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Croatia

OGP Sustainability (HR0040)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Croatia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Science and Education

Support Institution(s): Education and Teacher Training Agency OGP Initiative

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Croatia Transitional Results Report 2018-2020, Croatia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

ASSURING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVE
Implementation of the measure began on 1 May 2018 and will continue until 31 December 2019
Leader of the measure MINISTRY OF SCIENCE AND EDUCATION
Description of the measure
Which public issue does the measure address? The measure aims to increase the level of informedness on the goals of
the multilateral OGP Initiative, with a special emphasis on including
topics related to the importance of transparency, the fight against
corruption, and empowering citizens to use modern ITC technology, so
that public authority bodies at all levels will be enabled to function more
efficiently and with greater accountability. This will create the
prerequisites for the more efficient and innovative provision of public
services, that is, the management of public services, in the interest of
citizens in the education system.
What does the measure include? The measure includes inserting content linked to measures and activities
conduction within the multilateral OGP Initiative throughout the entire
curricular reforms for early and preschool, primary and secondary
education, with a special emphasis on the interdisciplinary Civic
Education and the curricular Politics and Economics subjects;
Competition for the award of non-returnable funds for projects by
associations in the area of children's and youth education outside
institutions; Including topics from the multilateral OGP Initiative in the
ongoing professional development of teachers and support staff; and
Including topics from the multilateral OGP Initiative in competitions and
festivals organised by the Education and Teacher Training Agency.
How does the measure contribute to resolving the public
issue?
The measure aims to increase the level of informedness on the goals
and values of the multilateral OGP Initiative among pupils, teachers and
support staff, and promote the active involvement of young people in
conducting activities linked to the OGP.
81
Why is this measure relevant to the values of the Open
Government Partnership?
The measure is relevant in general to informing young people about the
goals of the multilateral OGP Initiative and the importance of including
young people/citizens in its implementation in terms of education
(informing them about the goals, importance, and need to actively include
citizens).
Additional information The measure will be conducted within the framework of budget funds
allocated for the Ministry of Science and Education and the Education
and Teacher Training Agency.
Activities Implementation start date Implementation end date
15.1. Including the values and contents on which
the OGP Initiative is founded in the curricula for
Civic Education and Politics and Economics
May 2018 December 2019
Contact information
Person responsible in the body which is Leader of the
measure
Darko Tot
Function, department Head of Sector for Supporting the System and European Union
programmes
Email and telephone Darko.Tot@mzo.hr, +385 1 4594 446
Other participants
involved
State participants Education and Teacher Training Agency
OGP Initiative
82
NGOs, private sector,
multilaterals, working groups

IRM Midterm Status Summary

15. OGP Sustainability

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

"Measure 15. Assuring the Sustainability of the Open Government Partnership Initiative" [148]

"The measure aims to increase the level of informedness on the goals and values of the multilateral OGP Initiative among pupils, teachers and support staff, and promote the active involvement of young people in conducting activities linked to the OGP. (…)

The measure will be conducted within the framework of budget funds allocated for the Ministry of Science and Education and the Education and Teacher Training Agency."

Milestones:

15.1. Including the values and contents on which the OGP Initiative is founded in the curricula for Civic Education and Politics and Economics

Values and contents on which the OGP Initiative is founded, included in the curricula for Civic Education and Politics and Economics, particularly in the areas of anti-corruption, exercising the right to access information, and the inclusion and participation of citizens in decision-making processes.

Start date: 1 May 2018

End date: 31 December 2019

Context and Objectives

This commitment introduces open government values in the civic education curriculum. Civic education in Croatia has been highly debated for years, as evidenced by the fact that the same commitment was included in the second OGP national action plan. [149] CSOs dealing with human rights, anti-discrimination, anti-corruption, openness, and transparency advocated for civic education [150] to be introduced into schools as soon as possible. Pilot projects were launched [151] and good practices were used to improve the proposed curriculum. The program was originally expected to be a new school subject in September 2014, but this changed when a new Minister of Science, Education and Sport took office in June 2014; topics intended to be taught as a single subject are now cross-curricular. Several government and policy changes in 2016 [152] delayed implementation of the new curricula in schools, especially civic education.

According to independent studies [153] and CSO advocacy platforms such as the GOOD initiative, [154] civic education in Croatia is currently sporadic, without systematic efforts to include all school children; research suggests that Croatian youth deviate in a worrisome manner from the ideals of democratic political culture. [155]

The commitment includes OGP content into civic education curriculum for primary and secondary schools, and politics and economics curriculum in secondary schools. This will include anti-corruption, right of access to information, and civic participation in decision-making processes. Activities are more detailed than the OGP education commitment in the last action plan and include the following:

  • Including content linked to OGP in the comprehensive curricular reform for early and preschool, primary and secondary education, with special emphasis on the interdisciplinary Civic Education and the Politics and Economics courses;
  • Public call for proposals for CSO-led projects in the field of youth extra-institutional education;
  • Including topics from OGP in continuing professional development for teachers and support staff;
  • Including topics from OGP in competitions and festivals organised by the Education and Teacher Training Agency.

According to representative of the Ministry, [156] and confirmed by members of CSOs, [157] OGP values were included in the cross-curricular civic education course [158] and in the politics and economics course, [159] which will be taught to 490,000 students. Other mentioned activities are underway. However, the GOOD Initiative warns that with these changes, students’ education in civics, politics, and economics will be further condensed, exacerbating programs that have already been underdeveloped in the last four years of implementation; the commitment is therefore "a step back." [160]

This commitment is specific and verifiable and clearly directed toward increasing civic participation through civic education for youth. This commitment has a minor potential impact as the cross-curricular approach is a watered down version of the commitment from the second OGP action plan.

Next steps

The IRM researcher suggests that the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport considers the following recommendations:

  • The government should implement this commitment as envisaged, while striving to uphold all achieved democratic standards regarding transparent decision-making, respect for legal procedures, upholding the value of civic participation and accountability (this action plan); and
  • The Ministry of Science, Education and Sports could use results from this plan’s implementation to decide whether the chosen (cross-curricular) approach to civic education is optimal. Adjustments can then be made in the next plan.
[148] Editorial note: The text contained herein is the abridged version of the commitment. The full text is available at: Action Plan for Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in the Republic of Croatia up to 2020 (OGP, Dec. 2018), 80−82, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Croatia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf. [149] Government of the Republic of Croatia, Action Plan for Implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative in the Republic of Croatia for the Period 2014 to 2016 (OGP, Jul. 2014) 29 (Measure 12), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Action%20Plan-OGP-8-7-2014-final-ENG.pdf. [150] Kurikulum građanskog odgoja i obrazovanja (Education and Teacher Training Agency, Aug. 2012), https://www.azoo.hr/images/Kurikulum_gradanskog_odgoja_i_obrazovanja.pdf. [151] Pilot projects for civic education have been introduced in several cities across Croatia, most notably in Rijeka, Sisak, and Osijek. Dora Krsul, "This Croatian city follows the well-established footsteps of Rijeka and introduces Civic Education to primary schools" (srednja.hr, 15 Nov. 2017),  https://srednja.hr/zbornica/nastava/ovaj-hrvatski-grad-ide-dobro-utabanim-stopama-rijeke-uvodi-gradanski-odgoj-osnovne-skole/; Marko Mandic, "The Osijek to Goo Project is slowly coming to fruition: Civic Education for Teachers First" (civilnodrustvo.hr, 21 Aug. 2018), http://www.civilnodrustvo.hr/projekt-osijek-to-goo-polako-se-realizira-gradanski-odgoj-i-obrazovanje-najprije-za-nastavnike/. Also, it is interesting to mention that mentioned pilot projects are based on the project of the City of Rijeka. After years of discussions about the introduction of civics education into schools, Rijeka decided to implement it in all the schools it founded, and offered this model as well as manuals to all other founders free of charge, which initiated projects based on this model first in the County of Istria and five of its cities, followed by the cities of Sisak and Osijek. Rijeka’s model was also highlighted by the European Commission in its Education and Training Monitor for 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/document-library-docs/volume-1-2018-education-and-training-monitor-country-analysis.pdf, (Chapter 4) . [152] "List of cabinets of Croatia" (Wikipedia, 20 Sept. 2019), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cabinets_of_Croatia. [153] Berto Šalaj, U očekivanju Godota? Politika, demokracija i građanski odgoj i obrazovanje u Hrvatskoj (GOOD Initiative and GONG, Sept. 2018), http://oz.goo.hr/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/u_ocekivanju_godota_ObZ_GOOD.pdf; "Becoming Citizens in the Changing World" (The International Civic and Citizenship Education Study 2016), https://www.educacionyfp.gob.es/inee/dam/jcr:5f05a2fd-6ced-44ae-87b1-05d488aa9345/ICCS_2016_INFORME%20INTERNACIONAL.pdf [154] The GOOD Initiative brings together CSOs dealing with informal education and human rights and advocates a systematic and quality introduction of education and training for human rights and democratic citizenship into the educational system (http://goo.hr/). It started an advocacy platform, "Obrazovna zviždaljka," that deals with issues in the education system in general, including civic education (http://oz.goo.hr/kljucna-podrucja/). See also "Education reform or a policy ground for political influence?" (GOOD Initiative, 25 May 2018), https://goo.hr/reforma-obrazovanja-ili-poligon-za-politicke-utjecaje/. [155] See "Thousands of Croatians protest for education free of politics" (Reuters, 2 Jun. 2016), http://hrvatskamozebolje.org/5542/reuters-thousands-of-croatians-protest-for-education-free-of-politics/. Berto Šalaj states that "no Croatian government, whether left or right" considered civics education an important segment of the education system and notes that the public advocacy by the academic community, CSOs, teachers, and professors has not produced the desired result. Berto Šalaj, U očekivanju Godota? Politika, demokracija i građanski odgoj i obrazovanje u Hrvatskoj (GOOD Initiative and GONG, Sept. 2018), http://oz.goo.hr/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/u_ocekivanju_godota_ObZ_GOOD.pdf. This was also true of strong social and political pressures on political elites through public demonstrations and protests like "Croatia can do better" (Hrvatska može bolje) held in June 2016 and 2017. [156] Darko Tot (representative of the Ministry of Science and Education and point person in the leading institution), OGP Council meeting held 18 Feb. 2019. [157] Mario Bajkuša (Forum for Free Education) confirmed that the adopted curricula include the stated OGP values (OGP Council meeting, 18 Feb. 2019). [158] "Odluka o donošenju kurikuluma za međupredmetnu temu Građansko odgoj i obrazovanje za osnovne i srednje škole u Republici Hrvatskoj" Official Gazette 10/2019 (Narodne novine, 10/2019), https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2019_01_10_217.html [159] Ministry of Science and Education, "Decision on adopting the curriculum for the cross-curricular theme Civic Education for Primary and Secondary Schools in the Republic of Croatia," Official Gazette 10/2019 (Narodne novine, 29 Jan. 2019), https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2019_01_7_159.html. [160] "New Civic Education Curriculum - A New Step Backward" (The GOOD Initiative, 8 Feb. 2019), http://goo.hr/novi-kurikulum-gradanskog-odgoja-i-obrazovanja-novi-korak-unatrag/.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

15. OGP Sustainability

Completion: Substantial

As planned, and according to the representative of the Ministry of Science and Education, [86] and several leading CSOs for education-related issues, [87] the cross-curricular Civic Education course, [88] and the Politics and Economics course [89] curriculum in 2019 included OGP-related topics and values. They will be taught to 490,000 primary and secondary school students, and other mentioned activities are underway. [90] OGP-relevant topics include human rights, responsibility and active citizenship, corruption risks and fighting corruption, financial, digital, and media literacy, technology, and ICT. However, the GOOD Initiative [91] warns that with making it a cross-curricular topic rather than an individual course, students will receive watered down content of a program that has already been underdeveloped, making it “a step back.” [92] The Education and Teacher Training Agency plans to continue professional development activities from cross-curricular topics through collaborative planning, teaching and learning, and regular integration of OGP-values related topics.

[86] Darko Tot, the person responsible for this commitment within the Ministry of Science and Education reported on the status of the commitment at the OGP Council meeting. Gov. Ofc. for Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations, “Zapisnik S 4. sjednice savjeta inicijative partnerstvo za otvorenu vlast” [Minutes from the 4th session of the Open Government Partnership Initiative Council].
[87] Mario Bajkuša, from the Forum za slobodu odgoja (Forum for Free Education), confirmed that the adopted curricula include the stated OGP values. Id. This was confirmed by Dražen Hoffman (GONG) in an email interview conducted by the IRM researcher on 16 Nov. 2020.
[88] Ministry of Science and Education, “Odluka o donošenju kurikuluma za međupredmetnu temu Građansko odgoj i obrazovanje za osnovne i srednje škole u Republici Hrvatskoj” [Decision on the adoption of the curriculum for the cross-curricular topic Civic education for primary and secondary schools in the Republic of Croatia] (Official Gazette, Oct. 2019), https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2019_01_10_217.html.
[89] Ministry of Science and Education, “Odluka o donošenju kurikuluma za nastavni predmet Politike i gospodarstva za gimnazije u Republici Hrvatskoj” [Decision on the adoption of the curriculum for the subject of Politics and Economics for grammar schools in the Republic of Croatia] (Official Gazette Jul. 2019), https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2019_01_7_159.html.
[90] Government of the Republic of Croatia, Croatia End-of-Term Self-Assessment 2018-2020.
[91] The GOOD Initiative brings together civil society organizations dealing with informal education and human rights. They advocate for a systematic and quality introduction of education and training on human rights and democratic citizenship into the educational system (http://goo.hr/). The GOOD Initiative started an advocacy platform named “Obrazovna zviždaljka” (Education whistle) that deals with issues in the education system in general, including civic education. Good Initiative, “Obrazovna zviždaljka” [Education whistle] (accessed 4 May, 2021), http://oz.goo.hr/kljucna-podrucja/. See also, GOOD Initiative, “Reforma obrazovanja ili poligon za političke utjecaje” [Education reform or a testing ground for political influence?] (25 May 2018), https://goo.hr/reforma-obrazovanja-ili-poligon-za-politicke-utjecaje/.
[92] Good Initiative, “Novi kurikulum Građanskog odgoja i obrazovanja – novi korak unatrag” [A new curriculum for Civic Education - a new step backwards] (GOOD Initiative, 8 Feb. 2019), http://goo.hr/novi-kurikulum-gradanskog-odgoja-i-obrazovanja-novi-korak-unatrag/; N1 Croatia, “GOOD Inicijativa: Novi kurikulum Građanskog odgoja – novi korak unatrag” [GOOD Initiative: A new Civic Education curriculum - a new step backwards] (Aug. 2019), http://hr.n1info.com/Vijesti/a368978/GOOD-Inicijativa-Novi-kurikulum-Gradjanskog-odgoja-novi-korak-unatrag.html.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership