Minister Divljak Expresses Belief in Success of Curricular Reform

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, Jan 16 (Hina) – The first results of the experimental stage of the curriculum reform, which the Science and Education Ministry launched a few months ago, will be visible in a year or two, but signs from the field show that teachers are ready and I believe that we will make it, Minister Blaženka Divjak said in a live interview on her Facebook wall.

“We have secured funds and mentors, we have competent agencies, and aside from our experts who have worked on elaborating school curricula we have the technical assistance of the European Commission and European experts. Everything that passes the experimental stage will be fine-tuned and its implementation in schools will start,” said Divjak.

She added that 150 million kuna from the European Social Fund was expected for the reform’s experimental stage, and that her ministry also counted on funds from Switzerland and Norway.

The curriculum reform pilot project, to cover 30-70 schools and to be implemented in the first and fifth grades of primary schools and in the first grade of secondary schools, is one of the three reform processes that are being launched by the Science and Education Ministry, Divjak said, adding that reforms in the system of vocational training would be launched as well – some as of this autumn and some later.

She underlined the importance of competence centres for which one billion kuna in funds has been secured, adding that the third process was the introduction of computer science as a compulsory subject in schools.

The minister stressed that the reform was aimed at improving the quality of the education system, making schools places with motivated students, where expected learning outcomes were achieved. All who work in schools must contribute to that and for that to be achieved, we are planning training courses and mentoring in schools, notably those covered by the experimental stage of the reform, she said.

Asked how teachers who were taught to learn by rote could teach children critical thinking, the minister admitted that the Croatian system of teacher training was traditional and that changes should start already at teacher academies.

“We have introduced webinars, we will work via networks, with schools, through various seminars, on-line, etc. It is important that examples of good practice are visible, that those who work well share their methods with others and that we all understand that each reform passes or does not pass in the classroom. We must see in that our responsibility and we must start from ourselves in the promotion of lifelong learning,” she said.

In defining teaching standards, however, we must be aware that we live in real circumstances and that pedagogical standards depend on a country’s financial capacity. Some standards and regulations are not implemented almost anywhere in Europe, she said.


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