IT Classes Compulsory in Croatian Schools

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Teachers will be able to choose computer programs they will teach.

Starting from the 2018/2019 school year, floppy disks and the IT curriculum written in 1994 will be history for Croatian schools. Students who will start the fifth and sixth grades of elementary school will have compulsory IT classes two hours a week. The Ministry of Education argues there is enough space in a week for two more hours and that this decision will not affect other compulsory and optional subjects, including religious studies, reports Večernji List on August 29, 2017.

The new curriculum for IT classes will enable students to prepare for learning, living and working in a society that is rapidly changing due to the development of digital technologies. Their goal is for students to learn how to program and how to reach outcomes, and IT teachers will be given an opportunity to choose which software they will use. This is one of fundamental changes in the curriculum.

But, there is still one issue which is unresolved, although the Ministry expects there will be enough time to solve it: there is currently no room in the weekly schedule for IT classes in the seventh and eighth grade, where IT classes will also be mandatory. For that problem to be solved, it will be necessary to change the current pedagogical standards.

According to plans, the first phase of purchasing the necessary equipment for schools will be launched this year, and the drive will continue next year as well. The 2017 state budget includes eight million kunas for equipping and preparation of teaching plans and programmes, while in 2018 the government plans to provide 20 million kunas more, in addition to funds available from the European Social Fund.

IT classes will become the only subject that will be introduced in all Croatian schools without a period of experimental implementation. According to the Ministry, after its introduction, the experimental introduction of all other classes according to the curricular reform will begin.

Asked why only IT classes will be introduced now, Education Minister Blaženka Divjak said that Croatian schools do not have time to wait and that the IT classes received the least number of comments during the public consultation period for the new curricula. However, IT classes are not the only subject with a small number of comments.

The Ministry also plans to form a working group for the IT curriculum, while the commission for compulsory IT education has already been appointed. But, why are there now two additional administrative bodies, when there is already an expert working group responsible for the curriculum reform in general? The Minister said that the panel of experts was not functioning and that she was doing what part of her authority is.

Translated from Večernji List.


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