Education Reform Causing Tensions in Government

Total Croatia News

Prime Minister and Education Minister seem to have different plans for the education reform.

In his recent interview, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković criticised some of his ministers. Among them was Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak, who was appointed to the cabinet by HDZ’s coalition partner HNS. During her two months as the head of the Ministry of Science and Education, she brought together a respectable team of experts and appointed a new state secretary and two assistant ministers. She recently said that, in order to speed up the entire process of reforming the education system, she would take over as the head of the special expert committee for implementation of the education reform strategy and the new curriculum, reports Večernji List on 11 August 2017.

“The special expert committee will be run by the minister responsible for science and education. In this way, the implementation of the strategy will be institutionalised and depoliticized,” said Divjak stated in a statement published by HNS.

However, it seems that the Prime Minister has other plans. He said that Divjak’s statement was just HNS’s position and he explained very clearly who will make the final decision. “That was a declaration of HNS, our coalition partners. The special expert commission is a body appointed by the Prime Minister. We have noticed there are some gaps in the implementation of the strategy and, in agreement with the committee and its president Dijana Vican, we will find the best way to improve the institutional implementation of the strategy. It is up to the committee to present an action plan by 8 September. HNS will, as our partner in government and in agreement with HDZ, give its contribution to the possible modification of the existing structure. We will reach a compromise, education reform will go on, and I will do everything so that this issue would no longer be a cause for street protests,” said Prime Minister Plenković.

In his statement, Plenković did not mention the possibility that Minister Divjak herself would take over the committee, although he did admit that currently there were gaps in the implementation of the strategy.

Dijana Vican, the current chairman of the committee, stated that she would abide just by Prime Minister’s decision. She claims that, as far as she is concerned, there is no dispute regarding her role and the committee’s work. “I have a job which I am doing, and that is all I can tell you. I do not want to comment on the intentions of other people, except the Prime Minister,” said Vican.

Minister Divjak commented on the Prime Minister’s statement. “I am glad that the Prime Minister shares the view that it is necessary to speed up and operationalise the most significant reform in the society. Given that I am the most responsible for the implementation of the education reform, I think that I must have instruments for its implementation and I will, together with HNS’s support, make an agreement with the Prime Minister to move as soon as possible to change the implementation part of the strategy,” said Minister Divjak.

Predrag Štromar, Deputy Prime Minister and acting HNS president, said there were no problems between the coalition partners. “The agreement between the partners in the government is that the implementation of the education reform must be maximally accelerated,” said Štromar.

Translated from Večernji List.


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