University Professors Should Be Initiators of Social, Economic Development

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 24, 2019 – Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak on Thursday spoke about strategic planning in higher education at the MIPRO international conference in Opatija, noting that the time was coming when university professors would be counted on as initiators of social and economic development.

Now is the crucial period for the system of higher education because talks are underway on programmes of institutions of higher education to define how the system would develop in the period to come, said the minister.

“… focus is being shifted from data such as the number of students or professors to the outcome – the percentage of students who complete their studies and the response to demand for professions that are in short supply,” she said.

The minister said that there were 127,000 full-time and 46,500 part-time students in the system of higher education, and that most of them, or 140,000, attended universities.

Divjak noted that the system of higher education was too fragmented, with too many individual institutions.

The way university programmes are defined to meet the needs of the labour market is not satisfactory either, she said, noting that as many as 44% of students attend programmes in the humanities and social sciences while the number of students studying STEM subjects is insufficient compared to the demand. The minister added that also problematic was a high rate of university dropouts.

“To improve the situation, we should learn from countries that have made positive changes. What is encouraging is last year’s European Commission monitoring report on the Croatian education system, which was positive for the first time.”

Higher education institutions in Croatia are universities (and their constituents – faculties and academies of arts), polytechnics and colleges, according to the information provided by the Croatian Agency for Science and Higher Education.

“A university is an institution organizing and delivering university study programmes, and, exceptionally, professional study programmes. Polytechnics and colleges organize and deliver professional study programmes.

“Currently there are 119 higher education institutions in Croatia, namely: 8 public universities, 2 private universities, 68 faculties and art academies and 1 university centre at public universities, 4 private polytechnics, 11 public polytechnics, 22 private colleges, and 3 public colleges,” the agency says on its website.

Asked to comment on the shouts “For the homeland ready” at a high school leaving party in Rijeka on Wednesday, Divjak said that it was “entirely inappropriate, regardless of the occasion and the students’ young age.”

Such incidents should be condemned and both schools and parents should work so they do not happen, she said.

The new history curriculum, to be launched in the autumn, truly condemns the Ustasha regime, notably the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), as well as other totalitarian regimes, she said.

More education news can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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