Monday, 2 May 2022

History of Vukovar or History in Vukovar? No, Our Future Please

May 3, 2022 – Vukovar is indeed full of life. The 3rd of May is Vukovar Day, marking the day it became a free royal town in 1231, and the day of Saints Philip and James who became Vukovar’s patron saints when their church was built in 1723.

Traditionally, this day is a bank holiday in Vukovar, with celebrations and events in the city centre. With the Svi zaJedno Hrvatsko Naj festival leaning onto Vukovar Day, the city becomes the site of culture, sports, gastronomy, music, and more, for over a week. And if you take a closer look, you will see that it’s Vukovar’s youngest who make the city come alive. The little ones are jumping with joy and running between the stalls, the decorations, and the popcorn vendors, and our high schoolers are even here to teach us something. And if you listen closely, you can hear them speak both Croatian and Serbian.history vukovar.jpg

Courtesy of TZ Vukovar / Marko Balaži

This co-existence in Vukovar still sparks debate among those who know about its history, and curiosity among those who are yet to learn. On this Vukovar day, we decided to have a look at history in hopes of making a step in the right direction for our future. We went to schools in Vukovar, both primary and secondary, where we had a chance to speak to the headmasters and teachers. The guiding thought was the idea that the subject of history is a sensitive area, especially in Serbian minority classes. This question has been explored before, with varying conclusions, so we wanted to see where we stand in 2022. The outcome is interesting, but not surprising, refreshing, and yet completely normal.

The demography of Vukovar

Vukovar has historically been a diverse urban centre, whose population throughout the 20th century was made up of the Croatian, Serbian, Hungarian and German nationalities to varying extents, with the Serbian population steadily growing and reaching 25,5% in 1948 and 32,3% in 1990, whereas the German and Hungarian population significantly declined during the same period. In 1990, the Croatian population made 47,2% of its 44,639 inhabitants. It is important to note that the social structure of the city kept changing throughout the 20th century due to the Yugoslavian policies, as well as the fact that the socialist state discouraged expressing religious beliefs or national identity in everyday life. Our interlocutors who have lived all their lives in Vukovar shared that in pre-war Vukovar “you wouldn’t know other people’s nationalities or beliefs” (I.A., 68), “unless in a political situation, no one cared” (A.J., 63), “in everyday human lives it did not matter one bit, we all played together as kids, grew up together and watched our children grow up together” (J.G., 72). Their memories of the city make their faces light up and their eyes sparkle, and they happily share stories of life by the river, the best ice cream, friendship, and family. The things that mattered. Of course, the events of 1991 shattered that image of the city and it took decades to start even imagining something like that again.history of vukovar.png

"The Danube Bath", courtesy of Vukovar Municipal Museum

Model A for the education of national minorities

Like anywhere else, the rights of national minorities in Croatia are emphasized and respected in all aspects of life. One of the areas serving as a constant source of inspiration for debate in Vukovar is schooling. In Croatia, schools follow a three-model system (A, B, C) with several additional programs (such as summer school ). In model A, minority language and writing systems are fully adopted, with the Croatian language taking an equal amount of school hours as the minority language. Model B uses both Croatian and minority languages, with social subjects taught in the minority language. Model C teaches minority languages and cultures as an additional subject, with all other instruction and teaching done in Croatian.

In Vukovar, models A and C are most often chosen by minorities, with model A being the most likely choice of the Serbian national minority. What this means is that schools following model A will often have students of the same age group take separate classes based on the chosen model (i.e. if they are a member of the minority group or not). The purpose of the three models is the preservation of minority languages and cultures with enough flexibility to accommodate for integration.

Peaceful reintegration of the Danube Region and the history moratorium

One of the conditions of the Serbian representatives in the peace negotiations of 1997 was that there was a moratorium put on the teaching of Vukovar’s recent history in national minority classes. The moratorium lasted 5 years and officially ended in 2003. From 2003 to 2022 it has been a rocky road, and there were numerous attempts to have a peek behind the scenes and see if the sensitive parts of history are being taught in minority classrooms. Sensationalist headlines would appear, stating that Croatian history is only taught over something like 3 pages in the Serbian textbook written in Serbian using the Cyrillic writing, that teachers deliberately skip and ignore the whole section, that they twist it, etc. Having spoken to headmasters, teachers, parents, and students, the truth is simple – it is highly individual, and if teachers feel strongly about the topic, they might be inclined to adapt their way of teaching. The opinions of parents are varying, some feel strongly, and some don’t, depending mostly on the generation they belong to. What probably sums it up best, are the words of the mother of a second-grader, stating that “we cannot avoid the topic, certainly not in 2022. No matter which classroom my children attend, they will learn about the events and hopefully, they will be able to form their own opinions. What we want for them is to live a normal life and grow up in a society of equal opportunity”. (S.G.)

The headmasters of primary schools and secondary schools all agree that they are currently facing much bigger issues, some caused by the pandemic, some by the modern way of life, but that history on this or that side has become a rather dry topic which is not in their control anyway. They emphasize that having started from completely separate classrooms, teachers, subjects, and extracurricular activities, students these days all play together, attend workshops and sports clubs, take part in competitions and plays, and even go on excursions, exchanges, and cultural events together, forming separate groups around things like celebrity crushes, candy or games, and not nationality.

Like it or not, Vukovar is healing as nature always finds a way

The honest truth is it has been 30 years and time and nature have started doing their thing. A change of generations has happened. Make no mistake, what happened in Vukovar in 1991 were inhuman atrocities that can never be denied, and there is a lot of injustice still making it that much harder even after 30 years. Unfortunately, those who deserve punishment might never be punished for the crimes they committed but let us not punish those who had nothing to do with it, those who are at the same time the future of our city. Children are children, they might grow up to become assholes or they might go on to save the world. They might learn history in Croatian written in Latin writing, or that could be Serbian in Cyrillic writing. Chances are, they will find it equally boring and would much rather play than study. Some might be fascinated by it. They are all different. We are all different. Maybe it’s time to start learning from the young ones and celebrate diversity while working together for a better future for all of us. history of vukovar 2.jpg

 National day against peer violence, courtesy of OŠ Siniše Glavaševića

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

Monday, 28 March 2022

Conference on Education Held in Split

28 March 2022 - Young people are a pillar of social recovery and development of EU countries, which is why they should be invested in, it was said at a conference on education in Split on Monday.

"Recovery and development are not possible if one invests only in tourism and the services sector. It is necessary to also invest in young people and education," Croatian member of the European Parliament, Željana Zovko of the HDZ party, who organised the conference, said at the event.

"Young people are the ones to take Croatia and Europe towards technological progress. The key message of this conference is for young people to stay here and develop their talents," she said, calling for equal education opportunities both for those living in urban areas and those living in rural areas or on islands.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution in 2021 on the European education area, which says that the teaching profession is in a crisis because there are significant differences in education in the member-states in terms of working conditions, pay, assessment and professional requirements.

Teachers should be paid adequately for their work and students should be at the centre of the learning process, the document says, underlining the importance of learning foreign languages, notably English, as well as mass open online courses as a necessary element in promoting additional training and retraining.

Addressing the event via video link, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel said that the Recovery and Resilience Plan has the potential to become a lever for introducing a greener, more digital and more inclusive system of education in the EU.

Ina 2016, Split-Dalmatia County established a centre of excellence that currently has 430 children and 109 mentors in four basic programmes, and an additional 2,100 children in three extracurricular programmes with another 300 mentors, the centre's head, Ivica Zelić, said.

"We want to establish a system of support for talent development and make what we, in Split-Dalmatia County, are doing a national model," Zelić said.

In cooperation with Lika-Senj County,  the county plans to build a centre of excellence campus in Nova Sela in the hinterland of Omiš.

That campus will be the first of its kind in Southeast Europe and it will be a meeting place for excellent students not only from Croatia but from all over this part of Europe, said Split-Dalmatia County head Blaženko Boban.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

20 Contracts Worth €6m Awarded for Education of Preschool Staff

ZAGREB, 3 Feb 2022 - Twenty contracts on the education of 368 various professionals in preschool education were awarded on Thursday by Labour Minister Josip Aladrović and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs.

The project, worth 45 million kuna (€6 million), is funded from the European Union's funds and is aimed at the education of various professionals in the educational system, who will care for 1,537 children.

Minister Aladrović said that this was only a fragment of all investments in the educational system.

He added that the project also connected three priorities of the EU Social Fund. For instance, it will produce a positive impact on employment, then it will enable women to get jobs and also enable children of preschool age in educational programmes.

Minister Fuchs said that the target is to have at least 90% of all preschool children in the whole of Croatia included in preschool educational programmes by 2026.

Fuchs said that approximately 40 municipalities were still without kindergartens, and investments worth 1.6 billion kuna (€213 million) would change the situation for the better.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Program Encouraging Reading to Children Presented

ZAGREB, 16 Dec 2021 - Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek on Wednesday presented a national program aimed at encouraging parents to read to their children from an early age on.

The program, called "Born to read", is implemented by the Culture and Media Ministry in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and with the support of the Croatian Pediatric Society and the Croatian Society of Preventive and Social Pediatrics.

Speaking at a training course for pediatricians in Slavonski Brod, Obuljen Koržinek said she expected the program to encourage parents to read to their children.

The program is part of the national strategy for the promotion of reading, adopted in 2017, and it was presented at the end of the Year of Reading.

The minister said that the implementation of the program would start in 2022 and that it involved pediatricians who would work on raising parents' awareness of the need to start reading to their children as early as six months of age as a way of strengthening the child's competencies.

Research shows that reading to children helps develop their intelligence, cognitive abilities, and generally their literacy. In Croatia, only one-third of parents are aware of the importance of reading to children and the percentage of parents who actually read to their children is even lower, the minister said, expressing hope the project would help raise awareness among parents about the benefits of reading to children.

The minister noted that a program of this kind had been underway in Italy for some 20 years and that it had yielded the desired positive changes.

Throughout next year education courses will be held for pediatricians about the importance of encouraging reading to children.

The idea to launch the program came from Dr. Marija Radonić.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Croatia To Have Access to €36M Under Erasmus+ 2022 Programme

ZAGREB, 28 Nov, 2021 - The European Commission has published a call for the submission of applications for the Erasmus+ programme and has allocated as much as €3.9 billion for its implementation in 2022.

Of this amount, more than €36 million has been set aside for Croatia, which is an increase of €8 million compared with 2021, when Croatia had at its disposal over €28 million, the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes said in a statement.

This more generous budget for 2022 will bring greater opportunities for Croatian citizens to study abroad, pursue their internship and professional practice, exchange experience and engage in international cooperation in the areas of education and training, youth and sport, the agency's director Antonija Gladović said.

The Croatian budget for Erasmus+ 2022 includes €30.2 million for education and training and €5.2 million for projects that will give young people better opportunities. Mobility and cooperation projects will support the green and digital transition and promote active citizenship and participation in democratic life. Such projects have already increased the resilience of the education and training system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inclusion, which aims to give as many people as possible access to learning and international projects, remains one of the fundamental principles of the Erasmus+ programme, which celebrates its 35th birthday next year, the statement said.

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For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 8 October 2021

Croatian Libraries in a Digital Climate: Conference Held in Lovran

October 8, 2021 - Croatian Libraries in the digital climate was the topic of a conference held in Lovran.

The pandemic and earthquakes of 2020 opened a lot of questions of handling everyday institutions in the not-so-usual times.

One such institution is the library, and Hotel Excelsior in beautiful Lovran (near Opatija and Rijeka on the Western Istrian coast) played host to the 17th edition of the Specialised and Higher Education Library Days. The event lasted from September 30 to October 2. It was organised by the Croatian Library Association (HKD), the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) and the University Library in Rijeka with the support of the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media.

As reported by the University of Zagreb's official website, the focus theme of the conference was the ''Digital Transformation of Libraries in Special Circumstances'' which is divided into four parts and regards digital circumstances.

These topics explored copyright laws, librarian competency, roles, positions, services, and the content of Croatian libraries in the digital era.

''On the last day of the conference, visitors could hear all about the changes in university and higher education libraries in the digital context, not just in terms of the offer but in terms of the legal framework too. These topics were covered by Dr. Tatijana Petrić, while the trends on the development of Croatian universities from a scientific perspective were presented by dr. Miroslav Rajter,'' said the University of Zagreb's website.

Zagreb's NSK has already adapted to digitalisation with the digital library where users can search literature by authors, title, topics or metadata.

Aside from the fact that its faculties have libraries with titles relevant to the field students can study, the University of Zagreb also launched the Hrčak website that offers readers to enjoy Croatian scientific journals and papers, thus allowing access to the scientific content.

Speaking of libraries, any book published in Croatia is required to have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), which is accessible for free by contacting and filling out the form at NSK, the ISBN is obligatory for every hard copybook. When it comes to digital books, the current law in Croatia states that an ISBN isn't obligatory if the electronic book has no intention of earning commercial money and if it isn't going to be on sale. However, if the author wishes to sell an electronic book and make money from it, then they're obligated to get an ISBN which is assigned for free.

While the development of digital technologies is something that poses a challenge to old reading habits from the library's perspective, the pandemic is also something that limits the physical activities of Croatian libraries. Libraries may no longer hold a vital position for accessing literature, but here in Croatia, they're still valuable for hosting book presentations of Croatian authors (particularly new and lesser known ones who need help in reaching their potential audience).

As TCN covered earlier, the difficulties of 2020 also inspired the country's civil protection services to analyse and adapt to ensuring security ans safety in unexpected situations at a conference in Vinkovci. With the fast-changing day-to-day reality we live in thanks to technology, and the ever uncertain future, it seems 2020 was the wake-up call Croatia needed to be better prepared for what lies ahead in all possible scenarios.

Learn more about famous Croats, including writers in our TC guide

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

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Through Pandemics and Earthquakes: World Teachers' Day in Croatia Honors Educators

October 5, 2021 - Commemorating World Teachers' Day in Croatia is another indicator that the country is following global trends. Despite expressed sympathy for teachers, the problems in the Croatian education system are yet to be solved.

World Teachers’ Day is held annually on 5 October to celebrate all teachers around the globe. It commemorates the anniversary of adopting the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions – says the official UNESCO website. 

Croatia is no exception in honoring the people who teach the youngest generations in the country in the hope they grow into good and educated people that will make Croatia a better place. 

Despite being established on February 2, 2006, under the name of The Faculty of Teacher Education, this institution, part of the University of Zagreb, has a much richer history of educating teachers that began with the first Teacher Training School in Zagreb in 1849. Thus, the oldest instance of Croatian formal teachers' education was followed by Petrinja (1862) and Čakovec (1879).

„The Faculty of Teacher Education, in addition to its constituent units - chairs, centers, institutes, library, and gallery, has three academic departments: Department of Teacher Education Studies, Department of Preschool Education Studies, and Department of Educational Studies. With the resolution of the University Senate of the University of Zagreb dating February 13, 2007, the Four-year Teachers’ College in Čakovec and the Four-year Teachers’ College in Petrinja merged with the Faculty of Teacher Education at first as branches and then as departments of the Faculty of Teacher Education. As such, they have developed for the purposes of organizing implementing the program of study away from the Central location of the Faculty of Teacher Education. Both departments carry out the work and operations under the name of the Faculty of Teacher Education and their own name," says the official website of the faculty.

As it suits a high educational facility for the teachers' field, the Faculty of Teacher Education commemorated the event on Tuesday and appropriately celebrated their professional holiday.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković congratulated World Teachers' Day on Twitter. He expressed gratitude for teachers doing their job during the pandemic and earthquake

„There is no greater task than raising, educating, and shaping the youth which is the future“, wrote Plenković by Twitter as reported by Index.hr.

Croatian president Zoran Milanović attended the ceremony at the Faculty of Teachers' Education. He stated that teachers played a crucial part in shaping Croatian culture.

Based on previous writings by TCN, Milanović's statement can be evident in historical events such as the First Croatian Teacher Congress in 1871. Usually, you could learn more about the history of Croatian education by visiting the Croatian School Museum in Zagreb, but sadly it still awaits post-earthquake reconstruction.

Additionally, its worth mentioning that the start of the new School year exposed the problem of parental pressure on teachers to give children As even when their actual knowledge does not justify the grade.

If not on any other day, hopefully, both the politics and the public may learn and decide to act on World Teachers' Day to help teachers resolve this troubling issue.

Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.

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

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Overweight Croatian Children: Every Third Child Eats Too Much

October 2, 2021 - With every third child having a weight problem, the study finds that the sheer amount of overweight Croatian children is a legitimate concern.

The Dalmatian meat specialty of Pašticada, Zagorje's Štrukli, spicy Slavonian sausages called Kulen... the list goes on and these are just some of the delicious foods Croats traditionally eat. But even outside of tradition, there are loads of contemporary food restaurants, foreign food options (Chinese, Mexican, Arab, Greek and more), not to mention many fast-food chains and even more bakeries. Basically, there's no need to worry about starving in Croatia. And that may also turn into a problem.

As Srednja.hr writes, every third child in Croatia is overweight, meaning there is now a serious concern about overweight Croatian children which needs to be tackled.

This fact was discovered during the ''European Initiative for monitoring childhood obesity in Croatia 2018/2019'' (CroCOSI), conducted by the European Office of the World Health Organisation. It's interesting to note that the research leader for Croatia was none other than Sanja Musić Milanović, the wife of the current Croatian president, Zoran Milanović.

The results of the research were presented last week at the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ). ''Around 35% of Croatian children aged 8 to 9 are overweight, and only 14% of parents are aware of that,'' writes Srednja.hr.

Looking at different regions, the lowest amount of overweight Croatian children can be found in Zagreb (29.7%). While continental Croatia has a higher percentage (36.0%), the Adriatic region holds a record-breaking number, reaching almost 37%.

Gender-wise, Croatian boys have more weight issues than girls do (17.8% / 11.9%).

While this isn't too much of a drastic rise when compared to the research from 2015/2016 (the total percentage was 34.9%), being overweight remains a big problem for Croatia which can lead to serious health risks sooner or later. These issues go deeper than personal health but also result in more pressure being placed on an already burdened healthcare system.

What's interesting, is that this weight problem is more of an issue in rural areas than it is in urban ones, even though you'd think it should be the other way around as rural areas are more in touch with nature and offer more possibilities for recreation. However, urban areas, as a study suggests, have better prevention programmes which advocate for healthy habits and lifestyles.

Additionally, the fact that only 14% of parents are aware that their child has a weight problem also shows problems in understanding of what a good diet actually is among Croats.

''The Health Ministry has recognised the weight issue as a priority area and has started with preparations for making a prevention plan for it. I believe that with the implementation of this action plan, we'll contribute in stopping this negative trend rising on a national level in the years to come,'' commented Health Minister Vili Beroš.

The problem of overweight children and fat-shaming has recently been recognised among Croatian pupils. As TCN wrote, pupils in schools are no longer measured publicly but privately. However, the combat against unhealthy habits among Croatian children for a healthier, more knowledgeable generation is still underway.

Learn more about Croatian food in our TC guide.

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

 

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Zagreb University Student Council: Lavish Expenses By President Mihovil Mioković

September 30, 2021 - The Zagreb University Student Council president Mihovil Mioković has published the expenses of the council. 700,000 kuna spent on questionable things stirred up quite the controversy.

Established on September 23, 1669, Zagreb University remains the oldest and biggest university in Croatia to this day, but sadly, it has plenty of issues with the current University Chancellor Damir Boras.

As TCN wrote earlier in March of 2021, the Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees of Croatia ousted both Boras and Vice-Chancellor Miljenko Šimpraga. The causes of that were, as the Union said, various violations of academic community principles and the laws prescribed by both Croatian University documents and Zagreb University documents.

''On a number of occasions, Boras violated the academic rights and freedoms of employees of the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as their right to elect the faculty head by rejecting the candidates recommended by the Faculty Council on three occasions,'' said the Union at the time.

As Telegram's reporter Dora Kršul, with a history of exposing foul play at the university wrote for Telegram earlier this week, the Zagreb University Student Council has its own dirt too.

Mihovil Mioković, the president of the Zagreb University Student Council (who is otherwise a student of the Faculty of Economics) and a party member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) allegedly spent 700,000 kuna from the university budget on highly questionable things. Mioković, previously noted for defending Boras's controversial decisions, published reports of the council's spending over the last two years on social media.

''Two MacBook computers, a Lenovo ThinkPad computer, countless promo T-shirts, badges, Samsung Galaxy phones, a paper shredder, communication training for the council's president (for Mioković himself), a Galko business bag and some loudspeakers are just some of the expenses the Student Council spent 700,000 kuna on. As visible from the documentation published by the council's leader, signed receipts were sent to be paid to Tonći Lazibat, the finance Vice-Chancellor and potential candidate for the new Chancellor of Zagreb University,'' wrote Telegram.

It's worth adding that Chancellor Boras has already won two terms, so he can't compete in the upcoming election in February 2022. Thus, the question of who will run for Boras's replacement remains an open question.  Mioković responded to Telegram's questions stating that these are small and justified expenses.

''I think it's much more effective to have everything seen in black and white, all of the finances, everything I signed, because these are literally small expenses, receipts totalling 100 to 150,000 kuna,'' said Mioković to Telegram.

From expensive phones to the communication training Mioković didn't even complete in the end, the biggest outrage was triggered by the Galko Business bag. Usually costing around 1,500 kuna, Mioković said he got it at a discount for 1000 kuna and added that he bought it because he didn't receive a bag along with his newly purchased laptop.

''It's a leather bag that will really serve to future generations of the student council once I return it along with the laptop. The rain can't ruin it, it's of good quality,'' said Mioković in an attempt to justify the expenses. These justifications, however, weren't really well received by the public.

From various student initiatives (the biggest one being 300=300, which mainly advocates for the equal qualification recognition of state and private universities) previously protested against the current university leaders to the student council itself.

As Večernji List reported, the unsigned thread on the Facebook page of the Zagreb University Student Council condemned Mioković's actions and called for his resignation. Additionally, Mioković left HDZ and told N1 that he was "advised“ to do so.

''I was contacted by someone on a local level, who, in my opinion, doesn't have any legitimacy nor authority. Then I contacted the HDZ youth president who advised me to leave the party and I said OK,'' Mioković said briefly for N1. He added he feels his conscience is clear and that he plans to run again for the council president despite the lack of support from HDZ.

To top it all off, as Srednja writes, the Student Council of Zagreb university also celebrated 25 years of its work this week.

''Through all the years, the goal of student representatives is to protect the rights and promote interests of students,'' wrote Srednja.hr. There can be no doubt, however, that these recent events added a bitter taste to the jubilee.

Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.

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

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Croatian Schools Do Not Offer Systematic Education About Climate Change

ZAGREB, 26 Sept, 2021 - Croatian schools still do not offer systematic education about climate change even though transition to a climate neutral economy will create more than one million jobs in the EU in the period until 2030, teachers interested in the topic of climate change have said.

Croatian students acquire most of the knowledge about climate change by participating in projects.

Sanja Turčić Padavić, a teacher at a Rijeka secondary school, says that young people are aware that the new time brings new challenges that will be easier to deal with with green skills but that school curricula make no mention of such education.

Teachers who consider the topic important find a way to include it in their work with students, but there has been no incentive from the Science and Education Ministry, Turčić Padavić says.

"I convey the knowledge I have acquired through the subject I teach. If I were not involved in projects, I would probably not know what to teach about climate change or how," she says.

A study on climate change in the EU, of which she is a coordinator and which is part of the Erasmus+ programme, will be conducted over a period of three years.

It will focus on 243 endangered animal and plant species in three countries. The focus in Croatia is on fauna and based on the study's results, an innovative plan of recovery will be proposed for each of the species.

Several Croatian schools regularly take part in a national reforestation campaign, which is designed to point to the importance of trees in mitigating climate change.

There are also other forms of education, including a workshop organised by the Tatavaka association in July, which also involved members of the Civil Protection who as part of the school curriculum, have been preparing a handbook on how to reduce disaster risks.

Italy is the first country in the world to have officially introduced education about climate change and sustainable development in the school system, owing to efforts by former Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti.

Education on climate change received a lot of public attention with the climate marches of  2019, organised by students.

A 2020 survey on climate education in Europe collected 1,101 responses, with 89% coming from education workers. Almost all agreed that school is responsible for climate education, however, 70% said climate education was insufficiently present in school curricula.

Lack of competence and training was cited as the most frequent reason why teachers could not include it in curricula, the second reason being lack of resources.

A small percentage of respondents expressed doubts as to the existence of evidence about climate change being a serious problem.

The importance of education for strengthening the European framework for green competencies has been underlined at this year's EU Green Week.

Today there are initiatives such as UNESCO's education on climate change, eTwinning, Erasmus+, the European Parliament Ambassador School Programme (EPAS), and others.

The Green Deal and the fight against climate change are among priority policies of the European Parliament and special attention will be paid to these topics through activities, seminars and programmes that are organised by the EP Office in Croatia, the Office has said.

EPAS has been implemented in Croatia since 2016 and so far more than 60 secondary schools have attended it.

The European Parliament in 2019 declared a climate crisis, calling on the European Commission to harmonise future legislative and budget proposals with the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In June this year the EP approved a new regulation on climate increasing the target reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU in the period until 2030 from 40% to at least 55%.

It also adopted a position on the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 which aims to put under protection at least 30% of land and sea in the EU.

Transition to a low-carbon economy will create more than one million jobs in the period until 2030, which requires retraining and additional training for more than 120 million Europeans in the next five years.

According to OECD data, many countries have already included topics related to environmental protection in their school curricula, however, there is still no comprehensive strategy at the EU level.

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For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

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