A scientific route for the best job opportunities.
It is no secret that the need for experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is great all over the world, particularly in developed countries, which is why many of them invite such experts to immigrate. At the same time, young people in Croatia are increasingly aware that university diploma by itself is no longer a guarantee of employment, reports Tportal on August 25, 2015.
Aleksandra Čižmešija, vice-dean at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb, says that their diplomas are recognized by the best universities in the world, from Oxford to MIT, so graduates who want to continue with postgraduate studies have no trouble applying. “The best students can continue with their studies at the best universities, but even the average students can find their place”, added Čižmešija.
In the last few years, the Faculty of Science in Zagreb, although is considered to be among the most demanding faculties in the country, has filled its available enrolment quotas in the first summer enrolment period. “We have many excellent students who have decided to study at our Faculty. The exceptions are only some teaching programs where the number of interested high school students is slightly lower. For all other courses, the interest is great”, explains Čižmešija.
Despite the fact that the humanities and social sciences still dominate the University of Zagreb by a number of students, the leadership of the Faculty of Science does not plan to increase enrolment quotas. “The Faculty would like to increase enrolment quotas, however, that would jeopardize the quality of teaching and the ratio of teachers to students. Our teaching requires laboratories, and we will seriously think about increasing quotas only after we solve problems with available space”, says Čižmešija.
Čižmešija believes that one of the reasons for the trend is the fact that students increasingly ask themselves what they can do and where they can work after studies, and not whether a particular studies program is difficult. “I think that today young people understand that a STEM degree virtually guarantees getting a good and interesting job. In Croatia, we also have to turn to STEM studies, because physics and mathematics are fundamental sciences without which nothing else can be done. It is therefore important to develop natural sciences, biotechnology, medicine, etc. because they represent the elite of science.”
Similar trends can be observed at the Faculty of Science in Split, where in the past five years the interest of students has almost doubled. Some teachers jokingly say that is a consequence of the popularity of the TV series “The Big Bang Theory”.
Ante Bilušić, dean of the Faculty of Science in Split, says that every year they fill the enrolment quotas in the mathematics department. Split has also recorded an increase in the quality of students, although the best high school students usually go to the Faculty of Science in Zagreb. “I think that with the economic crisis people have realized that the education in natural sciences and engineering can provide them with better employment opportunities. The state has promised it will help the STEM faculties, but for now that remains only a promise”, said Bilušić.