Head of Expert Group for Curriculum Reform Gives Ultimatum to Education Minister

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Boris Jokić wants the Education Minister to reject conclusions adopted by the Parliamentary Committee on Science.

The head of the expert working group for implementation of a comprehensive curriculum reform Boris Jokić announced on Monday that members of the group were willing to step down if Minister of Science, Education and Sports Predrag Šustar does not reject the conclusions of the Parliament Committee on Science by Wednesday morning. One of the controversial conclusions is the request by the Committee to expand the working group with ten additional members, report Index.hr and n1info.com on May 23, 2016.

“The conclusions of the Parliamentary Committee demonstrate total ignorance of the process of the curriculum reform”, said Jokić at a press conference, explaining that it was a form of political pressure because the Committee adopted conclusions which were “completely contrary to the decisions of the government and the competent minister”, who gave their support to the way the curriculum reform was being implemented.

“This country does not need any supervisory groups, censorship groups, groups that would take us back to dark times, and these elements suggest, if you will, a legacy of the former communist system in the form of decision-making, and we simply cannot agree to that. We are more than ready for a dialogue, but we cannot accept political pressures and politicking”, said Jokić. Therefore, the members of the working group are ready to resign, he continued. “However, taking into account the importance of what we are doing, and the fact that it concerns each and every child and every parent, we are ready to give a deadline to Education Minister Šustar until 25 May at 10 am to reject the Committee’s conclusions”, he said.

Talking about Jokić’s demand, Deputy Prime Minister Božo Petrov said that he had not yet met him and that therefore he could not be either satisfied or dissatisfied with his work. “I have followed his work, but I do not see what is the problem with including additional experts. Also, I do not see it as an attack on the curricular reform. I am not pleased that we are putting the curriculum reform at the forefront. The education reform is the main issue, and the curriculum reform is just one part of it”, said Petrov.

The union of education employees Preporod called on Minister Šustar to accept the demands of the working group members and in that way save the national educational system from pending collapse. “To be in power means taking responsibility for important decisions. The Minister now has to make the most important decision of his term. We believe it will be the right one”, said the union.

The union noted that by giving general support to the project, while at the same time avoiding paying financial obligations, the authorities have irresponsibly slowed down this important work and also harmed the reputation of the working group head among those who were working on the reform. “However, with today’s decision to postpone their resignations for two days, those who are responsible for the fate of the most important reform project in this country have been given another opportunity to review the irresponsible behaviour of some people towards the project”, concluded the union.

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