9.4 Raising awareness about global issues
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As stated in the Primary and Secondary School Education Act (Zakon o odgoju i obrazovanju u osnovnoj i srednjoj školi), with the last amendments adopted in 2020, the goals and principles of education in Croatia include the following goals:
- education according to general cultural and civilizational values, human rights and children’s rights
- training students to live in a multicultural world
- respecting diversity and tolerance
- active and responsible participation in the democratic development of society
The National Youth Programme 2014 - 2017 attempted to improve the existing system of formal education and strengthen the synergy of the public sector with the economic and non-profit sectors, with special emphasis on non-formal education and expansion of the youth work field. Special attention was given to:
- the development of social and civil competencies through civil education which provide young people with the means to successfully fulfill their civil role and advance society as a whole
- promoting a culture of non-violence on the level of primary and secondary education
In formal education, global problems are included in all education levels, most often with an interdisciplinary approach because of their nature. Primary and secondary education covers these problems across varied subjects (Science and social studies, geography, biology, sociology, psychology, politics and economy, Croatian language and literature, history).
The proposed national curriculum for gymnasium education (Prijedlog nacionalnog kurikuluma za gimnazijsko obrazovanje) as part of the comprehensive education reform envisages further development of new content and methods. For example, in the humanities and social sciences area of curriculum, the following topics are envisaged:
- Man in the world – the students are introduced to basic views on life, religion, and ethics and their dependence on the cultural-temporal context
- Man in communities – the students learn about the individuals’ position in social structures and processes, and the mutual influence of individuals and society in the past and present, on levels ranging from the personal and local, to the global community; they research the position of Croatian society in relation to social processes and discover their own identity, with strong emphasis on developing awareness about belonging to the Croatian and European cultural circle and cultivating the basic values of contemporary democratic society. They critically consider different interests present in the community, engage in creating their own living conditions by contributing to the community in which they live, promoting human rights, participating in the social, cultural, economic, and political development of society. They research and learn about the social, political, cultural, religious, and other diversity in the community, and train for interpersonal and intercultural cooperation by cultivating social values
Global problems are mostly learned through the interdisciplinary subjects Civic education for primary and secondary schools in the Republic of Croatia (Kurikulum međupredmetne teme Građanski odgoj i obrazovanje za osnovne i srednje škole) and cross-cultural topic Sustainable Development (Kurikulum za međupredmetnu temu Održivi razvoj za osnovne i srednje škole).
Informal and non-formal learning
The Catalogue of non-formal education programmes in human rights and democratic citizenship implemented by civil society organizations in Croatia (Croatian version of the document) has the goal to improve cooperation and partnership among actors engaged in the formal and non-formal education in Croatia. This Catalogue presents information gathered by the National Foundation for Civil Society Development through their call in 2004. The call was for parties interested in attending educational training/modules in 2004 and 2005.
Best example of an initiative active in this field is the GOOD Initiative (GOOD Inicijativa). Initiative aims at the systematic and quality implementation of education in human rights and democratic citizenship into educational institutions. It is comprised of 60 civil society organizations developing educational programmes and cooperating with schools. Educational programmes are implemented by:
Central State Office for Demography and Youth is obliged for implementation of the Council of Europe youth campaign Democracy Here. Democracy Now. for Croatia. Their role is to co-ordinate local and national activities in Croatia about revitalizing democracy and for strengthening mutual trust between young people and democratic institutions and processes. Currently there are no any national or local activities, except for the delegation of young representatives to the Campaign activities outside Croatia (e.g., Youth Action Week).
Scout Association of Croatian (Savez izviđača Hrvatske) organized working with scout groups in 5 counties to help the hardest hit communities by the earthquake (2020 and 2021, Croatia) in need by providing services aimed at getting life back to normal. Volunteer scouts have collected toys and educational materials, to rebuild capacity and encourage children and young people to continue with their education by creating over 50 “Happy Centres”. Through the national “Happy Centre” campaign the project “Rebuilding and Helping the Community” has created a safe space where toys and educational materials are distributed, and children and young people can interact with each other.
The Central State Office for Demography and Youth is obliged for ensuring representatives of youth-led and for youth organizations, as well as governmental bodies to participate in relevant activities on EU level and Council of Europe levels. They are continuously providing information for young people about opportunities and resources to participate in different activities on global issues throughs several communication channels:
Mladi.hr is a portal for youth whose goal is to inform young people about opportunities and initiatives at the European and national level, but also about numerous other topics and interesting things.
Informing young people about global issues on the formal education level is the responsibility of the Ministry of Science and Education.
The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development occasionally has campaigns focused on the youth, relating to the environment, sustainable development and similar topics. Celebration of World Consumers Rights Day on March 15th (2019) under the Ministries’ organization was related to the trends of the modern age, entitled "Smart with smart technologies - Consumer protection in the digital world" (Pametno s pametnim tehnologijama - Zaštita potrošača u digitalnom svijetu“). Special emphasis was placed on the young population, which is also the most exposed to new digital technologies.
The Association of Youth Information Centres in Croatia (Zajednica informativnih centara za mlade u Hrvatskoj) is a non-profit NGO founded in 2008 in Zagreb with the aim of developing a quality youth information system in the Republic of Croatia. The Association is a national umbrella organization for youth information work, and its target groups are youth information centres and NGOs providing youth information.
On other levels, information is provided to youth by different associations, agencies, projects and similar means.
The Ministry of Science and Education founded the annual “Luka Ritz” festival in memory of the tragically deceased boy and all other girls and boys who were victims of violence. Since 2008, a public call has been issued to all schools and student dormitories in Croatia to submit proposals for the "Luka Ritz" award for promoting tolerance and violence-free schools. Since then, every year all primary and secondary educational institutions in the Republic of Croatia can nominate students who promote tolerance and humane and non-violent behavior.
In 2017, the Croatian Parliament announced the Pink Shirt Day as the National Peer Violence Day, which takes place every last Wednesday in February. Pink Shirt Day is marked both globally and nationally in Croatia in all interested primary and secondary schools.
The project "Youth for Sustainable Development in Lika" was launched in 2019 by the Lika Destination Cluster with the aim of contributing to the creation of awareness of the needs of sustainable development through the activities and strengthening of civil society organizations in the area of Lika-Senj County.
"Sustainable development of society starts with young people!" is a project led by the organization Life Potential by which civil society organizations contribute to the development of competences and active participation of young people in the field of sustainable development by establishing a partnership of civil society organizations, schools and local communities in raising awareness of sustainable development.
The program “EKO LAB” was launched in 2019 by the Association Zona. Established EKO LAB was a place of learning, knowledge exchange and experimentation for the purpose of developing critical thinking, creativity and innovation of young people. The program was implemented through cooperation with schools, civil society, scientists and the community, in order to create the conditions for the joint creation of a more sustainable and responsible future. The activities are carried out through a concrete example of the problem of plastic waste.