State Secretary doc. dr. sc. Iva Ivanković participated in informal meeting of ministers for education and youth in Zaragoza on 18-19 September 2023

Within the framework of the working session Boosting transitions, successful experiences and completion of higher education for disadvantaged students, it was discussed how EU member states and institutions can further improve access of students with disadvantaged backgrounds considering the persistent inequalities, as well as encourage institutional change to create “an inclusive environment in higher education that fosters equity and diversity, and is responsive to the needs of local communities”, and thus improve completion of disadvantaged students. State Secretary Ivanković presented the new National plan for enhancing social dimension in higher education for the period 2023-2025, a document that contains 10 principles and guidelines completed with adequate measures. She also pointed out that, with a view to improving access of students with disadvantaged backgrounds, it is essential to have a strategic approach at national level as well as harmonized measures connecting all levels of education. 

Additionally, Ms Ivanković specified that Croatia strongly supports fostering mobility of disadvantaged students, notably within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme.

The second working session focused on the issue of how education can foster democratic citizenship and common EU values. The State Secretary emphasized that citizenship education empowers young people to interact effectively, think critically, and act democratically. She also added that in Croatia this educational approach has been integrated as a cross-curricular topic obligatory for all students in primary and secondary education, with the goal of preparing them for being active and responsible citizens. As being key to promoting common values and democratic citizenship, Ms Ivanković pointed out relevance, awareness of the new media, EU-funded initiatives and teacher empowerment. 

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