Preschool Education Act Amendments Met With Criticism

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Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

Presenting the bill, State Secretary at the Ministry of Science and Education, Tomislav Paljak, said that the goal was to allow each child to attend early and preschool education from the age of six months to when they start school.

Due to the lack of space, it is not possible to allow all children to enrol in kindergarten, so priority of access criteria have been established.

In order to increase the capacities of preschool facilities, HRK 1.6 billion has been provided from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan for the construction and extension of kindergartens. By the end of 2026, this will create room for an additional 22,500 children in kindergartens, enabling 90% of children from the age of 3 up to the age of starting school to participate in preschool education, said Paljak.

Currently, 58 local units do not have a single preschool facility, he added.

Paljak dismissed as false the claim that the law abolished the pedagogical standard on the number of children per group.

Associations and trade unions of preschool teachers against Preschool Education Act

Today, representatives of five professional associations and four trade unions of preschool teachers held a press conference in several Croatian cities in order to protest against the amendments to the Preschool Education Act.

The head of the association Sidro (Anchor), Katarina Turković Gulin, said at a press conference in St. Mark’s Square, where the parliament and government are located, that the conditions in which preschool teachers worked and the conditions they provided to children were not satisfactory. The law has been amended six times, and none of the changes have brought what the profession has demanded, she said.

She recalled that over the past two months, representatives of kindergarten employees had spoken out against the proposed amendments, saying that they caused additional damage and deepened discrimination between children.

Since the government has ignored our demands, we will stay here all day today and wait for the outcome of the second reading of the bill, said Turković Gulin, and she announced that the protest rally would be staged as many times as necessary, not only in Zagreb, but also in Osijek, Rijeka, Pula and Čakovec.

The leader of the trade union of preschool education employees, Iskra Vostrel Prpić, said the problems were due to an inadequate financing model because the entire preschool education was financed from local budgets.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.


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