Tens of thousands of people take part in peaceful protests around the country.
Tens of thousands of people took part in Wednesday’s protests in support of the comprehensive curricular reform which “Croatia Can Do Better” initiative organised on the Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb and in about a dozen other cities in Croatia, reports Index.hr and Večernji List on June 1, 2016.
Speakers said that they did not want to be held hostage by the irresponsibility of the political elites, while teachers and professors said they wanted schools which would raise educated and free-minded children.
The main protest in Zagreb was attended by some 25,000 people, according to police estimates. The participants demanded the continuation of the educational reform which they claimed had stalled due to political pressures. They also demanded that the Parliament passes a resolution in support of the reforms, the team and the model of reforms.
Student Karlo Horvat called on the authorities not to interfere with the reform. “I urge them to keep their hands off this process.” He said that students do not want to learn facts by heart, but they want to think and create and discuss. Finally, he called on the authorities not to force him to leave Croatia.
Teacher who participated in the curricular reform Ida Loher said that this was the first time that someone had asked teachers what kind of schools they wanted and they had responded. Therefore, some 400 teachers and experts from all over Croatia united in a patriotic desire to work together for a better future. “Today we are here with you because we want to continue this reform with the same people, under the same leadership, with the same goal, but with a different, real political support”, said Loher.
Professor Toni Milun said that curriculum reform brings changes with the times in which we live, because it wants to turn users of new technologies into content creators for these technologies. He said that in all industries computers and robots were increasingly replacing people, which simultaneously brings termination of some jobs, but at the same time the introduction of other, more interesting jobs.
Representative of the “Croatia Can Do Better” initiative Nikola Baketa asked Parliament to reject the conclusions of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, while trade union representative Darko Šeperić asked it to pass a resolution on education as a national strategic interest, which would oblige all future governments.
Speaking earlier in the day, Education Minister Predrag Šustar said that he did not intend to resign. “I believe that the key message is that we have given education the position it deserves.” He again said that the protests were “a party.” “Let’s have a party and then let’s return to work. The money has been secured and is waiting for us in the EU funds. There is little time, but with goodwill we can start from the next school year,” he said.