EU Funds for Construction and Renovation of 500 Kindergartens in Croatia

Lauren Simmonds

As Novac/ writes on the 4th of June, 2019, more than 500 kindergartens are currently being built or renovated in Croatia thanks to the country’s access to EU funds.

The move is also because of the growing awareness of negative demographic trends in recent years, and cities are also increasing their budget allocations for kindergartens as well as for the eventual implementation of measures that will work to raise the overall standards of pre-school education – from kindergarten construction, the co-financing of residence, the prolonged stay of children in kindergarten, the introduction of new activities, and the procurement of equipment needed for work.

Novac analysed the data from Croatia’s Ministry of Finance on budget execution in 2017 and explored which cities had ”put aside” the highest amount of money for pre-school education. What can be seen first is that the top 10 cities with the greatest distinction, whether viewed per capita or per share in the budget, are almost exclusively small and medium-sized cities, and the only bigger city among them is Velika Gorica near Zagreb.

When viewed from the perspective of budgets, Požega in continental Croatia led with 17.6 percent of its budget allocated for kindergartens, and the funds are mainly used to cover the costs of children staying in kindergartens. At the same time, with 600 kuna per child per month, the city co-finances a child’s stay in a private kindergarten.

After Požega, according to the budget allocation for kindergartens, come Klanjec, Vodnjan, Dugo Selo, Bjelovar, and Oroslavje.

According to the date for 2017, the City of Bjelovar, with its allocated amount of 9.2 million kuna, is the fifth city in Croatia in terms of budget allocation for kindergartens and it will be very interesting to see where it will be positioned in any analysis taken in the coming years, since in 2018 alone, it invested 23.5 million kuna in pre-school education, and they set aside 30.2 million kuna in the budget for it. One of the important measures is to lower the prices of kindergartens, which has already decreased twice in one year, first from 750 kuna to 600 kuna, and then down to 500 kuna.

”Investing in pre-school education is certainly one of the priorities of the City of Bjelovar, which is evident from the city budget. By investing in children, we’re investing in our future, and by raising standards in kindergartens, we’re helping children to have a better childhood, as well as for their parents, to make it easier to finance everything needed,” said Bjelovar’s mayor Dario Hrebak, adding that investing in pre-school education is one of the best demographic moves, the energetic restoration of kindergartens also strengthens Croatia’s economy, and today in Bjelovar, there is no construction company without work.

In Oroslavje, the sixth town in Croatia in terms of the amount of the budget allocation for kindergartens, there are two kindergartens attended by about 150 children. This year, prices for kindergartens were reduced, parents pay 640 kuna for the first child, 360 kuna for the second, and for the third one, it’s free. They are cheapest in all of Hrvatsko Zagorje.

Among the top 10 of the cities and towns in Croatia which allocate the most for kindergartens are Skradin, Đurđevac, Ludbreg and Novi Marof. Looking at things in terms of per capita, the champion in allocating money to kindergartens is Vodnjan with 658 kuna per capita, and in the top 10 come Požega, Vis, Đurđevac, Velika Gorica, Umag, Poreč, Klanjec, Bjelovar and Sveta Nedelja.

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