skills. The project is worth more than €177 million, and over €150 million are EU funds. 

Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, commented: “Thanks to EU Cohesion policy, Croatia's education system will be able to fully reap the benefits of the digital era and better prepare young people for their professional future. This project also contributes to boosting the resilience of the sector during the coronavirus pandemic.” The project builds on a successful pilot phase, which has already helped over 150 Croatian schools to switch to a new level of education. It also received the award for ‘Skills & education for a digital Europe', which has helped 10% of Croatian schools and around 50,000 teachers and 500,000 students to switch to a new level of education. In the current programming period 2014-2020, Cohesion policy is investing in Croatia €8.5 billion in boosting competitiveness, sustainability and improving the quality of life of Croatian citizens. A factsheet is available here.  

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Online Schooling in Croatia Due to Coronavirus: A Teacher's Viewpoint

March 19, 2020 - Online schooling in Croatia has replaced regular school for an initial two weeks due to the coronavirus crisis. Some reflections from the viewpoint of a dedicated teacher. 

 When a letter arrived from the Ministry of Science and Education last week to start distance education in Istria from Monday, we knew what was waiting for us in other parts of Croatia.

We quickly decided on which platform to use for online teaching at our school, added students and teachers to virtual classes, lent tablets and mobile cards to students from low-income families so that everyone could successfully follow classes with the help of ICT.

Helping each other out, we prepared first-hand teaching materials and devised backup plans and strategies to work from home every day. New circumstances imposed new rules and made us turn into teachers on the other side of the screen overnight.

Unfortunately, many colleagues from other schools still need to be present at schools in their workplaces. These are still unbelievable instructions by competent ministry directors. Every presentation, departure, and commute to work increases the risk of infection, and someone above us just can't figure it out.

And while one education adviser says 150,000 students have forgotten their passwords and crashed virtual platforms that students cannot log in to, it is simply a well-known situation that we teachers relive year after year, for example, when printing student certificates. And while they boast that we do so much better than other wealthier countries, I have to admit that I'm not so sure about that. My colleagues in Norway tell me that they have no problems with logging in to the system all day. A colleague from Turkey is surprised that in this situation, we are still required to be at work. They, too, are tired just like us, but at least their education ministers do not tell them that they have to come to school to learn to work online and, in collaboration with colleagues, be better prepared to work from home.

In communication with students, I see how frustrated many are that they are unsuccessfully trying to login to a system that has never been designed to handle such traffic and workload. My cellphone rings and messages come from all over, and I just can't help the students and their parents with any login issues. I try to calm them down, as always, and as the days go by, we will already get used to these existing problems.

Fortunately, I work in two small schools where we continue to encourage each other and share experiences, just as we do in teaching groups on social networks where we are from all over Croatia. We are aware that online teaching will not be as good as teaching in normal circumstances, but we do our best.

Although behind-the-scenes, friendly, kind and willing to help, we're still here for our students who may miss a class (be it on TV or in a virtual classroom), but we're sure everyone will get more important life lessons not written down in school books.

The views expressed in this article are solely mine and do not represent the views of either of the two schools in which I work.

For the latest on the coronavirus crisis, follow the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Almost 10.000 Undergraduate Students to Enrol in Graduate Studies

Student enrolment in Croatia. A look at the coming year.