Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Police File Reports Against Eight Anti-Maskers in Krapinske Toplice

ZAGREB, 15 Sept, 2021 - Police in the northwestern Krapina-Zagorje County have filed misdemeanor charges against eight persons protesting outside a primary school in Krapinske Toplice against the obligation for children to wear face masks in school. 

The police have filed 26 reports and they refer to an attempt to disturb the public peace, unreported public assembly in a place where public assemblies are not allowed, refusal to wear a protective mask indoors, and refusal to show police one's ID card.

Police also reported that a child's parents were reported for offences against the Identification Card Act and the Act on the Protection of the Population against Infectious Diseases, and that the competent social welfare service had been informed accordingly.

Police said that over the past few days, several people had continued rallying outside the school in Krapinske Toplice in violation of the Public Assembly Act, which was why police presence there was required.

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


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.

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.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

BREAKING FREE NEWS: Incredible Freddie Mercury Tribute by Čakovec Students

May 20, 2021 – Brilliant Queen and Freddie Mercury Tribute by Čakovec students boldly challenges prejudice, oppression and expectations.

When people think of Čakovec in northern Croatia, usually they're not thinking of a shockingly, progressive place. But, perhaps that's just why high school students of Josip Slavenski Gymnasium decided on this move. Certainly, the graduation photo of the school's 4 E class boldly counters all expectations.

Instead of the usual fun, frivolity and throwing of hats, the students decided for their end-of-term picture to challenge, provoke and confound everyone. The result is absolutely fantastic, 'breaking free' of all conformity.

In the Freddie Mercury tribute photo, the Čakovec students are all dressed as the iconic Queen frontman, as seen in the video to the band's unforgettable 'I Want To Break Free' single. In 1984, when the song was originally released, it caused quite the controversy.

Queen and Freddie Mercury 'I Want to Break Free'

In Europe, the release was well-received, the video adored and the song went to the top of the charts. But, in the USA, it was a different story.

Queen had not considerably troubled the charts in America since their breakthrough 1970s single 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. But, in 1984, the band released in the U.S. the American version of their multi-platinum 'Greatest Hits' album. A hit! Then, they followed it with a new single, 'Radio Gaga'. Again, a hit! After over a decade of releasing music, Queen were finally on the brink of breaking the most lucrative music market in the world.

So, what did they do? For their next song, 'I Want To Break Free', the band decided to appear entirely 'in drag', as women, in the video. Although transvestitism is completely unrelated to homosexuality, perhaps the least intelligent members of society presumed this to be the idea of the band's singer, Freddie Mercury, who was gay. Not so. The idea for the video actually came from Queen drummer Roger Taylor.

American music television simply didn't understand the video. They refused to screen it. When they did, American audiences were either mystified or horrified. Well, this is a country that once elected Donald Trump for president. The response to this brilliant Freddie Mercury Tribute photo from the students of Čakovec might be comparable, in the least progressive sections of society. You know, the places where people still point to the sky when a plane passes. Or where the music of Queen is considered 'new'. As, perhaps, is electricity.

4 E Josip Slavenski Gymnasium, Čakovec, Freddie Mercury tribute

And yet, with this outrageous Freddie Mercury Tribute, these Čakovec students have proved themselves to be the best of the future generation. Bold, confrontational, committed and outright funny. In the Freddie Mercury tribute, they stand in front of the banner for the Festival of Alternative Čakovec. It's a deliberately inclusive event, intended to draw all sections of society. Anyone challenging their sense of fun must simply be regarded as the most miserable, moany and backward of all among us.

Just as the band Queen confounded some with their 1984 release, so too today will these Čakovec students with their Freddie Mercury Tribute. Luckily, there are many more young progressive people in Čakovec and Croatia - and Queen fans - than there are miserable, moany voices. Bravo class 4 E Josip Slavenski Gymnasium, Čakovec!

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Croatian Mathematical Society (HMD) Has a New President, Dr. Vesna Županović

May 20, 2021 - Earlier in May, the Croatian Mathematical Society (HMD) elected a new president, Dr. Vesna Županović.

As Vedran Pavlić wrote for TCN back in 2016, Croatian students were then better in math than in 2011. Fantastic results were also accomplished in 2018 when Croatian students scored medals at the mathematical olympiad. Good results didn't go amiss in 2020, and initiatives for promoting science (such as the one of the Local History Museum in the central town of Ogulin that introduced kindergarten kids with quantum physics), appear all over the country.

Scientists do have their own professional associations, representing them and with more engaging, less engaging, with bigger, or smaller success, work on the promotion of their respective fields. Mathematicians are no exception, and it's worth noting that the Croatian Mathematical Society (HMD) recently has a new president, Dr. Vesna Županović. Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) at the University of Zagreb reported on its website, an online assembly of HMD voted that Županović be the new president on May 14, replacing dr. Hrvoje Kraljević was the president for the past 14 years.


Vesna Županović, screenshot / Treći element

Apart from her new function, Županović is the professor at FER's department for applied mathematics.

Being the faculty that expects excellent mathematical knowledge, FER is quite happy with this decision of HMD, and they also explained the importance of the aforementioned society.

„HMD goal is to enhance and promote mathematical sciences, math education on all levels, math applying in other fields, as well as enhancing the social status of mathematicians in general“, said FER on their website while congratulating. Županović on being elected.

They added that HMD has five departments: education, scientific, engineering, professional, and student department, along with a youth section that gathers pupils on lower levels of the education system. Publishing scientific and professional magazines and books on math is in the domain of the organization too.

Before being president, Dr. Županović was the Head of the Engineering department on HMD. Born in Split in 1965, she graduated from Mathematical Gymnasium in Split and went on to Zagreb to study math at the Faculty of Science (PMF), University of Zagreb. Her competence in math includes Nonlinear equations, Bifurcation, Fractals, Limit-cycles, Nonlinear dynamical systems, and Spirals.

Croatian Mathematical Society stated on its website that they are organizing conferences, math competitions, participation in math Olympics and other international contests, summer schools, and more.

In 1994, HMD also started a Mathematical Foundation For Science with a goal to award young scientists for their contribution. The receiver of the award can't be more than 35 years old, and concluding with 2015; five awards have been given in total since the first award in 1996.

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.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Following Lockdown, Changes Coming to Croatian Schools as of Autumn

Lockdown saw Croatian schools across the country bolt their doors and kids took to online ''distance'' learning at home, but as things gradually return to some sort of normality, or the ''new normal'' as it has become known, there are some changes in the works for Croatian schools on the horizon...

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of August, 2020, Minister Fuchs sent an amendment to the Ordinance on the manner and procedure of determining the conditions for the beginning of the school year for public discussion.

In all two-shift schools, which is the norm in the Croatian compulsary education system, the school hour could well be shortened from 45 to 40 minutes, as 24sata unofficially found out.

This will provide the necessary time between those two shifts for disinfection to be carried out and for the cleaning of the school premises and classrooms. Among other epidemiological measures that need to be in place in order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, these shifts in Croatian schools will serve to maintain distance between groups of students.

The competent ministry says that they are satisfied with the proposals from the City of Zagreb so far, but the principals of the schools that will accept the return of students still have many questions hanging above their heads. From what exactly the limitations of the number of students per one class will be, to how the issue of teachers who will naturally have their health endangered by the move will be solved. Thinking ahead, questions about their replacements when and if an epidemic breaks out are also necessary to ask.

As stated, last week on Thursday, Minister Fuchs sent an amendment for public discussion to the Ordinance on the manner and procedure of determining the conditions for the beginning of the school year. A part of the rulebook is being changed, according to which the expert commission belonging to the competent ministry should check whether there is a school that students from another school might go to, and provide that school with a work permit.

According to the proposed amendment, "a decision approving the continuation of work in [these] changed conditions may be issued by the Minister without prior appointment and the direct inspection of the expert commission".

For more on Croatian schools, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Why Are Croatian Teachers Striking? Most Important Questions Answered

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely heard that Croatian teachers are striking. While the reasons for that might seem obvious to some, there has been quite a considerable amount of misunderstanding as to exactly why this is taking place, or how it managed to reach the levels it has in the first place. Here are the most important questions about the Croatian teachers' strike - answered.

As Jutarnji/Marijana Cvrtila writes on the 21st of November, 2019, the strike of Croatian education employees has been going on for a while now, and the Croatian Government's obvious aversion to addressing numerous enormous issues that have been threatening this has been going on for a very long time.

Why did the education unions go on strike?

Due to the long-standing government neglect of the sector in which 68,000 Croatian primary and secondary school staff (and not only Croatian teachers) are seeing far smaller salaries than those employed in other types of public service take home every month.

More precisely, the coefficients of employees in education, according to union calculations, are about 6.11 percent lower than the coefficients of other public servants in the field of healthcare, social care, higher education, culture, etc., who work in jobs of a similar complexity of work.

What are education unions on strike seeking?

They are seeking an increase in the coefficients of all employees in the education system through the amendment of the coefficients regulation, which would increase their salaries by an average of 600 kuna gross, or 300 kuna net. Unions have so far indicated that they are ready to negotiate a payout dynamic, that is, they would accept the possibility of offsetting this coefficient over time, for example, to increase the coefficient by three percent immediately and another three percent early next year, or by some similar sort of model.

What is the Croatian Government offering as a solution to this issue?

The Croatian Government has been altering its offers to the unions so far, but none of them put on the table to date have aimed for a coefficient increase in the humble amount requested. In the conciliation process in early October, the government offered the unions the introduction of a special education allowance of four percent under the 2 + 2 model, the first part of which would be paid as early as October the 1st of this year and the second part (of two percent) from June the 1st next year.

When the unions refused that offer, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced a 6.12 percent increase in the base pay for all public and civil service employees from next year (education, healthcare, social care, culture, police, customs, government offices and ministries, etc.). and subsequently, educators were offered a two percent increase in their coefficients after the 30th of June next year if the government failed, in the meantime, to correct the regulation on coefficients in public services. With its latest offer, the government has turned that coefficient increase into a two percent increase since the same date, which was interpreted by the unions as an even worse offer, since such an increase would ultimately result in a smaller increase than the coefficient.

Why don't school unions want to accept the government's offer?

First of all, because for the growth of education employee coefficients of 6.11 percent, the state needs to allocate just over 400 million kuna annually, and the government has repeatedly insisted that they simply can't provide this amount. At the same time, they've announced a 6.12 percent increase for around 240,000 public and civil servants from next year on, which will cost the state budget about 1.7 billion kuna in total.

In addition, the growth of the base pay for education employees is not the same as the growth of coefficients because it doesn't eliminate the wage gap currently seen between education staff and those employed in other public services, it actually only deepens it.

How much does a working day for employees in education cost the state, or how much does the state actually lose if ''strike days'' are paid and the teachers aren't working?

According to the Ministry of Science and Education, the total gross daily cost for education employees costs the state about 30 million kuna, so that's the amount that is "lost" if all 68,000 education employees are on strike and have been paid during that strike. Croatian teachers' daily wages are on average 315 kuna.

Until when can the strike last?

The unions say that the strike will continue until the requirement for coefficient growth of 6.11 percent is properly fulfilled. As things currently stand, every school has been without teaching for over a week now, and the Ministry of Education proposes to compensate for this on Saturdays, by shortening the holidays or even by extending the school year.

It seems that each school will have to decide what they're going to do to balance things out on their own, and in some areas they have announced that this decision should be taken at the level of counties and cities, taking into account the staff members and how much time they spent on strike.

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

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Kids from Croatia, Norway, Turkey and Romania Against Plastic Pollution

September the 10th, 2019 - Earlier this year, a small school from Baranja, the Popovac primary school, hosted 24 students and 8 teachers from Norway, Romania and Turkey as part of the international Erasmus+ project, ''Kids Against Plastic Pollution''.

Their days were filled with many activities and they did so much great work, but still had time to gather together and have a lot of fun. During the workshops, the students were very creative. By using recycled plastic
materials they made jewellery, fashion items, toys, pots for flowers, furniture for the school library and even bird houses. Cotton bags, made from recycled old sheets, were painted with eco-motifs and inspiring messages.

Liliana Solomon, a young educator from New York, taught the students about the importance of activism and shared her experiences from the USA. To bring their newfound knowledge into the real world, the Croatian students and their guests organised a silent march in Osijek where they warned the public about the huge problem of plastic bags and single use plastics. The media interest was high, and the student’s voices were heard far and wide, reaching long past this Drava river city.

The Baranja city of Beli Manastir hosted the “Plastic Horizont” exhibition, which featured the student’s photos. Their art highlighted the huge problem of plastic pollution not only in Croatia, but also in Norway’s fjords, in the Danube Delta in Romania, and and in the biggest Turkish summer resort in Antalya.

During their day-long trip to Zagreb, the students and their teachers admired the beauty of the Croatian capital city and had fun in the Museum of Illusions. Thanks to Petra Andrić from Greenpeace Croatia, the students learned about the problem of microplastic, which makes up 80 percent of all of the trash in the Mediterranean sea.

The students attended workshops where they used microscopes to analyse water samples from each country in the project, showing the problem of polluted water each place has. Afterwards, the pupils discussed the issue and suggested solutions for how each of them could solve this huge environmental problem in their own local communities. No stone was left unturned as all the students participated and lent their thoughts to the issue at hand.

An eighth grade Croatian student, Lana Herceg, said these are five days she'll never forget. She added: ''So many cultures and customs from different countries was great to see in a small village like Popovac. We really connected in such a short time and formed some great friendships. I only wish it could last much longer. I'm really happy that we all have opened our eyes to plastic pollution and I truly wish others would realise how huge this eco problem is,''

''This first meeting between pupils from Norway, Romania, Turkey and Croatia fills us with a lot of hope for the future. The pupils did excellent work and were engaged in the workshops and discussions that happened during the week in Popovac. The problems related to plastic are vast, but the engagement and enthusiasm of these pupils shows that a solution can be found,'' said one of the teachers from Norway, Maren Christine Fredriksen.

Lastly, the students planted a tree of friendship in the school's yard as a nice reminder that they all have decided to choose the planet instead of plastic.

Next week, six students from Baranja are travelling to Romania where they will meet again with other kids and keep working on this important project.

Follow Kids Against Plastic Pollution on Facebook here, and on Instagram here.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more. If you're interested in how Croatia protects its environment, give Total Eco Croatia a follow.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Croatian Schools Adjust to Labour Market Needs with New Programs

Students from numerous Croatian schools up and down the country will be offered the chance to be trained for positions which are more in line with the current needs of the Croatian labour market.

In seventeen Croatian counties, students enrolling in this year's summer program will be given the option to take their education in a more practical direction in an attempt to aid the ailing Croatian economy, currently burdened with a demographic crisis, the main symptom of which is a lack of an appropriately qualified workforce.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/VLM writes on the 21st of June, 2019, what this involves is vocational interests that have never before been taught in these schools. In various secondary schools, each county has opened up new subjects by predicting the number of interested students who could enroll and start their education for occupations needed on the Croatian labour market.

Owing to the move, at the beginning of the new school year at the Prelog secondary school in Međimurje County, seven future brewers will be educated, and in a similar school in Čakovec, twenty places for budding interior decorators and ten places for shoe modellers and those who deal with leather garments will be opened.

Future high school students of a school located in Križevci will be able to, among other things, enroll to study to be computer technicians, a new class will be opened at a school in Koprivnica, where future technicians will be trained for electrical machines with applied computing, and in Đurđevac, education for potential future pedicurists will be made available.

In another Zadar school, students will be able to study to become CNC operators from autumn onwards, while in nearby Benkovac, the plans are to educate fourteen glassmasters and six chimney sweeps. In Croatia's southernmost county, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, they have decided to offer the opportunity for future high school students to be educated as hairdressers and beauticians, according to the Croatian Ministry of Education.

Zagreb high school students will be able to enroll in a language school which will be formed in one class in which there will be places for 26 students.

In Ludbreg this autumn, six students will have the opportunity to enroll in studying to become home appliance installers and six places will be available to learn the ropes of baking and the type of work in bakeries. In Vukovar-Srijem County, new courses are open to three schools, one will teach future auxiliary chefs and confectioners, there will be 22 places for the education of future hotel and tourism technicians, and budding auxiliary administrators will also have the chance to educated.

A new class will be opened at a school in Sisak where 24 future technicians will be educated for the development of video games, and in Velika Gorica near Zagreb, there will be a new class of mechatronics technicians starting this autumn.

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