Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Teachers Need to Be Educated About Students' Mental Health

ZAGREB, 7 June 2022 - Nearly three-quarters of school staff do not know how to recognize problems related to students' mental health or how to help them even though they would like to do so, hence they need to be educated, it was said on Tuesday ahead of this year's UNICEF Milky Way charity race.

This year, UNICEF will support the Milky Way race with a standardized mental health literacy program for teachers called "Help Me", implemented by the Croatian Institute of Public Health with the support of the Agency for Education.

The head of the Living Healthy program, Sanja Musić Milanović, said that in 2017, a survey was conducted on the health literacy of educators.

"The results showed that almost all of them or as many as 95% are willing to learn how to recognise and react to mental health problems of their students. However, 76% do not dare do anything because they do not know how they can help," she said.

That is why we need "education for educators," Musić Milanović said and invited citizens to join and support the education program. She added that physical activity is extremely important for maintaining mental health but also for the prevention of obesity and other health problems associated with being overweight.

The Milky Way race has attracted about 20,000 participants and raised about HRK 2.5 million. This year's edition is especially important because it comes after a challenging and stressful period marked by the pandemic and earthquakes, said the head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, Regina Castillo.

Mental health means a better quality of life, and the first signs of mental health problems appear as early as childhood and puberty. Problems are present in 12% of young people between the ages of 10 and 19, Castillo said. 

"Research conducted in Croatia indicates that the mental health of young people after the pandemic is deteriorating. "The idea behind the 'Help Me' program is to help people between the ages of 14 and 16 because that's when they feel powerless," the director of the Education Agency, Dubravka Brezak Stamać, said.

UNICEF's Milky Way charity race will take place from 9 to 18 September throughout Croatia. Citizens can participate by walking, running, cycling, rollerblading or by making a donation and in that way help raise awareness of the importance of the mental health of children and young people.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Could Revising Student Earnings Limit Solve Croatian Labour Issue?

May the 7th, 2022 - The continuing issues faced by the Croatian labour force (or lack of it, to be more precise) could be solved by altering a current law and increasing the limit on how much students are allowed to earn without them, or usually their parents, facing tax issues.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, irritated employers have rightly pointed out that the income threshold after which the right to tax relief is lost for students is much too low, and that raising it would encourage students to not only seek out employment, but to be willing to work more. Therefore, they've suggested that the threshold be raised to 30,000 kuna, with different treatment if the taxpayer (their parent) has more children. This could solve the problems faced by the Croatian labour market, particularly when it comes to seasonal and tourism employment.

According to tportal, this initiative from the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) is also being strongly supported by the president of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojic, who very formly believes that the greater engagement of students in seasonal jobs in the tourism sector would reduce the need for the import of foreign labour, and the administrative issues and ridiculous waiting times for work permits that come with that.

''We've proposed to the Government that the non-taxable income limit for dependent members be raised to 30,000 kuna. We believe that in this way, a significant number of people would be activated on the Croatian labour market,'' Ostojic said.

Student work is otherwise regulated by the Student Affairs Act, and the current law on that has been in force since November 2018.

Students are employed through authorised intermediaries, which can be student centres or higher education institutions that have a centre for student standards, provided that they have received approval from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education to conduct mediation activities. The law also regulates the minimum hourly wage, which is calculated by dividing the amount of the minimum gross salary by 160. The hourly wage is adjusted once a year, and for 2022 it amounts to 29.30 kuna.

Altering this and increasing the amount students are free to earn without facing issues from the tax man would not only put a gradual stop to importing non-resident staff, but put the Croatian labour market in a far better position when it comes to the height of the summer season, when good staff are increasingly difficult to come by for would-be employers.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Croatian Students in the UK: Economic Benefits & Creative Career Opportunities

February 17, 2022 - The UK has seen a steep increase by 227% in the number of Croatian students within 5 academic years. 

According to official statistics from Erudera.com, 1,180 students from Croatia studied in the UK during the 2019/20 academic year, quite the increase from 360 students in 2014/15. 1,000 of those students were based in England, while the remaining 120 of them were in Scotland and 55 in Wales.

So what’s brought on the steep rise of Croatian students in the UK in recent years? The interest to study in the UK first increased when Croatia joined the EU in 2013, as students now have the opportunity to study in the UK without the need to apply for a study visa. According to Gent Ukëhajdaraj from Erudera, statistics show that prior to Croatia joining the EU, there weren’t any Croatian students pursuing studies in the UK during the 2012/13 academic year. Following the change, 2013/14 saw 210 Croatian students in the UK, and by 2018 that number went up to 1,125. 

Another benefit following Croatia’s joining the EU is that university tuition became more affordable. In 2019, UK Universities Minister Chris Skidmore announced that EU students starting a degree in the 2020/21 academic year would have guaranteed home fee status and financial support for the duration of their studies in England, meaning that they will pay the same fees as UK students do. 

Skidmore stated that the government values the “important contribution that international students, including those from the EU, make to our universities and it is a testament to our world-leading higher education system that so many students from abroad choose to come and study here.” He continued to say that while the UK has chosen to go forward with Brexit, “we are not leaving Europe, and our universities thrive on the diversity of being global institutions”. Moreover, the country allows the best international students to remain in the UK and contribute to society through the Graduate route, giving them the opportunity to work or look for work at any skill level for 2 years (3 years for doctoral students).

But what about the educational and cultural benefits?

It seems that many Croatian students come to the UK to study highly-regarded subjects such as business, law, medicine and science, due to the quality of education and the supportive environment that UK universities offer, as well as the chance to study at some of the oldest and highest-ranking universities such as Oxford or King’s College London. But many come to apply for creative subjects such as fine and applied arts, textiles and design, English literature, film, performing arts etc. It helps that the country, especially London, is known for being a creative capital due to its rich cultural history as well as its industry connections, thus promising more career opportunities within a more creative, open-minded community. According to a King’s College student of English with film studies, studying in the UK opens up “more prosperous possibilities to follow my career path abroad than back home. Career-wise, I have been able to make connections in my area of interest faster and the quality of the options available to me is better”.

And of course, there are the benefits of studying in another language in general. Bilingualism is viewed as highly respectable and can prove beneficial when applying for jobs. And one of the most exciting aspects of studying abroad, it leaves for opportunities to travel and meet new people.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Minister Says Self-testing of Students to Be Conducted in Three Stages

ZAGREB, 3 Feb 2022 - Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Thursday that the self-testing of students would start once the Buffer Stock Directorate delivered tests to schools, and that testing would be conducted in three stages, after which they would hopefully no longer be necessary. 

Parents will test their children for coronavirus voluntarily on Mondays, and if a positive case is identified in a class, testing will be done again and students who test negative will continue attending face-to-face classes.

We assume parents will not cheat because the purpose of this measure is to make it possible for as many children as possible to continue attending physical classes, Fuchs said, recalling that entire classes had to go online just because a few students were positive.

The testing will be conducted for a month, and if everything is as we plan it to be, we will switch to testing only in those classes where a positive case is identified, the minister said.

The third stage is the cancellation of self-testing, he said, expressing hope that eventually it would be possible to abolish the mandatory wearing of face masks in schools.

The Buffer Stock Directorate will today open bids for the procurement of tests and the beginning of self-testing will depend on when schools are supplied with the tests, the minister said, adding that he would talk to school principals via video link today and that the Croatian Public Health Institute had prepared instructions for parents.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Šibenik-Knin County Awarded 23 Scholarships to School and College Students

January 4, 2022 -  A total of 23 scholarships were awarded, 8 for school students and 15 for college students residing in the Šibenik-Knin County for the academic year 2021/2022.

According to the conducted public competition for the award of new scholarships to pupils and students residing in the Šibenik-Knin County, for the school and academic year 2021/2022, and according to the determined final list, in the last days of 2021, scholarship agreements were signed. A total of 23 scholarships were awarded, eight for school students and 15 for college students, reports Šibenski.

After the signing of new scholarship agreements for pupils and students for the school academic year 2021/2022, as of today, the Šibenik-Knin County annually provides scholarships to a total of 71 beneficiaries: 55 school students and 16 college students.

The middle and high school student scholarship is 400 kuna, and the college student scholarship is 700 kuna per month and is paid in 10 equal monthly installments in the school or academic year.

In accordance with the expressed needs of health care institutions in the Šibenik-Knin County, the County, at the initiative of the County Prefect Dr. sc. Marko Jelić and Deputy Prefect Iris Ukić Kotarac, listening to the needs of the system, this year for the first time awarded two scholarships for students of integrated graduate study of medical biochemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry. This scholarship amounts to HRK 2,500 per month and is paid in 10 equal monthly installments.

For the scholarship of pupils and students of Šibenik-Knin County for 2022, it is planned to provide HRK 485,000 in the budget, from the original revenues of the County. In addition, the amount of HRK 220,000 will be provided for co-financing programs and projects of higher education institutions.

Therefore, a total of HRK 705,000 will be provided for public needs in higher education, which is HRK 52,500 more than in 2021.

''By providing financial support to our pupils and students, the goal of this executive branch headed by the prefect and deputy prefect, who is also the president of the Scholarship Commission, is to improve their material status and encourage them to choose occupations in demand in the labor market, they have increased the possibility of employment and then staying in our county. The intention is to further improve the provisions of the current Ordinance in terms of certain rules and procedures and adapt them to the actual practical needs of the County'', said the Šibenik-Knin County.

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

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Croatian Idea Makes Damaging Fast Fashion More Sustainable

December the 15th, 2021 - A Croatian idea is turning old clothes which would likely end up being thrown away into sustainable fashion statements. The above idea was arrived to via a recently held UPSHIFT workshop in Zagreb.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the UNICEF Office in Croatia and the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation (HUKI) recently held a three-day UPSHIFT workshop for young people from the City of Zagreb and the surrounding area of Zagreb County, dedicated to solving problems regarding environmental protection and sustainable development.

The interactive workshop attracted Croatian high school students who want to see problems in their local communities properly dealt with. 21 teams applied for this workshop, and ten of them aged 13 to 19 from the City of Zagreb and Zagreb County participated. Four teams won financial support of 7,500 kuna, as well as mentoring support for the realisation of their ideas.

One of them was team number 8, which wants to deal with the problem of fast fashion in the textile industry, also one of the biggest challenges of today. The team consists of Luka Marusic Smajic, Jan Filipovic, Gabriela Dedic, Lucija Bekavac and Maria Paula Klekovic from the School of Fashion and Design Zagreb. Their fashion-oriented Croatian idea was an impressive one.

"Our goal isn't to solve the problem that we're all facing on a global basis, but to make people around us aware of it. We'll try to solve this problem by redesigning old clothes that are no longer desirable. We'll implement this solution by holding a fashion show of our redesigned collection and posting educational videos on social media, in which we'll teach people how they can redesign their old clothes themselves. There will be advice, examples, instructions and so on,'' the team members explained.

They stated that they were encouraged to attend the workshop by their professors and professional associates who educated them about the challenges of fast fashion and encouraged them to solve problems. The aforementioned financial support of 7,500 kuna will be used for advertising, the necessary materials for redesign, as well as for the collection and the subsequent fashion show itself.

Their main focus is on young people who, according to the team members, are often unaware of the problem of accumulating old fabrics, as well as the fact that they themselves contribute to it on a daily basis.

"Few of our peers are thinking about this problem and it isn't covered enough in the media. In addition, the fashion industry is very fast-paced and also doesn't contribute to solving the problem whatsoever. Fortunately, our school talks a lot about fast fashion and its impact on the environment, so we're more aware of this. It's important to choose quality over quantity and to encourage manufacturers to offer clothes of natural composition(s). Also, people should put together their own styles, ignore passing trends, and occasionally be creative, not just pliable,'' concluded the team from the Zagreb School of Fashion and Design.

Other teams from the UPSHIFT workshop in their communities will deal with solving the problem of air pollution in Zagreb, ''dehumanised'' classrooms in Croatian schools and launching the mission ZaZeleniZagreb (For a Green Zagreb).

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Two Zagreb Faculties Introducing COVID Certificates for Students

November 11, 2021 - At least two Zagreb faculties have decided to adopt tighter epidemiological measures, thus introducing the requirement for COVID certificates from their students. The Faculty of Philosophy is moving to online classes, while at the Veterinary School they will check the certificates before each lecture.

From Monday, COVID certificates became mandatory for employees in all state and public institutions, including educational institutions. While we are still waiting for details on their application for the school system, which, according to the announcement of minister Radovan Fuchs, should be known by tomorrow, it is known that school students will not have to get COVID certificates, reports Telegram.hr.

For faculty students, on the other hand, at least in two Zagreb faculties COVID certificates will become mandatory. The Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Philosophy in Zagreb sent a letter to their students informing them that they would have to have COVID certificates to enter their faculties. One of these two Zagreb faculties is the Faculty of Philosophy, which has switched to online classes from November 15 to 26, and after that, entrance will be controlled to ensure each student presents both a COVID certificate and an Index. The faculty will reimburse its employees for the cost of testing done by November 28th.

Veterinary students will not be able to attend any form of classes, nor stay on the faculty premises without a COVID certificate, decided dean Nenad Turk. In a letter to the students, he states that the certificates will be checked before each lecture and that the absence from classes due to the lack of a certificate will be the same as the absence due to other reasons and will have to be justified by medical reference, writes srednja.hr.

Students at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons, must submit proof of this to the office by tomorrow. They will be able to participate in classes with enhanced measures, according to the faculty. They emphasized that wearing masks is mandatory in all enclosed spaces of the faculty.

At the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, they conducted an anonymous survey among students and employees to see how many were vaccinated, and the reasons why they would or have been vaccinated, and the most common answer was: "to normalize life as much as possible." According to that survey, more than 90 percent of employees and about 70 percent of students were vaccinated or contracted COVID. "This ensures a favorable epidemiological situation at the Faculty," they said.

They also explained why they introduced mandatory certificates for students. “We also included students because we believe that students as adults and responsible persons must respect the same measures as all employees and guests of the Faculty, in order to avoid any discrimination and ensure consistency of prescribed measures, in order to protect all our employees and students and safe implementation of the teaching process”, said the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and are waiting for instructions from the Ministry to decide who will cover the costs of testing.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Monday, 25 October 2021

3,820 Students, 554 Teachers Positive for Coronavirus

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - At the moment 3,820 students and 554 teachers are positive for coronavirus, a decision to switch to online classes can be made by local authorities in cooperation with county COVID-19 response teams, and for now the education ministry does not plan to change the school year calendar.

The calendar is defined by the decision adopted in late April, regarding the start and end of the school year, the number of working days and the duration of school breaks, the ministry told Hina on Monday.

At the moment 2,226 primary and 1,594 secondary school students are positive for coronavirus.

Zagreb accounts for the majority of those infected with 660 primary and 480 secondary school students, while Lika-Senj County accounts for the fewest - 24 in primary and four in secondary schools.

As for positive teachers, most are in Zagreb, 134, and the fewest in Požega-Slavonia County, five.

Also, 6,743 primary and 3,372 secondary school students are self-isolating, the largest number in Zagreb, 3,569, and the smallest in Krapina-Zagorje County, 14.

There are also 159 school employees in self-isolation, most in Zagreb, 41, and least in Požega-Slavonia, Koprivnica-Križevci and Vukovar-Srijem counties with one in each.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Monday, 6 September 2021

New School Year Begins for 460,000 Students, Including 37,000 First Graders

ZAGREB, 6 Sept 2021 - The new school year 2021-22 begins on Monday for almost 460,000 elementary and secondary school students across Croatia, including about 37,000 first graders, and all will have face-to-face classes.

This year again HRK 158 million was earmarked in the state budget for free textbooks for elementary school students.

Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Sunday that elementary school students in grades five to eight and secondary school students would have to wear masks if the distance between them in classrooms was less than 1.5 to 2 meters.

However, masks are mandatory in hallways, outside classrooms, and in school transport.

Teachers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to wear masks in classrooms, while those who have not been do, Fuchs said on RTL television.

The ministry has issued epidemiological recommendations based on research, the experience of epidemiologists, all stakeholders in the education system and other EU countries as well as in line with those of relevant European and international organizations, notably the World Health Organization.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Team 7: Croatian Students Develop Guide for Dyslexic People

August the 28th, 2021 - A group of Croatian high school students called Team 7 have developed a guide for dyslexic people, a group of people who suffer with an issue that is still severely misunderstood.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, even today, society is still not sufficiently informed about dyslexia which is faced by about ten percent of the population, especially because of the stigma that dyslexia is an "obstacle" that refers only to difficulties in reading and writing. On the contrary, this issue is much more than that.

This was the thought of the leader Anja Cvetkovic, one of a group of Croatian high school students attending the Sibenik Medical School, who, together with Antonija Crnogac and her younger sister Ivana founded Team 7. They launched a project called Public ignorance about dyslexia/Neinformiranost drustva o disleksiji, as part of which they published a guide for dyslexic people.

As Anja herself has dyslexia and from her perspective can more easily bring others closer to the challenges, but also the positive sides, it was a springboard to spread awareness and knowledge about dyslexia through the project and to encourage their local community to cooperate and make positive changes.

"Our project currently includes the publication of a simple information guide for dyslexics - ''Reading should be available to all''. We also held a cycle of four online workshops ''Dyslexia in four steps - What should every parent know?’' Which was attended by about 160 participants.

The workshops were realised in cooperation with the master of speech therapy Mihaela Lulic from the speech therapy cabinet ''From A to Z'' in Pula, who joined us with her professional knowledge and volunteered on this project.

The workshops were divided into two parts, professional and personal, presented by Anja in order to bring the world of dyslexia closer to parents, teachers, speech therapists and other participants from the point of view of a person with dyslexia,'' the girls behind Team 7 explained.

One mother realised that her daughter might have dyslexia owing to these workshops, which was later confirmed.

The Team 7 girls presented this project for the first time back in March, when a new round of applications for UPSHIFT for the Sibenik-Knin and Zadar counties started.

This is a three-day workshop for young people aged 13 to 19 as part of the unique programme for young people and adolescents called ZABUM (For the Future of Youth) launched by the UNICEF Office for Croatia and implemented in cooperation with the Croatian Office for Creativity and Innovation (HUKI).

The Team 7 project was among the winners, and the girls won 15,000 kuna for implementing their praiseworthy solution in their local community. ''We used the funds to create our guide for dyslexics (editorial, graphic design and prepress, printing), and to create promotional materials related to our project.

As for our further plans, we're continuing to work through the ''Norda Dyslexia'' Association, through online workshops, counselling and education, primarily for dyslexics and their parents and others who want to learn more about dyslexia. We have a lot of plans,'' stated the Team 7 girls, adding that right from the very beginning they had the great support of their school, family and friends and the local media, and there was no lack of cooperation.

''With the great support of our mentor Andrej Hanzir from HUKI, who was always ready to give us guidelines and advice, throughout the project, we achieved a number of quality collaborations. We had collaborations with Mihaela Lulic, MA, from the speech therapy cabinet ''From A to Z'', our editor Marijeta Matijas from ''Manuscript to Reader'' and graphic designer Maja Skiljaica from ''Creative Wheel'', who guided us through the process of creating a book from editing, proofreading, and graphic design to prepress.

We also had collaboration with the University Printing House in Zagreb. Then the collaboration with the Croatian actor and drama champion of the Croatian National Theater Bojan Navojec, who, in our book, shared his own inspiring experience with dyslexia and his support with the desire to continue to cooperate and act in the field of dyslexia.

Mungos Split is responsible for the production of our promo material. We were also supported by our local media Info Vodice and the team of Radio Ritma Sibenik. We're grateful to everyone for their wonderful cooperation, support, advice, and for coming out to meet us and giving us their time, experience and affordable prices due to our limited resources. Thank you all. We plan to establish cooperation with the city libraries of Vodice and Sibenik in connection with our book promotion. We'll publish the book in digital form and it will be free. We'll then donate it to libraries all over Croatia to reach as many people as possible and arouse people's interest in dyslexia, we'll also try to distribute it through publishing houses,'' the Team 7 girls noted.

They also referred to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and this was especially emphasised by Anja, who, as a dyslexic, said that following classes was more demanding due to online lectures, as there is a lot of copying and time constraints when trying to take exams online. The Team 7 girls believe that the Croatian education system generally needs refreshment, and they believe that, in connection with dyslexia, a multisensory form of learning should be introduced that would be useful to students with and without dyslexia.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

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