Few months ago, Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports proposed new legislation concerning higher education, universities and science, which met with widespread opposition from members of the academia who viewed it as deeply flawed and harmful for Croatian science and education, as well as society in general. Now some members of the academic community are calling for a strike to express opposition to the proposed draft acts.
Initiative against Draft Acts on Higher Education, University and Science
In October 2010 the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports presented the draft acts on higher education, university and science which were met with severe opposition of the academic community. Most of the academic community, including the Faculty Council of the University of Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, completely rejected the drafts, stating them to be beyond repair. The drafts are to introduce:
1. further commercialization of science and higher education (e.g. their total subjugation to corporate interests which is particularly dangerous for humanities in the short term, and in the long term poses a threat to science, higher education and the whole society),
2. curbing of the university autonomy, political control over universities and science, university splits and further privatization of public education and public scientific institutes,
3. a completely unacceptable funding system for universities and scientific institutes based on the so-called Programme Contracts (which make the funding precarious and dependent on the outcomes of the negotiations with the Ministry for each three-year period),
4. a pyramidal system of work positions at the universities and institutes, which will block most of the academic workers from being promoted and force young scientists to leave the country, and
5. administrative enrolment fees instead of tuition fees, which will in effect draw additional funding directly from the pockets of students and citizens, making higher education even less accessible to widening layers of the society – which is exactly the contrary of the public needs, as well as the long standing demands of the Croatian students.
In spite of the opposition it is possible that the universities’ and institutes’ executives will give in to the government pressures and support the drafts with negligible changes.
The fundamental problems of the draft acts are not in specific regulations, but in the very intention behind them: if they are adopted, in whatever form, they will help bring down the Croatian science and higher education. Hence we have to decidedly and completely oppose them until their basic intention is changed.
How do we make the legislators hear our stance and take it into consideration? The most obvious and visible way is direct action: STRIKE of Croatian academic workers as a way of expressing disagreement with the new draft acts and the procedure of drafting and revising them.
To express solidarity and join the initiative, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/akadsolid/ (in Croatian)