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.

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.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Croatian Teachers Strike: Negotiations Set To Continue Today

Croatian teachers are still on strike. Their demands have so far either gone unheard or have been met with unsatisfactory ''solutions'' from the side of the Croatian Government. If you're interested in gaining a better understanding of exactly what Croatian teachers are seeking with their strike, click here for a short and simple explanation about the changes to the coefficients that the unions desire.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of December, 2019, Friday, which some believed could potentially be the end of the strike, ended anticlimatically and without any concrete results despite lengthy talks between the unions representing Croatian teachers and the government who seem not to want to budge. As N1 has since learned unofficially, the education unions currently strike and government representatives aren't going to follow the norm and wait until Monday to continue their negotiations this time, and talks are apparently going to begin today, on a Sunday, at 15:00.

The views of the Croatian teachers and their unions and the Croatian Government and their offer on the table have not shifted at all as unions insist on a 6.11 percent increase in the coefficient, while the government remains committed to something quite different indeed, which involves instead raising the base wages of teachers, more on what this means is explained in more depth in the link provided above.

The aforementioned government offer was overwhelmingly rejected by union members and enormous levels of dissatisfaction, both in a financial and in a moral sense, continue.

This coming Monday will mark the 36th day of the strike, and the appropriate ministry has also proposed a form of compensation of fifteen days of classes, but until there is an agreement between the unions and the government there is to be no such compensation at all.

The strike of Croatian teachers has been longest-running strike in the history of independent Croatia, having lasted for more than a month, and according to a survey by Nova TV, 67 percent of citizens support their struggle for their rights.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

As Government Piles on Pressure, Croatian Teachers Donate Money to Hospital

As the Croatian Government continues to pile the pressure on Croatian teachers as their long strike of over a month continues, the unions come up with meaningful and remarkably symbolic gestures to highlight not only their own plight, but the plight of other sectors operating within public services who are also struggling enormously.

Croatian teachers have been strike for longer than thirty days now, marking the longest strike ever in independent Croatia's relatively young history. Talks so far have been fruitless, and the offer from the Croatian Government was slammed and overwhelmingly rejected by the teachers and their representative unions.

As the strike continues and negotiations and talks between the unions representing Croatian teachers and representatives of the government go on, with more reportedly set to continue today at 15:00, some have come up with a deeply touching idea.

As Jutarnji list writes on the 30th of November, 2019, through a moving and symbolic gesture, the teachers from the Sisak Technical School decided to show that the strike was primarily aimed at the dignity of the profession more than anything else, and that the strike of Croatia's teachers had much more to do with basic morality and appreciation than finances.

An announcement came that Croatian teachers would not be paid during the time they spend striking, or that 315 kuna per day would be deducted from their salaries for each day they spend striking. Therefore, all of the teachers working at the aforementioned Sisak school decided that they would all allocate exactly that amount (315 kuna) per day and donate it to the local hospital, another public service facility suffering under tremendous pressure.

Trade union commissioner Damir Babic said that for each day of the strike from November the 16th to the 29th, all of the Sisak school's teachers allocated 315 kuna each. With this generously donated money that comes wrapped in deeply symbolic proverbial packaging, more equipment was purchased for the hospital's pediatric department.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and politics pages for much more.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Croatian Teacher on Ongoing Strike: Why I'm Striking

November the 28th, 2019 - Goran Podunavac, a TCN author and dedicated Croatian teacher from Baranja provides his side of the story of the strike, as well as his thoughts, opinions and the reasons as to why he, as a Croatian teacher, is continuing to strike along with countless other employees in the country's education sector.

I honestly don't even know what day of the strike in which I'm participating we're on now. Instead of being in class with my students, I'm sitting in the classroom with my colleagues and together in we're all commenting in a sense of wonder on the kind of messages being sent out by the heads of the Croatian Government and appropriate ministry.

In their ''parrot-written'' speeches, they repeatedly insist that they don't understand the reasons for the Croatian teachers' strike when they're giving us more than what we're even asking for. While the shameless proposal of our "benefactors" consists of salary supplements, we're standing firmly behind our initial demand. We're looking for a 6.11 percent increase in the coefficient in order for us to keep up with that of others employed in public services.

As an IT teacher, I could close the doors of the school and just go somewhere else to work where I'd definitely be more appreciated and ultimately - I'd definitely be better paid. But I love my job and see the sense and meaning in what I do.

There are many reasons why I'm striking.

I'm on strike because I want my work and other colleagues to be valued in an adequate way, because most of us are university graduates, and is it not shameful that our coefficients are the lowest of all those employed in the country's public sector who hold a university degree?

I'm on strike because I'm dissatisfied with the attitude of all the former and the current policies towards us. I'm on strike because I'm dissatisfied with the possibility of the anonymous reporting of teachers. I'm on strike because I believe that when the introduction of the only current reform in Croatia started, our ministry didn't even take into account at all that the scope of work for which we deserve higher wages was only increasing. For me, this is a strike of dignity and I refuse to give up on it that easily.

When it comes to the question of: ''Am I an uhljeb?'' my students can provide the most honest answer of all. Students who, after twelve years of hard work, still believe that there's hope for a better and brighter future for our country, and to them I say: Continue to be patient.

Don't feel like you've been cast aside and don't be angry with me or the rest of the school staff. I believe that you yourself know how important you are to me. Try to take some time to learn about civic duties during this time. Watch what happens and why, think about the position of power, and watch what a seemingly small man can do if he's in a community of like-minded people who are fighting for their dignity. You and your parents don't need to worry - I won't leave you without knowledge and an education.

Yesterday in the referendum, like most of my colleagues in Croatia, I firmly circled on the ballot paper that I do not accept the government's latest proposal and I'll continue to strike until our initial request is fulfilled. I'm ready to get up again at 04:00 to come along with 50,000 of my fellow educators to Zagreb's Ban Josip Jelačić Square. The solidarity and unity of that day showed me that one should fight for oneself with absolute dignity.

Finally, I'd like to reiterate to our government the very same message from the banner that I boldly and defiantly carried during the protest: "Teachers aren't mindless sheep."

The views expressed in this article are solely my own and may not represent the views of my colleagues or the schools in which I'm employed.

''We won't give up.''

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics and lifestyle page for much more on the Croatian teachers' strike.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Croatian Teachers Strike: Absurd Situation Continues, Unions Unsatisfied

Croatian teachers are still continuing to strike for their rights as the unions give the Croatian Government's recent offer the thumb's down. The situation has escalated and somehow managed to become even more absurd than it was before. 

Is this one of those moments where one says the dreaded words ''only in Croatia'' when referring to something bordering on insanity? Probably. If you're not entirely sure exactly why Croatian teachers are striking, click here for the clear and simple reasons as to how this started, and why it's continuing after such a long time.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/VLM writes on the 28th of November, 2019, Croatian teachers, their representative unions and others on strike from the education sector have remained deeply unsatisfied with the latest offer from the government.

The government and the unions have now found themselves in a rather absurd situation indeed - after more than thirty days of striking, the Croatian Government has now gone from not offering enough, to offering even more than the unions demanded, which stood at an average of 342 kuna.

As stated, the strikers, however, remain totally unhappy because the raise would be driven by an increase in the base wage rather than the coefficient. Strange? Yes, completely. Only in Croatia? Maybe.

Here are the facts as they currently stand when it comes to Croatian teachers, what is being offered by the government, and why the dissatisfaction continues:

- The average salary of Croatian teachers is now 7291 kuna net per month

- If we contains the latest government offer, that amounts to 8139

- By increasing the base by the end of 2020, the take home pay for Croatian teachers would increase to 8139 kuna monthly

What are the unions looking for now?

- By increasing the coefficient of 6.11 percent, the average Croatian teacher's salary is rising to 7793 kuna net

- The absurdity now is that, through the growth of the base pay, the government is offering 342 kuna more than the unions are seeking by increasing the coefficient

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and politics pages for much more on the unfolding situation with the striking Croatian teachers and what the government is prepared to do to end the situation.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

VIDEO: Croatian Teachers Continue to Strike for Their Rights

November the 26th, 2019 - As you'll no doubt have heard by now, Croatian teachers are on strike. There were some incredible scenes yesterday as Zagreb's main square became thronged with Croatian teachers striking and protesting for their rights.

If you're still unsure exactly why Croatian teachers are currently striking, feel free to read our article on the precise reasons as to why education system employees have felt the need to take to the streets. 

One man, Marin Miletic, has uploaded a powerful video on his YouTube channel which describes, films, and follows the striking Croatian teachers. The description reads as follows: 

''They tried to divide and intimidate us - they failed. The teachers stood up loud for a fairer system, for fair wages for workers, for our retirees... for a society where citizens will want to stay and live in, and not to flee from our Croatia.

We have been supported by many brave people, ots of different unions, individuals all united for - a better society, a better education system.

I see that some individuals are very annoyed by the fact that I've been chosen to speak as a religious teacher. It damages their exclusivity and lack of libertarian thought. I'm primarily a human being, then a religious teacher who has shared this chamber with his colleagues for fourteen years. My teachers are my legitimacy. My atheist and agnostic colleagues, members of other religions who voted 100 percent in a secret ballot for me to be their union leader. They're my legitimacy. Lucky for them, they're not as narrow-minded as some individuals are, lucky for me is the fact that they can see that we have existential battles in common and that we can do so much more when we stick together.

I have only one Master. the one in Heaven. Jesus. And everywhere else - my heart, my conscience, and I'd never overlook that for anything, no matter the cost. How many masters do those who spit on me now have? I don't know. May God bless them.

I don't have time. Life is short. You need to create, you need to work, you need to live.''

If you understand Croatian, watch Marin's video ''Croatia will remember the 25th of November'' below:

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for more information on the Croatian teachers strike and much more.