Protests in Support of Curricular Reform to Be Held in Numerous Cities

Total Croatia News

Thousands of people are expected to show their support for the continuation of a key educational reform.

Many thousands of people are expected to take part in protests in numerous cities in Croatia and even abroad in support of the continuation of the comprehensive curricular reform. Even though it is impossible to forecast the precise number of protesters, the issue has been in the focus of public attention in the last few days since the expert group headed by Boris Jokić asked to be dismissed due to insufficient government’s support for the reforms, so it is expected that tonight’s protests will be the biggest in Croatia in recent times, report and Večernji List on June 1, 2016.

Although the protests will be held in at least 12 cities, the one in Zagreb will certainly be the largest. Apart from Zagreb, protests will also be held in Zadar, Split, Pula, Rijeka, Osijek, Križevci, Slavonski Brod, Dubrovnik, Virovitica, Korčula and Poreč.

An on-line petition supporting comprehensive curricular reform, launched at the end of last week, has so far collected more than 30,000 signatures of support. Although some have tried to politicize the protest, the “Croatia Can Do Better” initiative, which is organizing the protests, says that they have nothing to do with politics. “For a high-quality education policies, it is necessary to have expertise, stability, vision and commitment, and the political elite has demonstrated none of it. Therefore, we call on the citizens to join the protest which will enable us to demand responsible behaviour from politicians towards education, which is our common interest and the foundation for a better future. Croatia can and must do better”, said the initiative representatives.

Before today’s protests, members of the expert group for implementation of comprehensive curricular reform led by Boris Jokić have sent a special video message to the public.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović yesterday organized a meeting between Jokić and Education Minister Predrag Šustar. After the meeting, Minister Šustar said that everyone cared about protests in support of curricular reform. “We all want situation to calm down. It is about something that is gentle and mild, and these are our children and families. It is not necessary to disturb the public. I think it should be a party which we should all enjoy and not use it to manipulate”, said the Minister. “The clear message is that the whole process has to return to where it belongs, and that is the institutions of the Croatian society.”

Jokić said that it was clear that the curricular reform was important. “I think that after this meeting a few things have become clear. Education reform is very important, and I see this meeting as opening of dialogue. We insist on removing politics from the area of education. Political parties of different sizes seek to take advantage of this process. but this is not their process, this is a process of teachers, faculties, kindergarten teachers and others. I want to say that professionalism must always come before politics, otherwise this process will not continue”, said Jokić. Afterwards, Jokić confirmed that he and his team had not withdrawn their resignations, but added they were ready to help others for the reform to be continued.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović ended with an optimistic message. “I hope that we will find the best solution for the reform with a constructive dialogue”, she said.

Reacting to the Minister’s statement about protests being “a party”, the “Croatia Can Do Better” initiative issued a statement. “The protests are not a party, they are citizens’ demand that education must not be used for partisan bickering. People will show their support for the education reform process. This is the fourth time in the last six months that the process has been stopped, and therefore we do not see anything new in these statements of declarative support. It is obvious that Minister Šustar cannot handle his portfolio. Therefore, he should either resign or finally start protecting education and the reform process from political and interest pressures.”


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