Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Zagreb's Faculty of Electrical Engineering Sets up First Artificial Intelligence Centre in Croatia

ZAGREB, September 25, 2019 - The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) of the University of Zagreb on Wednesday presented its project of establishing the first artificial intelligence centre in Croatia as the pivotal institution to coordinate activities in the field of AI development.

The faculty's dean, Gordan Gledec, said that FER wanted to continue playing a pioneering role in promotion and development of advanced and safe artificial intelligence complying with ethical norms and serving for the benefit of citizens of Croatia and the world.

The centre will share knowledge and provide support to all who find AI-related topics to be important, in line with recommendations on the development and application of artificial intelligence adopted earlier this year by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU).

Gledec said that companies that are involved in the development of new products based on AI must actively invest in research and development.

One of the missions of the centre is to educate the general public about possibilities of positive application of AI.

The faculty has already developed successful projects such as cyber fraud protection systems, enhanced safety and security in the tram transportation system or increased potato cultivation productivity.

More news about science in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

University of Zagreb Makes It to Top 500 Universities

ZAGREB, August 18, 2019 - The University of Zagreb has managed to be again among the 500 best universities in the world, according to the 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), the Jutarnji List daily reported on Sunday.

Zagreb's tertiary education institution is placed in the group of universities ranked between 401st and 500th place, after having dropped from the top 500 rankings in 2017 and 2018.

The 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) was released by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy on 15 August.

"Since 2003, ARWU has been presenting the world Top 500 universities annually based on transparent methodology and objective third-party data. It has been recognized as the precursor of global university rankings and the most trustworthy one," the consultancy stated when it published the latest ranking.

This year, the best 1000 universities in the world are published, and the University of Split has made its first appearance on that list, being placed in the group between 701st place and 800th place, the daily reported.

The rankings are topped by Harvard for the 17th year.

Universities from the United States dominate this year’s Top 10 list with 8 universities among them.

"Stanford University and University of Cambridge remain to be the No. 2 and No. 3 respectively. Other Top 10 universities are MIT, Berkeley, Princeton, Oxford, Columbia, Caltech and Chicago. In Continental Europe, ETH Zurich (19th) continues to be the best ranked university, and University of Copenhagen (26th) takes the second place," says the consultancy on its website.

Shanghai Ranking Consultancy introduces itself as "a fully independent organization dedicating to research on higher education intelligence and consultation. It has been the official publisher of the Academic Ranking of World Universities since 2009."

More news and info about the University of Zagreb can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

University of Zagreb Moves Up in QS World University Rankings

ZAGREB, June 20, 2019 - The University of Zagreb has moved up in the latest QS World University Rankings, placing between 751st and 800th position, up from #801-1000 in the previous report.

The QS World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings based on quality. Its 16th edition was released on Thursday by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British company specialising in education. The rankings cover the world's best 1,000 universities.

The University of Zagreb is the only Croatian university included in the rankings and is ranked 305th in Europe. Compared to universities in the region, it is included in the same group as the University of Maribor, while the University of Ljubljana is placed #591-600, up from #651-700. The University of Belgrade is ranked #810-1000, the same as in the previous rankings.

The top spot has been held for eight straight years by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), followed by the US universities of Stanford and Harvard. The best placed European and British university is Oxford, ranking fourth, while its ancient rival Cambridge slipped to seventh place.

The highest ranked university in continental Europe is ETH Zurich, climbing to sixth place.

The two best Asian universities are again those from Singapore, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, both ranking 11th. The highest ranked university in Latin America is Universidad de Buenos Aires, placing 74th.

QS uses six indicators in ranking universities: academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, the faculty/student ratio, the proportion of international faculty and the proportion of international students.

More news about the University of Zagreb can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Team from Zagreb's FER Wins SIM(P)ATIC PLC+ Challenge 2019 Competition

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of May, 2019, the regional student competition, held at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, marked the completion of the SIM (P) ATIC PLC + Challenge 2019 project.

This project, initiated by the student association EESTEC and supported by the faculties of electrical engineering in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, as well as by no less than Siemens, provides the region's young future engineers with a more detailed insight into the issues that engineers usually encounter in industrial automation in order to better prepare for such work out there in the real world.

Three winning teams, one from each country, as well as the overall regional winner were selected. The winning team from Croatia consists of Karlo Hercigonja, Ivan Ratković and Nikola Benazić from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb, from Slovenia, the winners were Urban Aravs, Jernej Štremfelj and Tina Vindiš from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Ljubljana, and from Serbia, the team consists of Uroš Rakonjac, Petar Kovačević and Dejan Bogdanović from the University of Electrical Engineering in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. The regional winner of the competition is the team from Zagreb, Croatia.

Namely, the SIM (P) ATIC PLC + Challenge 2019 competition started back at the beginning of April with theoretical part of the workshop, where university lecturers from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering from Zagreb, Belgrade and Ljubljana held lectures otherwise not covered by the curriculum. In the next phase, the student teams solved the task by which the best two teams in the country qualified for the regional final in Zagreb. Within this competition finale, the finalists presented their respective solutions of the additional part of the task. Each team had ten minutes available to them for their presentations and five minutes to answer the questions from panel members.

Significant knowledge in the field of industrial automation was also demonstrated by other teams, all judged by a panel consisting of three experts from each country.

Each member of the panel evaluated teams from neighbouring countries in the categories of the quality of the created program and their presentation skills. The Croatian members of the panel were prof. dr. sc. Igor Erceg (FER), mr. Sc. Tomislav Pavić (A & C Automation Adria) and B.Sc. Marko Bunić (Siemens), while from Slovenia and Serbia, there were two university professors and one Siemens representative.

"This competition is an excellent example of synergy between faculties, students and economics. Siemens wants to support projects that encourage the development of professional and practical knowledge of future engineers from this area because we're also strategically focused on the areas of automation and digitisation, which were the cornerstone of this competition,'' said Medeja Lončar of Siemens at the award ceremony.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If it's just Zagreb you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

More Than Third of Graduates with Diplomas in Croatia Unemployed

As Mirela Lilek/Novac writes on the 27th of April, 2019, Croatia's situation still isn't good: the country is continuing to ''produce'' graduates with the third lowest employment rate in the whole of the European Union, and as a result, taxpayers pay more and more money for them. According to new data from Brussels, based on a comparative survey of youth employment among Croats with diplomas earned in the last three years, a third of highly educated people aged between 20 to 34 in Croatia have no jobs. Only Italy and Greece are worse.

Of the 28 countries EU member states, Croatia ranked 26th with a 66 percent employability rate. Four positions above Croatia lies Romania, Bulgaria is six places above, and Slovakia is nine places above. Croatia's neighbour to the north, Slovenia, is eleven places above Croatia, Poland is thirteen places above (impressively right behind Ireland and Denmark), and the Czech Republic, with an 89.9 percent employability rate which has impressed the European Commission's experts - has risen to an enviable fourth place.

Malta is in first place in Europe as an employer of its graduates with diplomas, the employment rate of Maltese students stands at a very impressive 94.5 percent, even better than Germany, which boasts a rate of 90.9 percent, followed then by the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and then Austria. The EU average is on the rise, back in 2014 it stood at 76 percent and in 2018 it stood at 80.2 percent. Unfortunately, the Croats have been close to the bottom for years, more specifically for fifteen years, as it has a below-average rate of employability in relation to the EU. Of course, rather than attempt to fix the problem directly, the Croats are doing what the Croats always do - continuing to debate and argue over who is (more) to blame for such embarrassing conditions.

Economists see the issue as being that the Croats aren't adapting easily to the market, and that Croatia also has an old education system. At Croatia's universities, they argue that the key issue isn't Croatia's higher education institutions, but an underdeveloped labour market, low personal income, and demotivating working conditions. Experts from the European Commission have given a relatively simple answer: Investing in education will benefit everyone in Europe.

Let's see how they explain their theories in some of the country's universities, starting with the largest "producers" of graduates in the entire country, the Faculty of Philosophy and Economics in Zagreb.

''We're aware of the importance of linking study programs and labour market needs. In this regard, the Faculty of Economics makes an effort to make it easier for students to access the labour market by establishing multilateral cooperation with companies and respectable institutions that enable students to perform high-quality professional practices,'' stated Sanja Sever Mališ, who deals with strategic partnerships and projects at the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb. The basic message from this particular Zagreb university is that "they connect students and employers so their best students can find work even during their studies." Therefore, there is no concern for them.

On the other hand, Vesna Vlahović-Štetić, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, admits that Croatia's humiliating placement at the bottom of the employability scale of graduates is still something to be very concerned about and therefore the causes of that need to be looked at.

''I assume that part of the problem lies in insufficient development and the ability of the economy and the public sector to absorb newly graduated students. On the other hand, the question is how many colleges and higher education institutions meet the needs of society with their respective programs. At the state level, in some professions there's hyper-production, and in others there is a lack of experts. Additionally, study programs should be regularly updated and developed to meet not only society's needs but also predict what competences professionals will need in the future,'' the dean says.

Data obtained through the HKO project of the Faculty of Philosophy shows that the employability of their students in the year after graduation is 75 percent. They believe this is the result of "the excellent professional and generic competences of their graduates".

"We're convinced at the Faculty of Philosophy that the study programs need to be further improved, so we have just started the study reform process and I'm sure the future employability of our students will be even better," says the university's dean.

The rector of the University of Rijeka, Snježana Prijić Samaržija, doesn't want to run away from the fact that Croatia's universities do hold a share of the responsibility for this issue but, again, she's convinced that Croatia's higher education institutions are't the key cause of the problem, but the underdeveloped labour market definitely is.

Rijeka University has eleven faculties and four departments. On their official page, they point out that they are a modern European university and a centre of excellence within the region and beyond, and that they are responsible for the social and economic development of the community. Samardžija claims that she doesn't want to relate the worrying data on the high rate of unemployed with higher education, but that "it should be borne in mind that higher education is a better job-finding guarantee, such as landing a permanent position,"

"Of course, it's possible to say that the employment rate would be higher if universities, by some automation, increased their quotas for the job-type deficit and reduced those profiles for which the employment bureaus take care of. In that sense, people often say Croatia's institutions and their enrollment policies aren't adapted to the labour market. However, the situation isn't quite that simple.

For example, the market seeks shipbuilding engineers, we have shipbuilding studies and a corresponding quota at the University of Rijeka, but there's a fall in interest for those studies. We can understand the students' fears about the situation with Croatia's shipyards, but the fact is that the need for this profession is still growing. Similarly, despite the lack of mathematics and physics teachers and the excellent studies we have, the interest doesn't match the employment opportunities,'' she explained.

The University of Rijeka decided to put seven studies ''into retirement'' this year, and isn't accepting students for them. Those are acting and media, dental hygiene, computer science in combination with professional studies of medical-lab diagnostics, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding, and electrical engineering.

On the other hand, there's a considerable level of interest in studies that don't guarantee quick and permanent employment at all, such as the arts, cultural studies, and psychology.

''Young people choose studies according to their personal interests, not just employment opportunities. They don't necessarily just want a permanent job, many of them are accustomed to gaining work experience in different institutions, at different places of work, and in different countries. More and more, they prefer to individually define the curriculum through courses and practical competences beyond their study program(s), which will make their expertise comparatively more special and desirable. In the midst of a sluggish and non-ethnological labour market, more and more students enjoy prolonged youthful relationships with their parents or rent apartments,'' says Snježana Prijić Samaržija.

"I don't want to run away from the responsibility of the university, we're constantly thinking about the jobs of the future, we're working on increasing the quota for the deficit professions and improving our students' competences to reduce the unemployment rate. However, time is needed to see the results of these measures because the higher education cycle lasts for at least five years. It should be understood that universities can't just simply increase quotas for occupations for which there's a labour market need because new employment is frozen,'' noted the Rector of the University of Rijeka.

As Croatia's paradoxical situation of having no work but plenty of jobseekers, yet plenty of work and no staff, it's hard to predict the outcome of education system reforms as the market and its needs can alter so rapidly. Will Croatian students simply continue to trickle away on the stream of a proverbial leaking tap out into Western Europe, leaving Croatia with the rather unenviable title of a country that educates its citizens for work abroad? It's likely such a scenario will continue at least for the foreseeable future. Whether or not Croatia will manage to make the necessary alterations to fix that aforementioned ''leaky tap'' in time remains to be seen.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle, politics and business pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Mirela Lilek for Novac/Jutarnji

Monday, 15 April 2019

Mate Rimac Employs First Deaf Person to Graduate from FER

Statistics show that about 12,000 deaf people live in the Republic of Croatia, but unfortunately it is rare for them to complete their higher education.

As Ivan Tominac/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of April, 2019, Josip Ivanković was born in Čapljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but just one year after his birth, he was declared deaf, and this fact was one of his reasons for his relocation to Croatia. His move to Croatia certainly paid off as being the right move, and Josip, despite the diagnosis, managed to develop his speech and the technique of listening. That was, as Josip himself states, a painstaking and long process.

"The situation is that I have to treat speaking Croatian as if I was speaking a foreign language," Josip Ivanković explained.

For four years now, his speech and listening abilities have been being developed at the SUVAG Polyclinic, where Josip learned to speak with vibration, tone amplification, visualisation and by learning anatomy.

"When I learned to pronounce the letter ''r'', I had to touch the vocal chords of the logopad to feel a certain vibration and titration, then I'd lean my hand on my neck to feel the same vibration, so I learned to pronounce the letter ''r'' I learned to pronounce ''ž'' in a similar way, I just put my hand on my head. Generally speaking, the hardest letters to pronounce for the deaf are l,č,ć,đ,dž,lj and nj, and the reason for that is that such letters can't be visually identified. They're explained through the anatomy of the oral cavity, just like a doctor explains the heart's organs, or where the blood enters and where it exits,'' explained Josip.

After the kindergarten era ended, in which he learned the basics of socialisation, it was decided that he should attend a regular school.

This period of schooling, without any curriculum adjustment, he adds, was defined by perseverance, and communicational misunderstandings are, in his words, quite normal and natural.

"The professors made me equal with my peers, and this proved to be a good thing because I learned so much about the world of those who can hear, and I learned how to gather information," said Josip. As stated, statistics show that about 12,000 deaf people live in Croatia, but it is rare for them to complete higher education. Josip was not one of them, and he completed a college which has some very demanding academic requirements for its students.

He enrolled at FER (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing), and the likelihood of him completing his studies was slim, yet Josip had different plans for himself.

"At the beginning of the semester, it was very difficult for me to adapt,'' recalled Josip. Before Josip's arrival, professors from Zagreb's FER didn't have any experience in working with people with impaired hearing. At the beginning, he failed several exams, but he didn't let that dampen his spirit, and later he turned to further consultations.

This combination led him to become the very first deaf person to graduated from that college.

"The professors were very approachable, and our relationship was very flexible and adaptable. I will never forget how Professor Brnetić, instead of me asking him, personally invited me to consultations during the holidays and showed me much he cared that I didn't miss anything from the lecture. On the other hand, one professor asked me during consultations why I didn't go to the lectures and asked me how I was learning. I told him that I don't go to the lectures because I can't hear them. I took out a 100-page notebook with my assignments, and the professor was surprised that I did all that without having gone to any lectures. He asked me to lend him that notebook and later I learned that he'd showed my notebook to all of the professors. Believe it or not, a year after when I came to his office, that copy of the notebook was still on his desk,'' Josip stated, recalling his faculty days.

In the end, none of the obstacles he faced along the way turned him away from his goal, and he passed 62 engagements that mostly relied solely on him and his level of dedication. This FER student didn't have to wait around long before a job opportunity came knocking, and it wasn't your regular offer. He started his working life at no less than Rimac Automobili as an Embedded Hardware Engineer. Rimac had no problems with his deafness and offered him a position after his interview.

''At the beginning of the job, I was given a pretty demanding project that I had to complete within a month, which was the length of my trial period, and when the project ended I realised that I was able to complete it and was given the green light to remain with the firm,'' Josip said. The work never stops at Rimac Automobili, and at the moment, Josip is working on a project for the development of electric car chargers.

"Communication skills are the most difficult for me, because I have to invest extra energy into lip reading and that's mentally challenging and difficult. Imagine a situation in which a colleague is referring to professional terms, and I need to decode them with and put them into context in order for me to have any understanding. Imagine switching off your ears, and focusing your eyes on their lips alone.

You aren't likely to understand because they're not using standard words, they're using technical phrases that are difficult to decode and recognise. At the beginning, it was very difficult for me to follow verbal communication and understand the complexity of the project. Of course, since working here I've changed a lot and become much more calm, more focused and concentrated on the small things. The worst thing is when a colleague does not know how to communicate with me properly, and this is where I'm concerned about information which is valuable to the project, and that's an extra effort. Each colleague has his own specific way of speaking and they aren't all the same in communication. With time, I somehow adjusted to them, and they also had to adapt to me, I accepted that this was all normal and there would always be a situation where they couldn't understand, but I'll always ask them to repeat themselves not just twice, but 1000 times!'' concluded Josip.

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Click here for the original article by Ivan Tominac for Poslovni Dnevnik

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Croatia's Business Matchmaker - Project Which Pairs Students with Firms

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of March, 2019, Business Matchmaker, organised by the eSTUDENT student association and the Office for consulting and career development at Zagreb's Faculty of Economics, will be held on the 26th of March this year at Zagreb's Faculty of Economics (Trg JF Kennedy 6), beginning at 9:00. The completion of the official part is expected to be at 15:00.

This innovative project allows students to personally present themselves in a short four minute selection interview to a group of desired companies. Interviews will be held in the halls of the faculty, and the continuation of the meeting and greeting, to which all participants are invited, will be in "Kefi" after 15:00 that same day.

Business Matchmaker is an event which resembles the speed dating principle and is intended for EFZG students to represent themselves to their potential employers. After the interview, employers and students will evaluate each other and the best students can then expect another round of interviews, where they will be able to learn more and find out more about employment opportunities in their desired companies.

In this interesting and useful way, students on the lookout for an employment position are able to properly develop their self-presentation skills and get to know how the labour market works firsthand. This year's Business Matchmaker will see the participation of as many as 21 companies divided into five different groups.

Lucija Matašin shared her personal experience of last year's Business Matchmaker and what it did for her career-wise:

"By participating in Business Matchmaker, I got a student job, which is honestly everything but ''student'' style. Along with that [I got] a great reference for my CV and a lot of motivation and courage to make it easier to deal with stress in similar situations in the future. I met the people from the company, which I might once meet again, because the world is really small and who knows where I'll be tomorrow, and maybe I'll bump into some of these people again on my way. This eSTUDENT initiative and the Office for consulting and career development really provide EFZG students with something they don't get through their classes.''

The companies participating in the project are 24sata, Addiko Bank, Atlantic Grupa (Group), ATOS, British American Tobacco, Croatia Osiguranje (Insurance), Deloitte, DIV Group, EC, INA, Kaufland, King ICT, KPMG, L'Oreal Adria, mStart, Philip Morris Zagreb, Samsung, SofaScore, Syskit, Talentarium and Zagrebačka banka.

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Friday, 1 March 2019

Croatian Universities Not Bad, Considering How Little Is Invested in Them

ZAGREB, March 1, 2019 - The head of Zagreb University, Damir Boras, said on Thursday that Croatian universities were not so bad considering how little was invested in them.

His comment came in response to the statement by Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak that the present system at the Croatian universities and scientific institutes stifled excellence and needed reforming.

Boras and Divjak attended a ceremony at which an agreement granting Croatia associate membership of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) was signed.

Addressing the ceremony, Divjak spoke of the situation in the Croatian science sector, saying that Croatia ranked 25th among the 28 EU member states in terms of obtaining funding for Horizon 2020 projects and at the bottom in terms of obtaining funding for projects funded by the European Research Council. She said that the present system at the universities and scientific institutes stifled excellence and needed reforming.

Asked by the press after the ceremony to comment on the minister's statement, Boras said that "Croatian universities are not so bad considering how little is invested in them."

"Zagreb University is the best and largest scientific institution in Croatia with by far the largest output, despite poor funding. We can't be expected to be the best in the world if we are at the bottom in Europe in terms of financing," Boras said, urging the minister to secure more funding for science and higher education.

"All relevant indicators show that Zagreb University is at the tail end of Europe in terms of financing, but is not at the tail end of Europe in terms of relative output. If we look at the amount of money invested, then we are actually very good," Boras concluded.

More news about the Zagreb and other Croatian universities can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Education on EU Projects for Croatian Students Advantageous for Job Market

Concrete steps are being made to better acquaint Croatia's students with the importance of knowledge about EU projects, knowledge which will be advantageous on the labour market.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of January, 2019, representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds and the Faculty of Economics of the University of Zagreb signed a cooperation agreement worth three million kuna, which will enable students to acquire skills and knowledge in the field of EU funds for professional practice.

This is a project that has been being discussed in the aforementioned ministry for a long time, and now partnerships through signing this contract have been formalised by the dean of this higher education institution, Jurica Pavičić, and Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Gabrijela Žalac. Another partner of the project is the Department of Economics of the University of Zadar, whose representatives will subsequently sign the same contract.

"It's a great pleasure for our students to have the opportunity to improve themselves in something that is important for them, their careers, and to their future employers. Students have recognised the importance of knowledge about EU funds and have shown great interest in this area, aware that this will be an important component when they go out to look for a job. We're glad that we've partnered with the Ministry and that the University of Zadar is ready to join in with this project,'' said the Dean.

The cooperation agreement also concerns the strengthening of the Regional Development Academy, which has been in existence for many years within the ministry and cooperates with the University of Zagreb and faculties at the project level, in the interest of enhancing cooperation on the issue of student education, which is the backbone of regional development and the management of EU structural and investment funds.

"We want to strengthen our capacities at all levels so that through the professional knowledge and mentoring of our people in the Ministry of Economics, students from Zagreb and Zadar are able to train for the labour market. Our students have a decisive role in the dynamics of fundraising and the socio-economic progress of the coming period. The aim is to build a strategic partnership with healthcare institutions in the Republic of Croatia. We've been a full member of the EU for five and a half years and I think it's now time to allow students to acquire knowledge and skills in the area of ​​EU funds management and their use,'' said the minister, adding that European structural and investment funds make up 80 percent of public investments in the Republic of Croatia.

"Since we're the youngest member state of the EU, we're still at the beginning. This seven-year financial period, when we'll use European funds for the very first time, will certainly be a great experience for what follows in 2021,'' said Žalac, mentioning that MRRFEU and the Central Finance and Contracting Agency for EU Programs and Projects conducted research with results which show that there are 2700 experts missing in Croatia for the field of implementing EU projects.

"Therefore, we'd like to enable our students of economic orientation to provide professional practice with the help of EU funds, to provide new useful facilities for building a business career, with additional values ​​that strengthen their competence on the labour market," added Minister Žalac before thanking everyone who participated in the implementation process of this project.

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Click here for the original article by Lucija Spiljak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 4 November 2018

University of Zagreb Marks Its Day

ZAGREB, November 4, 2018 – The University of Zagreb Day and the beginning of the 350th academic year was celebrated at the Croatian National Theatre on Saturday at a ceremony which heard that this university is one of the oldest Croatian institutions which has been continuously contributing to the preservation of Croatian science, tradition and culture.

On 23 September 1669, under a decree by Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary and Croatia, the Jesuit Academy in the royal free city of Zagreb was given the status and privileges of a university, which the legislature of the Kingdom of Croatia adopted on 3 November 1671. Therefore, the University of Zagreb accepts 1669 as the year of its foundation and November 3 as its day.

Rector Damir Boras said the University was one of the oldest institutions in Croatia and that autonomy was one its most important features.

It has 34 components and about 70,000 students, it is one of Europe's 15 biggest universities, and since 1874, when the modern University of Zagreb was opened, more than five million students have graduated from it.

The University's task is to implement programmes of strategic importance for Croatia, Boras said, adding that this year there were 149 undergraduate, 33 integrated and 163 graduate study programmes.

The University of Zagreb is highly desirable for studies and 100,000 students who participated in a poll gave its teachers a grade of four on a scale of one to five, Boras said. The University has the leading role in research and innovation the region, having won 98 awards at innovation fairs, which makes it the most awarded institution in the field of innovation, and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing leads in the number of patents, he added.

It has six centres of excellence and is successfully absorbing European funds for regional development.

Boras underlined the importance of financing science and education in line with GDP growth so as to meet the target of 1.4 to 2% in line with strategic documents adopted by parliament. He noted that the current outlays for that were below the European Union average.

Curricula and study programmes should be aligned with social and labour market needs and the University, having a prominent role in the schooling of socially responsible persons, should be a partner and not a service to employers, said Boras.

Read more about Croatia's education system here.

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