The civil society group "Croatia Can Do Better - Without You" on Thursday held a protest outside the government headquarters in Zagreb, repeating its demand that the integral curricular reform continue and that an early parliamentary election be held at which 21st century education would be a strategic priority.
Several hundred citizens, including leaders of some trade unions and numerous members of expert groups working on the curricular reform, said the current government was ignoring the reform.
A professor at the Faculty of Political Science, Berto Salaj, said that the government had decided "to euthanise the educational reform, thus humiliating citizens and all experts who have worked on it." He called for an election that would be preceded by a campaign in which all political actors would have the opportunity to state their position on education.
We have to tell those who do not care about the future of education that this country does not need them and that they have no political future, Salaj said.
Miljenko Hajdarovic and Josip Klicinovic, members of expert groups that worked on the curricular reform, said that 500 experts had worked on the reform for a year, visiting schools around the country and consulting with their colleagues to integrate their positions in future programmes that were submitted to the Education Ministry.
The programmes are still at the ministry, 'waiting for Godot", they said, adding that some politicians and media outlets humiliated people who had worked on the reform and called them "meal ticket seekers, Yugoslavs and ignoramuses."
Regardless of the current stalemate, it will not be possible to stop the reform in the future, they said.
Reporter and activist Ana Brakus opposed "the increased political control of society, clericalism at Croatian Radio and Television, and the restriction of the freedom of speech."
Student Kristijan Oreskovic said that more than 650,000 students were caught in the trap of an education system that discouraged rather than inspired them.
Speakers at the protest also said that Croatia could do without politicians but not without citizens and called on politicians to be responsible to citizens.