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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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.


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Best Faculty at Zagreb University: Faculty of Agriculture Scores Highest in NTU Ranking

May 11, 2021 -The oldest university in Croatia is the one in Zagreb, and the best faculty at Zagreb University is the Faculty of Agriculture, according to the NTU global ranking of 800 universities worldwide.

The quality of Zagreb University, according to the global NTU ranking conducted by the National Taiwan University, is in decline. On the list of 800 Universities worldwide, Zagreb University was ranked 478th best in the world, and in recent years it was levitating between 551st and 600th place. But, as reports, the overall decline of quality has an exception on that list, and it's thanks to the Faculty of Agriculture.

The Faculty is ranked to be the best at Zagreb University, and the area of agriculture on the global list is ranked between 301st and 350th place. That is the ranking of the area, but also under the criteria of research interest, the ranking is even better, 87th place, thus making it the only thing at Zagreb University to be in the top 100 on the list.

„Even though it's the oldest human occupation, agriculture today is light years away from what our grandparents know. Agriculture is part of the STEM area (‘science, technology, engineering & mathematics), and it's actually highly technological. There are several reasons why this sector so is fastly modernized. For starters, the production of food and raw ingredients to produce food is the most important human activity that will always have demand. To keep up the step with the increasing number of population, less and less arable surfaced and the increasing living standards, agriculture had to modernize significantly, and introduce newest technologies“, writes

cows_Sveučilište_u_Zagrebu_Agronomski_fakultet.jpg© Sveučilište u Zagrebu Agronomski fakultet

The Agriculture Faculty in Zagreb was founded in 1919. As the Faculty's official website reports, they have over 450 employees today who are highly motivated to pass their knowledge to around 2,500 students, which they consider their greatest value that they add to society.

„By connecting with foreign universities, both from Europe and worldwide, we have international cooperation in both teaching and scientific research area, and student mobility. Successful participation in bilateral and multilateral research programs, exchanges of students, young scientists, and university lecturers, as well as securing scholarships contribute to the visibility and recognition of the Faculty on all levels“, says the Agriculture Faculty.

The Faculty's personnel annually publishes 280 scientific papers, and in the last decade, 160 active research projects are ongoing with 75% of investments coming from domestic sources and the rest from international ones. Scholarships supports, and rewards for the best students are secured through the trust fund the Faculty has.

„It's less known that the Agriculture Faculty is declared a Scientific Centre of Excellence CroP-BioDiv (for biodiversity and molecular plant breeding). It is one of the 10 scientific centers in the STEM area declared in the Republic of Croatia. CroP-BioDiv is a research network of top scientists from all over Croatia directed to the transmission of highly sophisticated knowledge and technologies“, writes Faculty's website concluding their institution is directed towards future with sustainability, quality, research encouragement, scientific excellence, and cooperation with the Croatian economy, as key strategic goals.

As Zagreb is a popular ERASMUS destination among European students because of cheap drinks, rich and vibrant party scene, The Agriculture Faculty shows that apart from partying, the Croatian capital is a place to get some actual learning done. And on a pretty high standard no less, at least when it comes to agriculture which serves as a role model to the rest of the poorly ranked University.

Agriculture is about food, and you can learn more about Croatian food (specifically, vegan and vegetarian options) on our TC page

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

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Croatia Has €28 Million at Its Disposal in Erasmus+ Programme

ZAGREB, 27 March 2021 - Croatian Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Friday that more than €28 million had been made available to Croatia as part of the Erasmus+ programme in the first programme year.

Fuchs made the statement at a video conference at which the new generation of the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programme for the period 2021-2027 was presented.

The minister said an increase in the annual budget is expected, recalling the last seven years of successful implementation of Erasmus+ in Croatia.

"More than 120,000 citizens from all age groups participated in project activities, from those in pre-school institutions, primary and secondary schools, student dormitories and polytechnics to museums, libraries, and organizations working with young people as well as many others, 1,565 in total," said the minister.

Of the 112,000 participants, as many as 57,000 took part in mobility projects abroad.

"During the past seven-year period, more than 2,800 Erasmus+ projects were agreed, and Croatia had more than €160 million in EU grants to co-finance them. It signed contracts for an impressive 99% of the available funding," said Fuchs.

The Erasmus+ programme is the biggest EU programme for education, training, youth, and sport. It enables the acquisition of new knowledge, experience, and skills for all age groups - from kindergarten children to older age groups.

Thanks to an almost doubled budget, the new Erasmus+ programme will be aligned with the digital and green transition, and it also aims to increase participation for those with fewer opportunities.

The new programme will play a key role in creating a European Education Area in the period until 2025 and in the further promotion of the sector of education and training, youth and sport. A European student card will be a key contribution to simplifying, facilitating, and encouraging student mobility in Europe. The programme will also support leading initiatives such as the European Universities Initiative, the Erasmus teacher academy, and vocational excellence centers.

The programme also provides great opportunities for young people, including volunteering in Croatia and abroad. The next seven years will enable the European Solidarity Corps programme, which promotes solidarity and unity.

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 17 February 2020

How Croatian Youth Can Change Lives and Shape Minds with Erasmus+ Projects

 February 17, 2020 - There are many opportunities for young Croatians to broaden their horizons, which are not being fully utilised. A look at Erasmus +.

Even though Croatia has been part of the European Union for almost seven years, many of its citizens have yet to realize the full potential of all the programs the EU has in store for us. The young are probably familiar with the Erasmus+, which is organized between Universities and which allows them to spend the semester or a year abroad. The problem with many Faculties in Croatia is that it gives very limited options to its students when it comes to subsidizing their subjects, and most of them, in the end, decide not to go. The reason behind it is that they would probably have to redo the year at their home University.

But, there is an option for students with the limited time that would like to experience traveling abroad, exchanging cultural similarities and differences with their peers, and still learn something new and useful. It's called the Erasmus+ project, and it seems to be taking Europe by storm. The same cannot be said for Croatia, though, where there are not as many NGOs that are actively working on connecting the youth with the projects offered.

Let's start with the introduction and explanation of what an Erasmus+ project is. It is part of the larger, Erasmus+ program comprised of various plans related to education, training, youth, and sports. At the beginning of the decade, the European Commission was trying to find the solution to the growing problem of unemployment, particularly among young people. Their way of combating the challenge was to ensure that the young are getting skills that are not only explicitly related to their University education but rather will endure through all the hardships of the future.

One of the hardships Europe dealt with from 2014 onwards was the influx of migrants coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and, by creating this chain of projects, they managed to raise the youth that is more understanding and has a higher sense of belonging to a community no matter how much that community differs from the one they were raised in. Other than that, the goal was to raise the youth willing to fight for what they stand for, and that is courageous enough to participate in society and the creation of democratic Europe actively.

They managed to do it by creating a well-organized education and training system which provided people with skills required by the labour market and the economy of the 21st century, pushing them to play an active role in society and, in the end, achieving personal fulfillment. Its first round started in 2014 and was supposed to end by the end of this year but will instead be extended for another seven years. All the projects were funded from the European Commission budget. The 14.7 million euros were used to pay for the accommodation and food for the participants as well as people in charge of the project, and realization of the project itself. The new round is projected to cost the European Commission more than 3 billion euros.

Fortunately enough, there are groups of people in Croatia that are using their own private time and resources in order to notify the youth of all the projects. One of them is Mateo Papić, co-founder and president of the NGO Institute of Youth Power Croatia, which was established in February of 2018. People that helped start it were Karla Silic, Dea Botica, and Leo Bartolec.

When asked how he came up with the idea of founding a non-government organization whose purpose will be to connect young Croatians with passion for previously mentioned causes and Erasmus+, Mateo was quick to answer.

"I had been on a few projects with the informal youth group from 2016 to 2018, and in the beginning, it was all about fun and getting experience from various people all around Europe. Somewhere around the end of 2017, a friend of mine, Leo, asked me to take the leadership of the informal group, and I took a challenge upon myself. Even though there were some difficulties in the beginning, few people decided to drop out, and in the end, it was all left on my shoulders, near the end of 2018, the NGO really kicked off. The Institut of Youth Power Croatia was born."

In the meantime, Mateo used all of his free time to participate in projects, learn about the Erasmus+ itself and meet a lot of people from all sides of Europe. He used that experience to connect with various other organizations, and that is how other members of IYP started participating in projects.

When it comes to explaining why his peers are not following his lead, he says Croatians don't have a mentality of going to projects and then, upon return, promoting it to their friend as something educational. Instead, most Croatians are focused on the destination and the fact that Erasmus+ projects are also famous for their parties.

"One of the key reasons I was eager to start working on developing the organization even further is the fact that it gives a fantastic platform for all the participants. One of the policies we have in our organization is that every participant has to write an honest review of the project. Then we promote it through our social media, and more people see how amazing it is to participate. "

Another problem is the lack of understanding from high-school and college professors when it comes to absences students collect during the time of the project. Once teachers become more lenient, and students realize that it is better to spend an absence on the project than on a coffee with a friend, the Erasmus+ projects will see more Croatians actively participating.

"Last year alone, we send over 150 people on projects and seminars. Seminars are great for people who want to write their own project and create an even more significant impact on the European community."

In the end, Mateo talked about some of his goals and how he sees himself in the next few years.

"There have been some rumors which suggest organizers of the NGOs might be getting paid in the next phase, starting from 2021. That would give us an amazing head start and could be helpful when trying to construct some projects for the participants to come to us. Just last week we submitted an application for five projects with our partners and friends from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia and Bulgaria. We really hope some of them might get selected. That would put our organization on the map with other successful organizations in Europe. Our motto is always striving for the best and highest goals and not giving up until we get there. This can be achieved only happen if every single one of us thinks for themselves and decides what they deem necessary enough to put all the effort into."

Whether it is due to meeting new people from different parts of Europe and, thus, often entirely new cultures, working on oneself and contemporary skills, or just free traveling, one thing is for sure, those that go and experience an Erasmus+ projects, fall in love with it entirely.

The motto of the Erasmus+ is changing lives and shaping minds. It perfectly illustrates all the benefits of participating. If you want to join and learn about yourself as well as about different European cultures and also have fun on the way, check the new webpage Institut of Youth Power Croatia and change your life.

And if you want to know more about the Erasmus+ guidelines and program guide, you can check out their official webpage.



Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Croatia Welcomes Increased Funding for Erasmus Student Exchange Programme

ZAGREB, November 26, 2018 - Croatia welcomes the European Commission's proposal to double the amount of funding for the Erasmus student exchange programme in the next Multiannual Financial Framework for the 2021-2027 period, Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak said in Brussels on Monday.

"That is a very important programme for us, not only because of mobility, but also because of reforms in the area of education," Divjak told reporters before a meeting of the Education Council.

The Commission has recommended in the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework that funding for the Erasmus+ programme be increased from the present 14.7 billion euro to 30 billion euro in the next seven-year period.

The EU education ministers also discussed automatic mutual recognition of higher education and upper secondary education diplomas.

Before the Education Council meeting, Divjak met with the EU director-general for education, sport and culture, the education ministers of Germany and Finland, and Romania's state secretary for education to discuss the presidency of the Council of the EU. These countries will hold the EU rotating presidency over the next two years; Croatia is due to assume the EU presidency in the first half of 2020.

During a working lunch, the ministers also discussed prevention of anti-Semitism in education systems.

Divjak said that in the new history curriculum in Croatia only two topics were obligatory: the 1991-1995 Homeland War and the Holocaust.

"It is very important that these are obligatory topics, and it is even more important that we have cross-subject topics, for example in civic education which enables critical consideration of major topics, not just those relating to history but also those having a great impact on society today. In this regard, I have pointed out that we must find a way, not just as the state, but also as the EU, to fight against fake news being spread via social media, to which young people are very much exposed today. We must ensure an appropriate and secure environment for discussion on these topics, not just with students but with parents as well," the minister said.

For more on Croatia’s education system, click here.