The head of a team of experts working on an integral curricular reform, Boris Jokic, and his team on Wednesday tendered irrevocable resignations due to political pressure, saying their decision was final and non-negotiable.

"At this moment we don't have the impression that there is support for us as a group and trust in us as people to continue with this process. We were fully for dialogue, we were even ready to have this working group expanded. However, we can't agree to political influence, either from the left, the right or the centre. Professionals must always come before politics," Jokic told a news conference.

"The political pressure is simple in this case. The parliamentary (science) committee adopted a decision to expand the working group in certain fields, which wouldn't have been a problem had it somehow been communicated. However, what (the decision) says the group should do doesn't match the description and nature of what this reform has been from the start. Those conclusions say that the group should determine what to accept in expert discussions and what not to, which actually points to certain censorship procedures and returns us to the time of communism, when the morally suitable were appointed to certain councils," Jokic said.

If politics dictates the education reform and what professionals should do, nothing will come of it, he added.

Jokic said he spoke to Education Minister Predrag Sustar shortly before the news conference and that he believed that "Minister Sustar wants this change."

"Unfortunately, the political moment in Croatia is such that marginal options can impact matters which should be of national importance. If the dominating political parties, first and foremost the HDZ, the SDP and Bridge, don't unanimously agree that a change of education is necessary, then we don't stand a chance in the long term and marginal political structures and parties can impact very important processes in the future of this country," Jokic said.

Asked if he was referring to Hrast, a minor partner in the HDZ-led ruling coalition, he said he was. "People must come before documents and therefore we ask that Minister Sustar relieve of duties the leader and members of the expert working group... We hope this society will find the strength to continue the (curricular reform) process and we as people are willing to help... and will do our best so that it survives."

Jokic said that after 16 months of working on the reform, he was confident that "Croatian education has shown with this process that it can do better. This country can do better and will certainly succeed in that." He said the basic prerequisites were professionals before politics and people before documents and politics.

He also thanked everyone who took part in and supported his team's work, including President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.