Novska, August 29, 2020 – The Sisak-Moslavina County Development Agency SIMORA has launched a large project for the development of the gaming industry based in Novska, which has recently been included in the list of strategic projects of the Croatian Government. Thus, 23 students will start the first grade of high school this year in Novska as video game developers.
Last year, the same course was introduced at the Technical School in Sisak, which was the first to receive a decision to start implementing this new curriculum. It was already announced then that Novska High School, since Novska is the future headquarters of the gaming industry, will introduce the same course from this year, which has aroused great interest among children of primary school age.
The opening of a student dormitory planned
“We advertised the gaming industry in Novska at the InfoGamer this year. Our former Minister of Science and Education, Blaženka Divjak, has already then publicly stated that High School Novska will get a positive response to launch a new course,” said Nikolina Fijačko Filipović, the headmaster of Novska High School, adding that they also attracted students by making a film that was released during online classes for children in primary schools.
Children from other parts of Croatia will also attend the new course in Novska, of which some are coming even from Imotski, and they will temporarily live in Novska due to their education.
Specially arranged classroom with computers / Copyright Donatella Pauković
For them, the City of Novska has provided accommodation that parents will have to pay for this year, but it is already planned for the next year to form a student dormitory in the same space.
“The student dormitory has not been opened this year. It is planned to be opened for the next school year. This year we will try to achieve the conditions for the dormitory in the same space where accommodation is now provided, with everything that is infrastructurally needed and the pedagogical service,” explained the headmaster.
So far, only one class of video game developers has been enrolled. The headmaster points out that, judging by the great interest of the students, there may be more classes in the coming years.
However, it also depends on whether the Ministry of Science and Education approves it.
Given that the gaming center in Novska was recently included in the list of strategic projects of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and is supported by the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić, the time for gamers is yet to come.
This is also the first national strategic project in Novska supported by the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
The program gives priority to practice
More than 50 percent of the program content is vocational, which is why the initiators of this idea believe that this course is very good preparation for the labor market where children will be ready to work after four years of high school education if they do not decide to go to college.
However, if students decide to continue their university education, they will also be able to do so, because all the required knowledge for the obligatory state matura exam is taught according to the gymnasium program.
“Some general educational programs have been reduced to get more space in the vocational part, which is not the case for other vocational courses. As for compulsory subjects, mathematics, Croatian and foreign languages, it is well covered by the program,” says the headmaster.
The classroom is equipped with 23 computers each worth 18,000 kunas / Copyright Donatella Pauković
New space, new professors
Novska High School had to meet the personnel and material conditions for the education of future video game developers, which was not easy at all.
“I have to admit that the equipment these students are working on is very expensive. One computer with its set costs 18,000 kunas, and we have 23 students, which makes a considerable amount,” says the headmaster.
They also arranged the classroom, which also represented a certain cost, but the Sisak-Moslavina County, which is also the founder of the gaming industry in Croatia, met their needs and provided it all.
“Currently, no computer in any school in Croatia meets the requirements for this course,” the headmaster points out, adding that they had to order special computers from abroad.
And for classes to take place, it was necessary to hire new young professionals.
“It was a difficult task. I interviewed a lot of people. It is an industry where people at other jobs earn much more. An IT specialist can earn a lot more by working somewhere else than in a school where the salaries are low,” the headmaster said honestly, but they managed to find a teacher and a teaching assistant for exercise classes.
Novska in the lead
Since there are two newly arranged buildings in Novska for the needs of the Business Incubator PISMO (letter), the students in Novska have an advantage over the students in Sisak because, in the afternoon, they can use a space with equipment for testing and developing games. It will also help them to acquire practical knowledge, on which great emphasis is placed in this course.
Also, everything that happens regarding the gaming industry in Sisak-Moslavina County will be held in the area of the town of Novska.
For now, all lectures will be held in schools. But if due to the epidemiological situation it is necessary to switch to online classes again, it will be a problem for this new course, especially because of the emphasis on the practical part of teaching.
Students learn the theory and apply it in practice. Vocational subjects and practical classes are inseparable, so in this case, it would be very difficult to teach online.
“In any case, we are ready for that. We tried it for the first time last school year. I hope that we will do this successfully if we are forced to do so. However, we all hope that we won’t be forced to do so, because that will reduce the quality of teaching,” concludes the headmaster.