Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Divjak: Everyone in Ministry Tested Negative for Coronavirus

ZAGREB, July 14, 2020 - Everyone in the Ministry of Science and Education who was tested on Tuesday for the coronavirus has proved to be negative but they will remain in self-isolation until July 22 as a precautionary measure, Minister Blazenka Divjak posted on her Facebook profile.

"All of us in the ministry who were tested today are negative for the coronavirus," Divjak wrote and added that as a precautionary measure they would remain in self-isolation until July 22.

Epidemiologists will continue to determine contacts and prescribe measures for the ministry's employees if they deem that to be necessary, added Divjak.

Ministry officials were instructed today to self-isolate and urgently be tested for the coronavirus after the ministry state secretary tested positive.

Minister Divjak posted earlier that she is currently working from home and that all processes and preparations for the next school and academic year were continuing according to plan.

"There is no doubt that just like we managed to launch remote learning overnight, the ministry will manage to work remotely for just over a week. This is, after all, a peaceful transitional period," she wrote, calling on everyone to be responsible and cautious towards themselves and others.

Referring to unofficial sources, the media today reported that the ministry's state secretary had attended a wedding party in Zadar, where some people had previously been identified to have caught the coronavirus. After returning to Zagreb she did not undergo a test or go into self-isolation and in the meantime attended a staff meeting of the ministry's officials and other meetings.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Capak: If Divjak Is Positive, Gov't Members Won't Have to Self-Isolate

ZAGREB, July 14, 2020 - Croatian Institute of Public Health director Krunoslav Capak said on Tuesday that if Education Minister Blazenka Divjak tested positive for coronavirus, the other government members would not have to self-isolate because they all wore masks at a meeting on Monday.

All Science and Education Ministry staff, including Divjak, were instructed by epidemiologists today to self-isolate and get tested because the ministry's state secretary Ivana Franic tested positive.

Yesterday Divjak and all ministers attended a meeting of the national council for the introduction of the euro chaired by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

"Divjak herself and other staff must self-isolate. Some have already been tested and the results will be known by evening," Capak said at a press conference of the national COVID-19 response team.

Asked if Franic had attended a wedding and breached self-isolation,, he said, "I know there was a big gathering, but I don't know if it was a wedding... I can't answer if their self-isolation was breached."

No increase in infections after the election

Capak said there had been no increase in coronavirus cases after the July 5 parliamentary election.

Capak: If Czech tourists have been infected here, we'll communicate that 

He said it had not been confirmed that the Czech tourists who claimed they were infected in Croatia were indeed infected here. If they were, we'll communicate that, he added.

Capak said a Serbian citizen was repatriated and that he was tested in Pula the day he arrived, and that a family who arrived from Sweden were infected in Sweden and were self-isolating in Pula.

He said an infected Macedonian family was in Zadar County and would stay there until they recovered, and that a positive British citizen was in Split but that it was not known where or when he was infected.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Divjak Appalled By Skoro's And Raspudic's Statements About Abortion

ZAGREB, June 18, 2020 - Science and Education Minister Blazenka Divjak said on Thursday she was appalled by the statements by Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro and Bridge's election candidate Nino Raspudic about abortion.

"I am appalled by the recent discussions and statements by Mr. Skoro and Mr. Raspudic. Quite clearly, this is the sadistic humiliation of women and their rights and the unacceptable exploitation of painful personal traumas for political purposes," Divjak said in a Facebook post.

She commented on Skoro's statement made during an election debate with the secretary-general of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Gordan Jandrokovic, that "if a woman becomes pregnant after being raped, she should agree with her family what to do next."

"How dare they even think that as men they can tell women how they should feel or think or whose opinion they should ask for in any situation that concerns their lives," the minister said, adding that these are not messages that should be addressed to young people in 2020.

"Croatia, as I see it, is open, sympathetic and tolerant and not one where questions are raised about whether women can make rational decisions," she wrote.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Divjak To Run For Seat In Parliament As Independent On HNS Slate

ZAGREB, June 7, 2020 - Science and Education Minister Blazenka Divjak will be running in the forthcoming parliamentary election as an independent candidate on the Croatian People's Party (HNS) slate in Constituency 3, which covers the northern counties of Krapina-Zagorje, Varazdin, and Medjimurje.

"Behind us, behind me, are indeed three demanding and challenging years in government during which we launched education reforms and investments in education and science, and we also successfully coped with the consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic, the (March 22) earthquake, and teachers' strike," Divjak told a press conference in Varazdin on Sunday, with HNS leader Predrag Stromar at her side.

Divjak recalled that she had taken up the ministerial post as an independent with the HNS's political backing with the aim of implementing four reforms - a curricular reform, a vocational education reform, to promote excellence and increase investment in science, and make higher education more relevant.

She said she was pleased with the accomplishment of the first three goals, but not with the fourth, the purpose of which was to ensure that higher education better reflected the needs of the economy and society. 

"The reasons for this are many. Among other things, it's because there are powerful academic cliques led by rectors who stick closely together and stop those who can change the system and who can give a chance not just to young people but also to the economy in general, from going forward," the minister said, adding that these cliques "often have support in political circles."

Divjak said that the reform process should continue.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Divjak: We Should Not Give Up On Education Even During Pandemic

ZAGREB, May 18, 2020 - Education is something we should not give up on even during a pandemic, Croatian Education Minister Blazenka Divjak said on Monday ahead of a videoconference with her European counterparts, with whom she will discuss reopening schools and final exams.

"It is hard, a lot of adjustments have been made, but we should not give up on education even in circumstances like these," Minister Divjak said.

The main points to be discussed at the third virtual meeting of the EU's education ministers are reopening schools and final exams.

Most EU member states have reopened their kindergartens and elementary schools for pupils in lower grades, and have enabled high school leavers and university students do carry out tasks they were not able to do online, Divjak reiterated.

In Croatia, kindergartens reopened last Monday, as did elementary schools for pupils in lower grades.

"The turnout was not high, but everything was conducted in line with the recommendations by the Croatian Institute of Public Health," the minister said.

New recommendations for next week are yet to be discussed.

At the video conference, school-leaving exams will also be discussed. Most EU member states have opted for "a reduction in the content or number of exams," Divjak said.

In Croatia, compulsory high school-leaving exams will take place from 8 to 29 June.