ZAGREB, November 9, 2020 – Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Monday that the epidemiological situation in the education system was relatively good and that universities could switch to online lectures within 24 hours.
The situation at Croatian universities is relatively good today, however, in case of any request to switch to online, I can say with full responsibility that all universities and its components are prepared to go online within 24 hours, Minister Fuchs said.
Sending a larger number of students home could additionally increase the spread of the virus
It is necessary, however, to estimate whether switching to online lectures will bring the desired results, primarily, to reduce the pressure on the health system as sending a larger number of students to their homes because as many as 20,000 students studying in Zagreb come from outside Zagreb, could increase the spread of the virus.
The situation is not dramatic for now but if a well-reasoned decision is made that will indicate that that could be effective, we can recommend it (online teaching) to universities in a very short time, he said.
The minister said that some universities have already introduced hybrid approaches to lectures with professors in lecture rooms while students are attend lectures online.
He admitted that it is complicated to transfer some study programmes to online lectures such as at medical schools, schools of dental medicine, faculties of veterinary medicine and so on.
Fuchs presented some data on the coronavirus incidence among undergraduates and university staff and professors.
For instance, the University of Zagreb has registered 235 positive students, which is 0.3% of the total number of its students, and there are currently 90 employees diagnosed with this infectious disease, or 1.2%.
The University of Osijek, for example, has 67 students diagnosed with the disease, that is 0.43% of its student population and 14 employees (0.05%).
The University of Pula has five positive employees and has no data on students as they are attending online lessons.
The situation at schools is a little more stable and we can see that the number of children infected with the virus is falling. On 28 October, there were 1,440 pupils infected with coronavirus in the whole of Croatia, while today that number is 1,119, said Fuchs.