Thursday, 24 February 2022

Protective Masks No Longer Mandatory In Classrooms

ZAGREB, 24 Feb 2022 - Education Minister Radovan Fuchs on Thursday said that students and teachers would no longer be required to wear masks during lessons as of Monday and that restrictions related to excursions and outdoor lessons would be relaxed.

"As we announced, as of next week masks will no longer be required during classes," Minister Fuchs told reporters after the cabinet meeting, adding that the decision was coordinated with the Croatian Public Health Institute and epidemiologists.

Masks will still be required in public transport and hallways in schools.

Wearing protective masks will no longer be mandatory for teachers, many of whom are vaccinated and who are also tested for coronavirus.

This decision comes after implementing self-testing of students, the minister underscored. In the first week of self-testing, almost 2,000 asymptomatic positive cases were identified and now there is barely some twenty-odd.

Self-testing of students will continue but there won't be any self-isolation, he said.

Instructions will be published today or tomorrow, said Fuchs, adding that measures regarding excursions and outdoor lessons will be relaxed.

He added that children can continue to wear masks if their parents wish them to and also it is recommended that children with underlying conditions should continue to wear masks.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated sectionand select your preferred language if it isn't English

Friday, 11 February 2022

Croatian Schoolchildren Offer Interesting Entrepreneurial Ideas

February the 11th, 2022 - Croatian schoolchildren are being offered ways in which to develop and then showcase their entrepreneurial talents, and it's been paying off. Croatian schoolchildren, more specifically those from down in Dubrovnik-Neretva County and Split-Dalmatia County, have a lot to boast about.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, ten teams of young people from primary and secondary schools who want to initiate positive changes in their local communities participated in the first UPSHIFT workshop this weekend in Split-Dalmatia and Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

The three teams of Croatian schoolchildren won cash prizes in the amount of 7,500 kuna and mentoring support during the project implementation by the decision of the expert jury. A total of 35 students participated in teams of three to five students. The winners of the UPSHIFT workshop in the Split-Dalmatia and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties are:

Team 4: Josipa O., Lucija R. and Josipa B. from the Commercial and Trade School in Split, which will focus on educating young people about sex education.

Team 6: Petra S., Karmela K., Vanja S. and Sasha S. from the Vladimir Nazor Elementary School in Ploce, whose project will conduct workshops for the production of didactic subjects intended for children in need.

Team 8: Lovre K., Lana M. and Danijela K. from the Radic Brothers Elementary School in Bracevic, who will try to solve the challenge of the lack of a library in the regional school with the project.

So far, 19 counties have participated

To date, more than 300 Croatian schoolchildren have participated in the UPSHIFT programme across 19 Croatian counties, who have gathered in teams to develop 70 solutions, of which 34 received financial and mentoring support for further implementation. By participating in the programme, young people aged 13 to 19 created solutions to challenges in the fields of ecology and environmental protection, education, inclusion and the fight against discrimination, the quality of life of young people, and many other topics important to young people.

UPSHIFT is a three-day workshop that combines entrepreneurial and team spirit, innovation and practical knowledge, and mentoring support to address the challenges that young people face in their local communities. In order to participate in the workshop, young people gather in teams of three to five members and describe in the application the problems they want to solve. The programme is jointly implemented by the UNICEF Office for Croatia and HUKI within the UNICEF Youth Program me"ZABUM - for the future of youth".

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

How Much Will Covid Tests for Croatian Schoolchildren Cost?

February the 6th, 2022 - Croatian schoolchildren will not need to begin having tests at home before arriving at their school premises for another week. It seems that the pricing information has also come in, which has been eagerly awaited by parents.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Directorate for Commodity Stocks has decided to purchase a massive three million rapid antigen tests for the at home testing of Croatian schoolchildren at a price of 6.95 kuna + VAT, as reported by Media servis.

On top of the pricing for the tests intended for Croatian schoolchildren, all of the necessary delivery dynamics have also been agreed and the first tranche of one million rapid antigen tests will be delivered by the 9th of this month at the very latest, and the rest within a period no longer than fourteen days.

Minister of Science and Education Radovan Fuchs said on Thursday that the at home testing of Croatian schoolchildren will begin when the Directorate of Commodity Stocks actually physically delivers the tests to the country's schools, and will be conducted in three phases, after which he hopes the need for them at all will disappear, writes tportal.

On Mondays, parents of Croatian schoolchildren will test their children for the presence of the novel coronavirus, and if a positive case occurs in the classroom, the test will be repeated and students who are negative can continue to go to school.

''We're going to be basing this on trust and assume that parents won't try to cheat the system to suit their liking, because the meaning of this measure is to keep as many children in their classrooms as possible,'' said Fuchs, adding that entire classes "dropped out" of their classrooms just because several students had tested positive.

Testing will be conducted for one month, and if everything goes as we imagined, we will move on to testing only in classes where a positive student appears.

The third step is the total abolition of such testing, Fuchs said, and expressed hope that the planned timetable could be realised, and that in the end it will be possible to abolish the wearing of masks as well.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Croatian Children to Take Covid Tests Before School on Mondays

January the 27th, 2022 - All Croatian children currently in the education system will need to be tested for the presence of coronavirus before entering their school buildings on Mondays.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the testing of Croatian children before they head into their classrooms would be done with rapid antigen tests, on Mondays, when still at home, and this new move should begin in about ten days. This is to address the problem of a growing number of Croatian children being placed in self-isolation.

An increasing number of those infected are causing problems for the functioning of the country's schools as well. An increasing number of entire classes of children are ending up in isolation, and no one is satisfied with online teaching. Decisions about self-isolation are made literally from class to class, which is why some children have been in self-isolation more than once and weren't even unwell. As an alternative, it is suggested that Croatian children are tested for the presence of the novel coronavirus every week with rapid antigen tests so that they don't have to self-isolate.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic also spoke about this new measure for schools.

“Every bad thing also brings something good with it, and that good thing is that we can see the healthcare system is managing and working. Wanting to have as many children in the classrooms as possible, I think that such a solution, where they'd be tested, would be appropriate,'' said the Prime Minister.

They say the same in the competent Ministry, where they unofficially confirmed that the models and possibilities of applying testing are now being actively discussed. The goal is to abolish self-isolation completely, which is being worked on in other European countries such as Belgium and the United Kingdom. The way to get to that, they say, is with testing.

"It's in everyone's interest to return all Croatian children from self-isolation to school in their normal classrooms as soon as possible. That's the main goal,'' they explained from the Ministry, 24sata reports.

The testing of Croatian children could begin in about ten days, and only those students who are actually infected should be put into self-isolation, Nova TV has learned.

Schools now need to be equipped with tests, and around 30,000 students across the Republic of Croatia are currently in self-isolation. In the C model, there are 255 primary and secondary schools with complete online teaching, mostly located in Osijek-Baranja County.

“It would be done in such a way that these tests would be distributed to students and their parents. For example, on Mondays, before they go to school, their condition is checked quickly. All those who would be negative, would not automatically go into self-isolation, but would remain in the classroom as negative,'' explained Davor Bozinovic.

According to these new rules, vaccinated Croatian children won't have to go into self-isolation at all, nor will those who caught COVID-19 and recovered and were vaccinated in one dose, regardless of when they were vaccinated. More than 60,000 children are currently vaccinated in Croatia.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Istrian Town Holds Record For Number of Primary School Students

November the 15th, 2021 - One Istrian town has set the record for the most primary school children in the Republic of Croatia in spite of the demographic crisis which has plagued Croatia for many years now.

As Morski writes, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), last year, almost two thousand fewer students were enrolled in primary schools across the country's cities than were enrolled back in 2019 - 225,789 students, and the year before that there 227,547 students. For this school year, the CBS hasn't yet published the data, but according to what can be seen from the eRudnik application, the number of students has again been reduced by about 2,000. Over the past eight years, only the City of Zagreb and Istria County have had an increase in the number of students, and last year only 38 cities recorded a positive trend, as reported by the portal mayor.hr/gradonacelnik.hr

With an increase of 36 students in the school year 2020/2021. Compared to the year before, Poreč is the leading city in Croatia in terms of the number of enrolled primary school students, which is an increase of 2.81 percent compared to the year before.

Today, the popular Istrian town of Porec is one of only a few cities in the entire country that can boast of positive demographic trends - from 2018 until today, the number of students in primary schools in that particular Istrian town has increased from 1538 to 1635 students. Porec responded to such positive demographic movements in a timely manner with investments, in order to provide all of Porec's children with a proper high quality education. From 2017 until today, two new primary schools have been built for a total of 700 students, along with additional halls and all other necessary infrastructure. Thanks to these investments, all children from this Istrian town attend their classes in one morning shift.

In order for Porec to remain a desirable place to live, grow up and gain a good education, the City of Porec awards the largest scholarships in the country for their students, co-finances the purchase of textbooks and other educational materials for students, co-finances primary school programmes above the typical standard with more than six million kuna per year, co-finances the transport of students studying in secondary schools in Porec and neighbouring areas for about 180 students, encourages learning Italian in Porec's secondary schools by financing teachers' salaries, and additionally provides funds for salaries to assistants in schools for students with disabilities.

On top of all of the above, this Istrian town co-finances the activities of the Centre for Community Services, which has an array of programmes aimed at children, families, the elderly and particularly vulnerable groups of people with with the aim of providing psychosocial and health support, as well as numerous other social assistance and support measures and additional measures for single-parent families.

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

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Croatian Public Health Institute: Quarantine Shortened, New Rules for Students

October the 2nd, 2021 - The Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) has published a set of new recommendations on its website, in which quarantine periods have been shortened and there have been some new rules made for school children.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the duration of quarantine has now been shortened from 14 back down to 10 days again, and a new recommendation for Croatian students has been introduced. They must now be tested for the novel coronavirus after each absence from school before returning back to class.

Here are the new Croatian Public Health Institute recommendations in full:

- The duration of quarantine for close contacts of patients has been reduced to ten days

- Exemption from the need for testing for persons who have recovered from coronavirus or have been fully vaccinated and who have no symptoms of the disease and have not been in close contact with an infected person has been extended to twelve months

- Healthcare professionals and staff in other institutions who come into contact with vulnerable individuals (groups) who aren't subject to quarantine must be tested by PCR immediately after having close contact with the infected person, on the seventh day after contact and on the fourteenth day after contact, regardless of their vaccination status and whether or not they have previously recovered from an infection.

- Emphasis is now being placed on the need to confirm each rapid antigen test result by PCR test, for administrative reasons, ie obtaining a digital covid confirmation, which does not mean that a positive result of a rapid antigen test isn't considered sufficient to treat a person with COVID-19 in terms of putting them into isolation and processing their contacts.

- A PCR test is recommended as the first choice of diagnostic test if the testing capacities and the specificity of the situation allow for this testing method to be used.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

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.

 

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Croatian Teachers Under Pressure: Angry Parents Behind Straight A Pupil Epidemic?

September 8, 2021 - The flood of straight-A pupils in Croatian elementary schools sadly isn't a sign of brilliance but of Croatian teachers being put under pressure by parents who want their kids to go to the best high schools in the country. The newly launched Facebook group wants to get to the bottom of fake A's, offering Croatian teachers a place for anonymous confessions.

Parents naturally want their best for their children and want to see them succeed and have the best life possible. The smarter the child, the better things will be for them, many would conclude. If a child is like that middle child from the show ''Malcolm in the Middle'', bright enough to be the master of everything you throw at him, be it maths, language, physics, or history, he should be able to sail through life worry-free, right? Well, maybe.

In reality, such gifted individuals, if actually real, are truly rare. However, you wouldn't think that if you were to see the grades of some Croatian pupils, with a large number of them getting straight A's. Unfortunately, this is a distorted picture of reality.

''I teach the youngest kids, and the criteria is owed to the parental pressure. I'm there just to hand out A's. Nothing else is good enough. I was even reported to the inspection because I gave one pupil a B (she was a C, but I knew there would be a problem so I gave her a B, and then chaos began). I justified giving her that grade for weeks with the threat of inspections hanging over my head. The grades are perfect, the knowledge not so much, the kid and their parents are happy, and the teachers crapped all over,'' reads a thread from one of the increasingly pressured Croatian teachers on the recently launched Facebook group ''Why Does it Itch When it's Not 5.0?'' (Zašto žulja kad nije 5.0?).

teacher_thread_fb_group.jpg

FB thread translated above, screenshot / Zašto žulja kad nije 5.0?

The flood of straight-A students (or, in Croatian terms, those kids with an average of 5.0, meaning they passed all subjects with a 5, Croatian for A), has been sporadically addressed in the Croatian media over the past few months as elementary school pupils were heading off to their high schools. So many straight A pupils have their results rated as unrealistic and the parental pressure placed on Croatian teachers and professors is seen as what's to blame.

A grades given as a gift and not as a true measure of a child's knowledge was something that was even addressed in the curriculum reform and is waiting to be fully implemented. With high school admissions coming to a close, the situation has since gone rather quiet.

But, then, famous Croatian investigative journalist Ivana Paradžiković published a Facebook thread expressing dissatisfaction that her ''4.8 son'' didn't managed to get accepted into high school in any of the six gymnasiums he applied for, as they were accepting only those kids with a grade of 5.0 in the new school year. She stated that her son was good enough for the European Film Academy but apparently not for the Croatian education system.

''He had the misfortune of going to a school where an A grade wasn't given away, and it was important to the professors that instead, they actually teach kids something. Over there, 4.4 is a B and not an A, and to me, that was always normal and acceptable (...) several classes with 30 pupils each with a straight A grade and nobody finds that unusual nor alarming... The education system is the foundation of the society,'' wrote the rightfully unhappy Paradžiković, as reported by Jutarnji List.

Paradžiković's thread, as well as the previous media coverage of the straight A epidemic across many Croatian schools, triggered freelance journalist Matina Tenžera to start a Facebook group which discusses the matter. The group consists of 249 members at the time of writing this article.

''I want to survey public opinion about this issue. Some say it's the fault of the system, but that's a bit too abstract. I want to find out how much parents really do push their children, is it truly such a big issue or maybe it's blown out of proportion?''  Tenžera said to TCN.

The group invites Croatian teachers to share their inside stories on parental pressure and generally what stands behind this unrealistic picture of the success of Croatian pupils on paper. The response so far is small, but Tenžera hopes that interest will grow. As TCN previously reported, Facebook groups that share anonymous confessions played a crucial role in revealing sexual harassment in the Croatian higher education system, mainly at the acting academy in Zagreb and other parts of the wider region.

Still, the small amount of threads gathered by Tenžera's group already reveals some true horror stories about how teachers in Croatia are perceived more as slaves than as valued individuals tasked with properly preparing the next generation for adulthood out there in the big wide world.

''My mother works as a teacher, and the situation in which someone came to school to attack and threaten to sue her because she gave a low grade to the child of someone famous has happened more than once. She literally had to remove the grade under the threat of getting fired,'' reads one anonymous confession.

teacher_thread_fb_group_2.jpg

FB thread translated above, screenshot / Zašto žulja kad nije 5.0?

Tenžera wants to learn just why Croatian schools and their headmasters don't take a stand and explain to parents that a good grade needs to be worked for and earned.

''I'm just a layman, but I hope that experts and experienced teachers will join the group and provide some of their solutions,'' says Tenžera.

Zagreb's Vladimir Prelog Science School and Mathematical Gymnasium (MIOC) has already taken to the practice of having entrance exams to settle the difference between talented pupils on paper and actual talented pupils.

Introducing and valuing entrance exams more than elementary school grades is one solution Tenžera believes could work, but as she points out, she isn't an expert. So, she hopes the Facebook group will encourage discussion for those who are educated, trained, and qualified to discuss education issues.

The following days will reveal whether or not this Facebook group grow into a bigger voice protesting against unfair and unethical practices in the Croatian education system and the abuse of Croatian teachers.

Meanwhile, in the first week of the new school year in Croatia, pupils are back in their classrooms learning about the world around them. However, the lesson of honesty and getting only what you work hard for is a lesson only their families can teach. Not threatening teachers for giving grades that are a realistic, professional evaluation of knowledge is lesson number one.

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

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

Monday, 6 September 2021

New School Year Begins for 460,000 Students, Including 37,000 First Graders

ZAGREB, 6 Sept 2021 - The new school year 2021-22 begins on Monday for almost 460,000 elementary and secondary school students across Croatia, including about 37,000 first graders, and all will have face-to-face classes.

This year again HRK 158 million was earmarked in the state budget for free textbooks for elementary school students.

Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Sunday that elementary school students in grades five to eight and secondary school students would have to wear masks if the distance between them in classrooms was less than 1.5 to 2 meters.

However, masks are mandatory in hallways, outside classrooms, and in school transport.

Teachers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to wear masks in classrooms, while those who have not been do, Fuchs said on RTL television.

The ministry has issued epidemiological recommendations based on research, the experience of epidemiologists, all stakeholders in the education system and other EU countries as well as in line with those of relevant European and international organizations, notably the World Health Organization.

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

Friday, 27 August 2021

Authorities Thinking of Introducing COVID Certificates in School and Health Sectors

ZAGREB, 27 Aug 2021 - Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, who heads the national COVID-19 crisis management team, said on Friday that there were still no plans for the introduction of COVID certificates in the educational and health sectors, but the authorities were considering such a move.

He announced the extension of the validity of the current COVID certificate, whose current validity is nine months.

Božinović called for compliance with anti-epidemic rules such as social distancing, room airing and mask wearing.

Croatia's 14-day incidence 143.4 per 100,000

The head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ), Krunoslav Capak, said that this week, the number of new coronavirus cases increased by 31.6% as against last week.

He added that currently, Croatia's 14-day incidence was 143.4 per 100,000 population, and that broken down by county, Istria had the lowest incidence and Split-Dalmatia County the highest.

Of the 27 EU member-states, Croatia ranks 11th while Poland and Hungary have the lowest incidence. The current ranking is topped by France and Ireland.

As for the COVID-related mortality rate per million citizens, Croatia ranks 20th in the European Union. Capak said that Croatia would soon start providing booster doses to the most vulnerable groups.

He added that when it comes to children aged between 12 and 18, 10% of this age cohort has so far been vaccinated against coronavirus.

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