Thursday, February 20, 2003

With Such Youth…

2001 census showed the drop of education levels among Croatian population. Situation isn't likely to improve in the near future, at least according to the data published by Professor Vinko Bajrović (Vinko Bajrovic), expert consultant within Split Institute for Education Improvement.

Out of 40137 pupils attending high schools in Dalmatia, 16470 (or 42%) failed the first semester of 2002/03 academic year. 218 pupils dropped out of school. Bajrović's study also notes widespread practice of cutting classes.

Some might interpret this data with the flaws in Croatian education system, which, like almost anything in this country, leaves much to be desired. But the real problem is not in the underpaid, overworked and often disinterested teachers nor it is in the high school curricula, still burdened with the legacy of Tudjman's era. The real problem is poor motivation among pupils.

Young men who attend Croatian high schools don't see education as a way to get ahead in life. And there are good reasons for them to think so. Their parents and older brothers who had taken educations seriously only saw their faculty diplomas as one-way ticket towards unemployment lines.

On the other hand, Ivica Kostelić (Ivica Kostelic), one of the rare Croatians who managed to get himself rich in past few years, never bothered to finish high school, thus giving a very clear message to youth that education represents nothing more than waste of money.

Of course, lack of Kostelić's formal education didn't prevent one of Croatian state television commentators to describe Croatian ski superstar (who barely escaped the wrath of world's public for his pro-Nazi views) as "refined intellectual". Hardly anyone in Croatia noticed or even bother to comment on this ludicrous statement. Ignorance and lack of education are becoming new Croatian standards.


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