Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević Announces New Model For Appointment of School Boards

ZAGREB, 3 Aug, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević announced on Tuesday that next Monday, applications would be invited for the appointment of members of school boards, with around 400 members to be selected, plus 200 who are representatives of local government units. 

Speaking at a news conference, Tomašević said that under the new model, of the three school board members who are appointed as representatives of schools' founder, namely the City of Zagreb, one would be chosen from among representatives of local government bodies and two would be selected in an open competition.

Around 400 school board members will be selected in an open competition, around 200 will be nominated by heads of city district councils.

The boards of primary and secondary schools whose founders are local government units each have seven members, of whom three have so far been appointed exclusively by a decision by the mayor.

The Večernji List daily recently reported that the appointment of some of the school board members in an open competition would be introduced by Zagreb and Split, whose mayors, Tomašević and Ivica Puljak respectively, have said the new model is aimed at depoliticising educational institutions.

Tomašević today also noted that fees for members of school boards as well as for members of the management boards of city-owned kindergartens and cultural institutions would be cut. 

Amendment of criteria on lease of city premises

Speaking of waste management in Zagreb, Tomašević said at today's news conference that the situation in Zagreb was critical regarding the disposal of bio-waste and bulky waste.

A new public procurement procedure has been launched for the disposal of bio-waste while the public procurement procedure for the disposal of bulky waste is under way, he said.

The mayor of Zagreb also announced changes to criteria for the lease of city-owned premises, noting that by raising prices of lease, which are currently very low, the city's revenue could be increased.

"I do not see any logic in leasing commercial businesses that earn millions in revenue spaces of several hundred square metres at a price of several thousand kuna," he said.

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

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Supplementary Education in Split: Activities for Kids of All Ages

6 August 2021 - One TCN intern spoke to a primary school teacher and scout leader Ivana Jarebica about opportunities for supplementary education in Split and prepared a guide for parents. The new school year is coming soon, and it's the right time to think about how to organize your child's free time with profit for their personal development.

There's a critical remark. We will review opportunities for informal education only. For instance, we won't concern music schools in the classical sense. Instead, we will talk about more flexible, free activities which are closely connected to kids' everyday practices and don't create any pressure of doing homework, preparing for exams, etc.

Another critical remark is that Split has a powerful sports tradition. Split can flaunt a vast number of Olympic and other medal winners per capita. Split was well-known for its football and water polo teams during the last century, and although it doesn't experience its 'golden age' now, a sports sphere is still vibrant enough, competitive, and dynamic. Also, sports activities are related to informal education.

How to choose

According to Ivana's teaching experience in Split, the most common reasons for choosing a club or courses for kids is because:

1) A parent wishes this activity for a kid. 

It's a normal situation, especially when a child is still young. Parents with their horizons can give a child good advice or starting points for leisure time activities.

2) A kid's friend visits this club.

"My friend Mia goes, and I want to go with her." Encourage your kid's friendship and let it go. Then, at least, children will be happy to spend free time together in the informal atmosphere. If one of the friends finally does not like an activity, they will change and at the same time will acquire the skill to compromise with a friend.

3) A club is situated in your neighbourhood. 

Split is the second biggest city in Croatia, but still small enough. Citizens don't usually change districts for extra classes. Children often visit a club situated in the vicinity of their home or school. For example, in the district of Spinut many students play rugby because there's a rugby field. Of course, if you live in some district as far from the city center district as Brda, you have to be ready to go to another district for extracurricular activities. There is not a lot nearby, perhaps, except for dance classes.

4) Specific interest

Classical ballet dances or playing football for a famous club (definitely Hajduk Split), programming, or whatever else that could be inspired by pop culture a child lives in. Support your kid's interest, especially with almost all activities given in Split. We don't have ice hockey or figure skating in Split, but Split is a coastal summer city, so it's not expected here.

What to choose: for young learners

Ciciban and Sports academy Sportko are good choices for preschoolers. These clubs offer kids a wide range of possibilities to develop fine motor skills and try different activities. Both clubs can be a great help to prepare a child for further sports education. It will be easier for kids to become a member of some football, volleyball, or swimming team or have fun and A+ grades at physical education lessons at school. 

Sportsko takes children from 3 y.o. and works with age groups 3-7 and 7-10. Its full-year program includes gymnastics, athletics, football, handball, tennis, bowling, judo and wrestling, movement orientation, and some others. They also have independent swimming, football, roller skating, cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, and others. Ciciban starts from 5 y.o. and has groups 5-6 and 7-10. Ciciban programs include various sports activities and swimming once a week. Both clubs are large in several students and fit for socialization objectives. The fact they conduct summer and winter camps can be considered an advantage too.

Sports academy Sparta, as well as Sportko, works with children from 3 to 10 y.o. Through a dozen sports activities mixed with singing songs and entertainment, the academy develops kids' motor skills and motivates them to lead healthy lifestyles. Besides sports sections, Sparta has a commercial part with toy shops and the. organisation of children's birthdays. They are active on social media; write them if you have any questions. 

Zutko sports school in Split pursues the same goal - to instill in children a love of sports. Zutko is founded and managed by the base of the Split Basketball club. They take groups of 3-6 and 7-10 y.o. three times a week classes. A working program consists of essential sports such as athletics, gymnastics, martial arts, and ball sports such as basketball, etc. Highly recommended for developing team-working skills. Athletic school Proaktiv trains children from 7 to 10 y.o. 

For more artistic activities, Split can offer pre-scholars studio Perlice or ballet studio Skoljkica. Skoljkica specializes in ballet dances, while Perlice teaches singing, dances, stage movement, and stage speech. Perlice studio has a rich history with its founder, musician Ingrid Flesch. They perform theatrical musicals, stage programs, record sounds, win awards at festivals, release videos with 120+ mln views on Youtube.

The younger, the better, Mrs. Flesch says about the enrollment age in the studio. The youngest artist of Perlice has 3.5 y.o., the eldest - 10. At Skoljkica, the threshold age is higher. They educate children from kindergarten age up to the last year of secondary school. Baletni studio Labudici presents ballet classes in the surroundings of Split. The troupes are based in Solin, but performances are often shoulder to shoulder to Split troupes. 

Glazbena mladez Split sees its mission in connecting children and young people with musical culture. GMS accents classical music, but as a whole, they encourage every musical genre and style. GMS is also a cluster of performing troupes with 170+ various programmes in a year; it provides children scope for creative expression. GMS familiarizes kids with music and theatrical art, audience, and rules of cultural behaviour. A team of Playdrama promotes participation of all generations in theatrical art too. Since its program includes lectures and production process stuss, they enroll children from 9 y.o.

To develop the cognitive abilities of a kid, Malac Genijalac is a convenient option in Split. 'Genius kiddo,' as the school's name can be translated, offers three mathematical programmes: Numicon for 3-6 y.o, Mentalna aritmetika for 4-12 y.o. and Super Um for 10-17 y.o. Classes are held in small groups. The learning process contains fun activities, games, and competitions. Abilities that children gain through learning will be helpful not only in math lessons but in different spheres of life.

Excluding bilinguals which are extraordinary stories, children usually begin to learn a foreign language since primary school, 7 y.o. However, tutors say that you can start with learning languages earlier - since the primary speech apparatus is totally formed. The average is 4 years old, but in any case, you can ask for a trial session and consult with a teacher before paying for a course. Language schools such as AnglijaWotan, Katedra, Tweety, Pitagora in Split take children from kindergarten. 

For elder children

The first decade passed, children are mature enough to join some of the 'entertainment sphere's pillars' of Split or start their own track in sport, etc. KUD Edinstvo recently celebrated its 100 anniversary. One of the oldest and most famous Croatian artistic troupes keeps folklore traditions of different country regions and transmits them to new generations through well-organized infrastructure.

Edinstvo maintains a folklore dancing school, a music school for mandolin and guitar players, and a children's ensemble. Folklore dancing enrolls kids from 1st to 8th grade of the school (primary+lower secondary). Mandoline and guitar teachers allow students from 9 to 18 y.o. Music courses last for three years. A lighter alternative is any dancing troupe. Manage your choice independence of proximity to your neighbourhood and style preferences. Centar plesa (wide profile), Sedmi vjetar (cheerleaders), D'N'F (urban dances), Lolita (wide profile), Vruca cokolada (show and jazz dances), Lambada (Litin American dances), Clique (hip-hop, house, funk dances) and others. KUD Splitske mazoretkinje is an extraordinary story for girls who love twists! 

Waterpolo club Jadran celebrated its 100th jubilee last year. Jadran is the oldest water polo club in Split and a sports pride of the city. Waterpolo Club Mornar-Brodospas, with many medals and trophies won, is a bit younger; it celebrated 70 years from the foundation of the sports section in 2019. Waterpolo school usually holds classes in the mornings, then the teams come. Depending on age, clubs have 'hopes and young hopes,' 'young cadets,' 'cadets,' 'young juniors,' and 'juniors' teams. The application form is available on their website.

Basketball, another sport that brought Split great sporting fame during Yugoslavia, is played and mastered by children in Kosarkaski Klub Split. Besides the universal sports academy for kids, KK Split has a basketball school for boys of 15 y.o. and younger and a mini-basket for girls of 18 y.o. and younger. ZKK 3 Point also approaches girls. Zenski Kosarkaski Klub is literally a 'Women Basketball Club'. It aims to teach skills, instill a love for the sport, and help with self-confidence. KK Adriatic recruits both boys and girls; training is held on the courts of four different schools in Split and surroundings so that you can find the closest to your house.

The same rule can be applied to football. There are some clubs in almost every district of Split: NK‌ ‌Pomak,‌ ‌NK Bili‌ ‌As,‌ ‌NK‌ ‌Brda,‌ ‌NK‌ ‌Primorac‌-Stobrec,‌ ‌NK‌ ‌Talent‌, etc. These clubs began to recruit kids from kindergarten age, and it's one more reason to choose the closest one. NK Bili As and Brda train kids from primary school, and on average, the football club calls for 13 y.o. and younger. NK Pomak opens its doors for boys and girls. Especially for girls, there is ZNK‌ ‌Marjan - Women Football Club. Futsal, or 'mini football', is presented by FC Split that has its academy and young teams of 'cadets' and 'juniors.'

An exception is HNK Hajduk academy. If you fancy it, you can put your child there to have football training, fitness, psychological talks, educational seminars, English lessons, and social work at the same place. A fact you need to consider is that its time- and resource-consuming, so football training 3 times during working days and a match on the weekend would be difficult to combine with other classes or courses. 

To train the hands of the young generation, Split has tennis or handball. TK Pomak and Tenis Klub Split 1950 teach children to hold a racket, balance energy, and get pleasure from the game. Clubs encourage professional tennis tracks as well as playing for recreation purposes. There is also women-led handball education in Split. Women Handball Club ZRK Split occupies a unique place in a region: the first league club with 70 years of history and 150+ members enrolling girls in five age categories. A good place for your future wonder women!

A kind of comprehensive training for the body is swimming that can be found by the above-mentioned water polo clubs Mornar and Jadran or in swimming clubs like Grdelin and Posk. Both are based in the Poljud pools. In any case, water skills will be useful in the coastal city of Split. Don't refuse an offer to take a trial training to understand whether this sport fits your child's temper.

The majority of students start learning foreign languages in the first or second grade of primary school. If you suppose that language classes in a school are not enough or you want to give a child another, there are many language courses in Split. When your child is already a student, we can add several others to the above-mentioned list of schools that teach kids since kindergarten. Eduka Center in Split conducts programs on English and French and has an interesting program on faster reading and learning for children from 12 y.o. Inicijativa center also has some educational programs besides English in individual, group, express, and business forms.

Viktorija teaches groups of primary and secondary school students, groups who fancy improving their speaking, and individual students. Sintagma suits children as well as their parents. Besides six other languages, they teach Croatian as a foreign language and prepare for professional translation. Alliance Francaise in Split is certainly good to learn French, Dolphin - to learn German, and Jantar is probably good for studying Russian as I can guess from the name (they teach other languages too).

Programming languages are equally important nowadays, and coding classes promise to prepare our children for a digital future. Codey Rocky – Inovatic could be a perfect place for beginners. They use popular global platforms like Lego Mindstorms, robot Maqueen microbit to gradually introduce children to designing, modelling, programming processes. Logischool focuses more on programming itself, and things can be produced using bare code - computers, games, applications, etc. School code course is recommended for 7-18 y.o. Robotics Lego is 10-18 y.o. Students are divided into different age groups. The school provides students with all necessary tools and doesn't ask for any prerequisites. 

For those children interested in nature, there's an opportunity in the outskirts of Split. Zvezdano selo Mosor (star village Mosor) by the observatory situated in the Mosor mountains chain organizes a 'small school of astronomy' and 'school in nature' for primary and secondary school students. Lectures are held in their space in Split once a week. For field observations, students go to the Zvezdano selo; transportation issues can be discussed in private.

For teenagers

Teenage children can continue with supplementary activities. However, sometimes they want to change it because they're not interested in a sports career or need more time for themselves or their spheres of interest change. Or, for instance, their family moved to Split.

Teenage boys are often into martial arts. Karate and taekwondo classes are present in the widest variety. Taekwondo club Marjan has eight sites in Split and the surrounding area. It trains kids from kindergarten, but here we will emphasize their program for 'juniors.' When children face growth, responsibility, peer pressure, and become teenagers, taekwondo helps them get perseverance and self-control. In addition, Aikido facilitates the development of flexibility, concentration, and coordination. Also, Aikido club Bonaca offers a handy 2-month course that doesn't oblige you to anything.

A solution for teenage girls to keep self-confidence and body coordination is often proposed by dance studios. Clique, Dance Box, and Dance Crew United have younger groups but mostly target an older audience of dancers willing to drive, show, scene, expression. Sailing and rowing sports experience would be a valuable asset to take to college years. Mornar, Split, and Labud's Sailing clubs have their sailing schools, and Zenta has even radio-controlled sailing that can be a good combination for those interested in both sport and physics.

Many college students in Croatia participate in student hiking clubs. Therefore Planinarski Klub Split will definitely be a good foundation for your child's future. Split has many wonderful natural places nearby - Labištica, Opor, Kozjak, Mosor, Omiška Dinara, and Biokovo. Hiking will help a teenager keep fit, discover amazing trails, and change shifts and locations. An alternative for young people who like climbing but don't enjoy long hikes could be the artificial climbing wall in the district of Znjan (SPK Lapis).

Spending almost a year in the Split scout association as an international volunteer, I would surely recommend it to any kid from 6 to 21 y.o. Scouts give a big improvement to general school education concerning nature, sociocultural, ethic issues. They put children in situations when they have to think by themselves and make collective decisions, finally to derive skills from their own life experience. And in particular, I'd recommend the scout movement for teenagers.

In my opinion, in this period of life, the scout environment can be most helpful for personal development. An overwhelming majority of sections and clubs mentioned above conduct camps, however with scouts, you participate so much in the organization of camps, can take the initiative, go first, etc. Furthermore, a pleasant bonus is travelling and meeting scouts from other countries - insensibly a big network is around you! Last but not least: scouts release you not only as an educated know-it-all or pumped-up athlete but a responsible citizen. 

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Applicants From 16 Countries Shortlisted For Croatian Language Scholarship

 ZAGREB, 21 July, 2021 - The Central State Office for Croats Abroad has shortlisted 168 candidates from 16 countries for scholarships to learn the Croatian language in the 2021/2022 academic year in the four biggest cities in Croatia.

A total of 340 applications were received with 255 being eligible.

Most of the applications received were from South American countries - Chile (45), Argentina (37), Bolivia (25), Peru (19) and one each from Ecuador, Italy, Lebanon, Cuba, Canada, Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The scholarship includes the tuition fee, subsidised meals and a monthly allowance of HRK 400 (€53) for accommodation in a student dormitory or a private apartment, which is paid to all students who successfully complete the semester.

Most of the candidates have said they want to study in Zagreb (125) and Split (30), and ten have applied for Rijeka and only two for Osijek.

The scholarships are available to persons of Croatian descent, their spouses, friends who nurture the Croatian identity and promote Croatia's culture. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a secondary school education and reside abroad or not have lived in Croatia for more than three years.

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

Friday, 16 July 2021

New and Improved FOI Course: Business Applied Information Technologies

July 16, 2021 - Continuing to improve education, a new and improved FOI course is open for the academic year 2021/2022. Meet the program of Business Applied Information Technologies.

With a fantastic display of informatical knowledge and growing interest in the field observable among Croatian pupils, it is only logical that the education system follows the demand.

Faculty of Organization and Informatics (FOI), based in Varaždin but part of the University of Zagreb, is already one of the more known high-education institutions for computer-sciences-inclined. But, as Srednja.hr reported, starting next academic year this autumn, an improved bachelor's study program will take its first students.

„By process of revision, and by following trends and modern markets, FOI successfully innovated a professional bachelor's program called Business Applied Information Technologies (PITUP), says Srednja.hr.

The article adds that the program has a multidisciplinary approach in combining information technologies and digital business. The program also develops in two directions: app development and informatics support aimed to allow students to progress in their preferred area. The education for the new and improved PITUP apart from Varaždin will also be available in cities and towns such as Varaždin, Sisak, Križevci, and Zabok.

As stated by Faculty's official website, FOI is active for more than 50 years and spent that time well in educating the most qualified experts in information technology, economy, organization, communicology, and other fields of similar direction.

„To educate our students, all the needed infrastructure is secured: equipped laboratories, videoconference halls, electronic learning system, wireless network for Faculty buildings and modern equipped library and reading room“, says FOI.

In addition, FOI has two buildings, with building two being within a five-minute walk from the center of Varaždin, and from building one directed towards Varaždin Student Dorms and the newly built Student Restaurant.

„Employers recognized the knowledge and skill of our students. From this year, ecx.io digital agency, that does business as part of IBM iX Group, collabs with FOI to give scholarships to three freshmen year students that will take the PITUPeducational program in Sisak Educational Centre“, added Srednja.hr

The city of Križevci also offers scholarships for three students from Križevci that stay in their town to study the new program.

Learn more about Varaždin on our TC page.

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

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

MP Jeckov: There Are Definitely No Segregated Schools in Croatia

ZAGREB, 7 July, 2021 - MP Dragana Jeckov of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) said on Wednesday that there are "definitely" no segregated schools or exclusively Serb schools in Croatia, let alone a segregated state education system.

Jeckov made the statement in parliament following statements in the media by "quasi-reformists of minority education," primarily the one conducted in the Serbian language and Cyrillic script.

"Certain myths need to be debunked," she said, including the one that Serbs in Croatia have separate schools and that they are being taught from textbooks from Serbia, based on the so-called Serbian programme.

"In Croatia, there are definitely no segregated schools, there are no exclusively Serb schools, let alone schools that are segregated from the state education system," said Jeckov.

The truth is that students go to school within the same building, that they usually go in the same shift, that they have extra-curricula activities together. The only difference is that members of the minority community are taught in their mother tongue and only if their parents decide so.

"Model A is used by the Italian and Hungarian and Czech minorities and they enjoy their minority rights to a greater extent than Serbs because their schools are registered as minority schools, unlike those for Serbs," she said.

She said that the Serb minority is not asking for more than others but it hasn't achieved the level of rights that others have, and that there is no alternative to education in the mother tongue and script.

MP Stipo MIinarić, of the Homeland Movement (DP) retorted that she was not telling the truth.

"Schools are segregated. Children are segregated from kindergarten age to secondary school. That is not good for Vukovar, the Serb community, the Croatian people, for anyone. Why are children being segregated?" he asked.

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

 

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Croatia-Slovakia Scientific Cooperation: Conference in Zadar Continues Academic Friendship

June 30, 2021 - In 2019, an agreement was reached on the start of the Croatia-Slovakia scientific cooperation. The June 18 conference held at the University of Zadar presented the current progress in that agreement.

Along with countries such as Serbia, Slovenia, and Northern Macedonia, Croatia is a south Slavic country. The former Socialistic Federation of Yugoslavia got its name because of southern Slavs, a branch of Slavs, ethnolinguistic groups that arrived in Europe along with many other groups in what history remembers as the „Migration Period“, when Europe was dominated by the Western Roman Empire.

Other Slavic countries include Russia, Poland, Bulgaria (also south-slave, but not part of Yugoslavia), Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, and also West Slavic country, Slovakia.

Sharing ethical and cultural heritage and diplomatic relations (formed on March 1, 1993), saw the intellectual cooperation with Slovakia raised on a high level and produced so much material, it required an entire scientific conference.

As reported by Ivo Pilar Social Research website, June 18 saw Zadar University host a conference „Intellectual relations of Croatia and Slovakia“, prepared by Slovakian-Croatian Board for Humanistic Sciences lead b professor Martin Homza from Comenius University in Bratislava and Ivo pilar Social Research Institute headmaster dr. Željko Holjevac.

The conference was supposed to be held last year but was canceled due to coronavirus, and the 2021 edition was managed in a hybrid model of the event, mixing live and online ways for participants to meet. Twelve Slovakian and Croatian scientists reported on the theme, and key Slovakian and Croatian players on the subjects of education attended and made speeches at the opening ceremony. This includes professor Zvjezdan Penezić, Zadar University's vice-chancellor. Peter Susko, Slovakian Ambassador in Croatia, Marián Zouhar, dean of the Bratislava's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Staša Skenžić from Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, as well as Martina Klofáčova from the Slovakian Ministry of Science and Education.

„Slovakian-Croatian Board for Humanity Sciences is active since 2019 as part of the program of collaboration between two ministries for science and education with the goal of developing bilateral scientific and educating activities in the field of history, linguistics, Latinism, art history, ethnology, and archaeology“, informed Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute about the program goals.

Is there a Croatian diaspora in Slovakia? Yes. You can learn more about the Croatian diaspora on our TC page.

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

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

First Centre For Digital Literacy of the Blind and Visually impaired opens

ZAGREB, 29 June, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović's envoy and human rights advisor Melita Mulić on Tuesday opened the Centre for the Digital Literacy of Blind and Visually Impaired Persons on the premises of the Zagreb Association of Blind Persons.

The centre, the first of its kind in Croatia, is part of the "Network for all" project.

Mulić said that digital literacy would ensure new opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons that previous generations did not have.

"We put great emphasis on diversity as well as on creating new opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons. President Zoran Milanović gladly supports these socially responsible projects and is grateful for the support and love of all those involved," said Mulić.

The president of the Zagreb Association of Blind Persons, Branimir Šutalo, said that the centre needs to be an example of good practice for other associations of the blind and visually impaired.

He said that in addition to Braille, modern times have set digital literacy as a fundamental precondition for the independence of the blind and visually impaired and their full inclusion in the life of the broader community.

"Our association is faced with serious financial challenges because essential IT equipment costs up to HRK 25,000 per user. That is why we particularly want to thank our sponsors, the HEP Group and DM Croatia, which equipped this new IT centre," said Šutalo.

The director of the Apriori World agency, Danijel Koletić, underscored the importance and necessity of adapting web sites for blind and visually impaired persons according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Unfortunately, despite a European directive, the number of WCAG programmed sites are negligible, particularly those by public administration and public companies, he said.

"The relevant law, which should have been completely adapted to the European Directive, has omitted the obligation for elementary and secondary schools to have access to those web sites," he said, noting that this posed a huge challenge in terms of young people's understanding the importance of the inclusion of people with disabilities.

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

Friday, 25 June 2021

Ending Segregated Education in Vukovar? Mayor Ivan Penava Announced an Idea

June 25, 2021 - Is there any possibility of ending segregated education in Vukovar? Mayor Ivan Penava announced Serbian and Croatian education could merge in school and kindergarten levels, but more details are yet to be revealed.

The start of the week saw interesting news that surprised many. As reported by N1, Ivan Penava, the mayor of Vukovar, announced Croatian and Serbian classes and kindergartens could merge together.

Vukovar, often referred to in Croatia as the „Hero City“ for the heavy blow it suffered in the 90s war Croatians refer to as Homeland War, still has a lot of ruins as memories of that ugly past. In the light of national tensions among Serbs and Croats, the segregation of kindergartens and different shifts in schools for Serbian and Croatian classes seem to be a solution to keep the peace.

ivan_penava_n1_screen.jpg

screenshot/ N1

Good idea but more talks needed?

„In Vukovar, parents do not choose the model of education that is imposed by politics, it is nowhere written in public“, said mayor Penava, as reported by N1.

Penava, a former member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), despite earning a new term in the recent local elections as an independent candidate, enjoyed support from Miroslav Škoro, runner-up candidate for Zagreb mayor elections, and the leader of the Homeland Movement (DP) supports Penava's idea.

„I lived in America for a number of years, in Hungary, I traveled the world... what is the difference between Serbian and Croatian mathematics? Is Argentina in Serbian in the northern hemisphere, and southern in Croatian? I don't get it“, said Škoro adding that segregation was done in malice with a tendency to divide children from the start.

„In Vukovar, the symbol of defense had priorities. Reconstruction of the water tower, and certain moves Penava did well in his last term (he wouldn't win elections if he hasn't), thinks that city needs to move on. I support him 100%“, concluded Škoro.

On the other hand, criticism is erected on national-level politics.

„I don't think that local officials are the ones who need to determine a way in which minority education will be conducted. Political trade is clear here, and I'm glad there is no longer just Serbian-Croatian trading coalition, but also another one“, said Dragana Jecov, a Croatian parliament member from the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) referring to the accusations of the right-wing that current coalition of HDZ and SDSS and is vile political trade.

Interior Minister Davo Božinović also said that while we need to work on erasing national, social, and political tensions, but this is a question that needs to be discussed more seriously.

Additionally, as N1 reported, the Ministry of Education pointed out that different models of education for Vukovar schools exist, and parents can choose which they find most suitable.

Accepting national differences or nationalistic uniformity?

Some improvements have indeed been seen in the city infrastructure, but Vukovar still remains a challenging place to live. Partly due to the tough economic situation, but also because of discrepancies among Serbian and Croatian residents. Earlier in June, there was even a violent incident when a 30-year-old Serbian member of the Grobari football fan group physically attacked a Croatian 13-year-old boy in front of a bakery for having a medicine mask with Croatian symbols.

„Sadly, this kind of thing happened too long in Vukovar, where people attack each other because of national disputes. Media aren't even introduced to some of these events. It is spread a lot, as evident by the constant police patrols around Vukovar high-schools where there are always police cars around“, said Vukovar police to Večernji List daily newspaper.

Such incidents, a misfortunate loose ends of the war, also come from the Croatian side. Earlier in May, a group of young men chanted anti-Serb slogans in Borovo Selo (close to Vukovar), a scene of heinous war crimes in the '90s), sparking condemnation from both president Milanović and the Croatian Government.

In that light, integrated schools might finally bring positive changes in regards to tolerance and peaceful life for Vukovar citizens. But again, not everyone sees the glass as half full.
Index.hr columnist Gordan Duhaček agreed in his column that Serbs and Croats don't need to go to separate shifts but warns how Penava isn't the guy that should unite them.

„Penava doesn't want to integrate Vukovar schools and end the troubling segregation in a way to ensure a better future for the whole city, but instead to impose his nationalistic, often anti-Serbian narrative as the official one. Penava wants that Vukovar Serbs bow down to his view of the Croatian state“, wrote Duhaček.

Duhaček also reminded the readership of the attempt and fail of the Danube International school that supposed to integrate pupils of both nations, an idea that spawned 16 years ago. But, the project failed, and Duhaček sees both Penava and SDSS leader Milorad Pupovac not feeling too sad about it.

vukovar_watr_tower.jpg

Iconic Vukovar water tower, pixabay

Questions on details

At the end of the week, the situation seems more confusing than clear. Is class integration a good idea? Could it save money for the city financially? What are some actual details of merging Croats and Serbians into one class? Obviously, Škoro is right that 2+2=4 in any math class around the world. But, troubling questions appear in subjects such as language and history. Croats and Serbs sadly have their own, different interpretations of historical facts, particularly when it comes to the last war, and while the speakers of two languages perfectly understand each other, some words do differ, and there is a different accent and spelling in the two formal languages. So, how can these issues be resolved? Would those two subjects remain in different shifts while universal subjects such as biology, math, or physics will listen in one merged classroom? Or will there be a different curriculum that would present both Serbian and Croatian history, Serbian and Croatian literature in that way, making Vukovar pupils more knowledgable in those areas than other pupils in the country?

Or some curriculum consensus on history could be reached, one that would satisfy both the Croatian and Serbian sides and thus truly open a doorway to the better understandings of the two nations in the future in perhaps the most nationally torn city in Croatia?

Obviously, Vukovar city authorities have some tensions with SDSS, but the city also has an expert associate for the development of civil society and national minorities, Siniša Mitrović in one of the City's departments. Did Mitrović manage to gain input from the Serbian minority in Vukovar about this merge? And how fast could the whole thing be realized? This autumn or maybe a bit later?
These are important and interesting questions that can only be answered either by mayor Penava himself or perhaps Josip Paloš, the director of the Vukovar City Education Department.

„Mayor Penava is in a lot of meetings and on fields, and his schedule is full. We will sadly not be able to answer you by your Friday deadline, but we will contact you at the earliest convenience“, said the lady at the Vukovar City PR service when I called them (and E-mailed) with a wish to arrange and conduct a brief phone interview.

While this article may present the current issues surrounding segregated education in Vukovar, this TCN reporter hopes mayor Penava will share more details about his plan on ending segregation in Vukovar schools and kindergarten with joint classes. If done right, this move can indeed be the way to a better, more peaceful future for Vukovar citizens.

Learn more about Vukovar on our TC page.

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

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Professor Slavko Krajcar Death: A Look at the Life of Fantastic FER Professor

June 24, 2021 - Following the professor Slavko Krajcar Death on June 18, take a look at the life of an established educator and scientist whose expertise made a significant contribution to Croatian politics in the energy sector.

„The influence of a teacher can never be erased“, or as an American historian Henry Brook Adams put it, „Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops“- these two are just some of the inspirational quotes about teachers you can find with a little assistance from Google.

Students at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) at the University of Zagreb are recognized in Croatia for their innovations. At the end of the day, they owe their excellence to the professors that educated them.

One of such professors was Dr. Slavko Krajcar that sadly, as FER official website reported, passed away on June 18, last week.

"Professor, Dr. Slavko Kranjcar made a significant contribution to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing as he was a dean of the Faculty from 1998-2002, after which he was the head of the department for high voltage and energetics from 2002-2006. He will remain in permanent memory as a respected scientist, expert, and a colleague“, said FER in an official release.

Kranjcar was also the member and the president of the Managing council at Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB) that also expressed its condolences.

Born on January 14, 1951, Slavko Krajcar enrolled to study in FER in 1969, followed by graduating from Technical High School in Pula. He majored in FER in 1980 and got his Ph.D. in 1988. His scientific and lecture career started in 1974 when he was an assistant on a manufacturing electric energy course. From there on, he mentored various students on different levels, ten of which earned Ph.D. statuses under his guidance.

Kranjcar was active in the media, giving interviews and writing op-pieces on education issues, specifically the education of engineers in the 21st century.

„Krajcar participated on many domestic projects regarding science or economy as well on international scientific and professional projects. Counting just after the year 2000, he participated in over fifty projects, 36 of which he led. He was one of the leading figures in making Croatian Energetic Strategy (which the parliament accepted in 2010) and the Energetic Efficiency Strategy (2008) as well as executive plans on new strategies (2008-2020)“, recalled FER.

They added Fer rewarded Krajcar in 2002 when he received Josip Lončar's golden plaque for his dedicated scientific and educational work. He also received special recognition for developing SRCE- The Computer Centre of the University of Zagreb in 2011, followed by the Ho CIRED award for contribution in developing the field of electro distribution in Croatia. He also received HRO CIGRE recognition in 2018 for the overall contribution to the electro energetic activities in the Republic of Croatia and the Nikola Tesla Award in 2020 for the contribution to science, education, and profession in the field of electrical engineering and computer sciences and application of those technologies.

Believe it or not, Krajcar even made time to contribute to art and culture as well. He published two books of poetry, edited four books regarding cultural issues, and was the president of the Association for Čakavski dialect (distinct for the use of Ča as a word for what and conversated on coastal Croatia).

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

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

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Youth Work in Flux Conference Held in Rijeka

June 23, 2021 - Youth Work in Flux Conference held in Rijeka mid-June saw scholars, researchers, scientists, and professionals discuss and present their work in the domain of youth work.

With more and more concern invested in youth in Croatia (both academically and professionally), June 15-17 saw Rijeka as the host of the conference titled „Youth work in flux: an academic point of view on youth work training and education“.

The conference was organized by the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb and partners: University of Rijeka and Slovenian University of Ljubljana held as part of the Erasmus + project Supporting Evidence-based Education of Youth Workers.

„Our aim is to strengthen the epistemic community of scholars and researchers in the domain of youth work, while instigating an academic debate on existing knowledge in the domain, defining further topics that need to be explored, and investigating the possibilities of co-creating the knowledge with actors from the community“, said the official website of the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb as the page was inviting „all interested scholars, researchers, and doctoral students to submit their abstracts and contribute to shedding light on this proliferating topic“.

Among such researchers, Dr. Marko Mustapić and Dino Vukušić from the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute stood out. The two researchers presented results of the research „Youth Activism and Sport: Legacy of Dražen Petrović and ‘heritage in the making’“. Their ethnographic research investigated „Mi smo Cibona“ (We Are Cibona) association, centered around Cibona, a famous Zagreb basketball club, and how the youth in that association respond to the famous Croatian sportsman Dražen Petrović – how they perceive, interpret, or reinterpret Petrović's material and symbolic heritage and how they feel about basketball club today and what is the future of the association's activism.

The research was done as part of a project called CHIEF - Cultural Heritage and Identities of European Future done in the Horizont2020 frame.

As Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute informs, CHIEF started on May 1, 2018, with a budget of 4,58 million euros. The concept was split into 10 working packages challenging both in theory and in practice, but with a goal to conduct field research on the population 14-25 years of age, to see what we can perceive about Europe's identity in the future as these new generations develop into social and political participants.

With such conferences and various projects that aim to empower youth to stay in Croatia, it is evident that the importance of youth is finally recognized in the country. But, will that be enough to engage politicians to offer more things for the youth and stop the exodus of young Croatians from the country is yet to be revealed by future events.

When it comes to youth, learn more about what Croatia can offer to kids and families on our TC page.

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

 

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