Education dispute in Croatia
More than 50,000 people demonstrated for educational reform in Croatia on Wednesday. The protest was sparked by the resignation of the group of experts responsible for coordinating the reform in recent months. Convened by the previous government, the group had complained of influence peddling by the current national-conservative government. Commentators hope society will make its voice heard.
Croatians finally taking control of their fate
The mass protests against government interference in the independent committee's work show that Croatians are finally awakening from their lethargy, Novi list believes:
“The Croatians have never been known as big demonstrators in the past. But with their surprisingly widespread protests they sent a clear message to the politicians yesterday: we won't stand by and watch as our future is lost any longer. The citizens are no longer willing to accept Croatia's economic, social and political decline, which the new government is accelerating. The demonstrations testify to broad-based opposition. Teachers and grassroots organisations took the initiative and have been followed by trade unions, employees and many citizens. The best thing about all this was to see so many young people at the demonstrations. It is good that they want to fight for their own country to improve rather than packing their bags and setting off to seek greener pastures elsewhere.”
Government and Church dividing society
The Croatian government has put its national-conservative stamp on the country's education reform and wants to make the Church once again the custodian of the people, the daily Delo criticises:
“Many school representatives blame Education Minister Predrag Šustar for tailoring the process of school reform to his own policies, which have been silently agreed on with the Catholic Church. It looks as if the Church wants to be the custodian of the Croatian people once more. The upshot, however, is merely to deepen the divide between 'us and them'. The right's agitprop and its endorsement of the Church's principles is becoming loud and aggressive. Those who won't go along with this have no alternative but to proclaim their dissatisfaction at the top of their voice. In Croatia as elsewhere, culture and education have a strong influence on society. That's why our leaders want to have a finger in every pie.”