“The democratic deficit affects all of us – each February while we are doing our taxes, at every job interview when asked if we are planning a pregnancy soon“, Marko Kovačić pointed out while emphasising that “the results of two of this year’s researches carried out by the GOOD Initiative are worrying – 19.7% of youth can’t tell whom the ruling coalition consists of, 60% of them think that Croats should have more rights in Croatia than other nationalities, and as many as 52% aren’t familiar with how cabinet members are appointed.
According to the aforementioned researches, only 55% of citizens understand issues that the Republic of Croatia is facing, 44% do show no interest in politics, only 40% would be willing to take action to change legislation which is harmful to the community, and most are prone to relativizing the right of asylum, the right of association and the rights of national minorities.
In Dalmatia, especially the City of Split, the situation is similar as in the rest of Croatia, said Darko Čop from the organization Info zona: “Experiences with the work of student councils aren’t that great. Also, in the Youth council, there is a misbalance between the expectations towards the youth and the way they are prepared for participation. There is an expectation that young people should be agents of change, but they are not receiving adequate training.” Determination for introducing civic education is lacking on all levels, which is apparent at the local level in the expectation that young people should know exactly which administrative services to approach, while these same institutions do not even recognize youth’s problems.
“The current refugee crisis, as well as the reactions of our society to it, are an indication for why it is important to introduce a high-quality Civic Education programme into schools”, Emina Bužinkić of the GOOD Initiative pointed out, adding that all stakeholders – the media, religious institutions, the educational system and families have failed as social agents. “We as a society must exit the closed circle, become a part of global processes and show solidarity when it is asked of us”, concluded Bužinkić.
Since curricular reform is an opportunity for developing civic and other competencies of youth, the GOOD Initiative supports it and advocates that priority should be placed on the democratic governance of schools and educational institutions, primarily the Croatian Education and Teacher Training Agency., as well as the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports.
The improper model of implementing Civic Education has created an even deeper polarization regarding civic education itself, which is why the GOOD Initiative expects the Ministry and Agency to publish the results of the experimental implementation of Civic Education – both the cross-curricular implementation and the separate subject which was implemented last year in around 30 schools.