CEA and Hanza Media round table: The labor market and the education system (and unfavorable demographic trends)


Zagreb, September 1 2016 - A panel discussion was held today organized by the Croatian Employers Association (HUP) and publisher Hanza Media at the premises of the CEA and as fourth in a series of roundtables on the eve of the upcoming elections titled "Health".

The discussion was held as part of the "Real questions" which were launched by editions Hanza media including Jutarnji list, Slobodna Dalmacija and Globus. As part of this project and based on the document "CEA's 7" which we presented to the public and headed the parliamentary parties at the press conference, there will be four round tables and final conference at which the employers and representatives of political parties to discuss possible solutions to the key problems limiting economic growth. "CEA's 7" is actually a selection of the highest priority among the "CEA's 16" key questions that we sent the parties on the eve of the previous elections. Then the parties did not give satisfactory, but only general answers about the ways in which they intended to solve the most important problems that hinder economic recovery and growth. Therefore, we re-sent our questions but now we chose among them those that we believe are of the highest priority and that need urgent attention right away in the first year of the mandate. Of course, we expect that and other questions in the coming years of the mandate because we believe that without it is not possible to achieve long-term, sustainable growth.
As part of the discussion, moderated by Gojko Drljaca (Hanza Media), a panel was held which was attended by experts, representatives of the Employers' Association and representatives of the three largest political options. Before the beginning of the panel, a short introductory speech was held by Davor Majetić, general director of CEA, during which he said: "The average work time today takes on five to seven years and if within that period you don't learn anything new, you lose your job. This is a trend and we have to be ready. According to our analysis, the labor market is the most problematic sector because it changes the least. We expect serious changes from the new government."

Majetić warned that the labor market can change very quickly and the results will arrive fast, but in education a change is only visible through a wider period of time.
At the panel discussion, on behalf of CEA spoke Mislav Balković, president of the CEA Association of Employers in Education, dean of the College Algebra. In the name of political options, spoke Tomislav Coric and Đuro Njavro, HDZ, Neven Budak and Mirando Mrsic, Narodna Koalicija i Petra Mandic, MOST Nezavisnih Lista

Former Labour Minister Mirando Mrsic (SDP) said at the round table that our labor market is suffering from chronic structural unemployment, or disproportion between the needs of the labor market and the educational process: from the educational process we get people who are not competent to jump immediately to the work process, and they need a year to cope. However, stated Mrsic, things began to change and from the bottom of the scale of youth unemployment in Europe, with new measures such as vocational training, Croatia jumped six places above - said Mrsic.

HDZ's economic expert Tomislav Coric believes that what we most need to worry about is the fact that 60 percent of the unemployed have secondary education. This is a huge pool of people whose bid should cover the labor market through retraining or additional education - Coric said that the Bavarian model of dual education is considered the best in the world.

Head of Strategy of Education, Science and Technology in Croatia, prof. Neven Budak, also SDP, considered making the necessary new measures of vocational schools.
- This is something that no one has yet ventured, and includes the closing of a number of redundant schools. However, this process also provides for the creation of centers of expertise. These are properly equipped county centers with quality lecturing staff - explained Budak who believes that Croatia should finally decide we needed professions at secondary and tertiary level.
Đuro Njavro, HDZ, economic expert and dean of ZSEM, agrees that it is necessary to change the structure of the university.

The causes of high youth unemployment, says Mislav Balković, a representative of the employers in education at HUP and Dean of College Algebra, lie in the answers to two basic questions. Do we educate young people for professions that labor markets need and do we provide during that time a training content that is required and competitive.
- We can not expect any change in enrollment policy that would include more specific professors or their retraining. Specific consequence illustrates an example of my profession. Croatia has 40 schools for technicians in computer science. You know what's the second most common workplace where they get their jobs? Restaurants (as waiters) - says Balković.

He points out that a number of initiated measures to reduce unemployment gives questionable results. In 2011, about 15 thousand unemployed with the stock exchange were sent to additional training. It was, he adds, purely political move to administratively reduce the number of unemployed in the stock market, and where the profession is sharply opposed.

Heated debate at the round table was on the issue whether to publish a list of the best high schools. Neven Budak is opposed to this idea, wondering which would be the goal and that would be the criteria rankings.
- If the quality of schools evaluated on the basis of the results of the state graduation we would get a ranking list of the best geeks, because the State Graduation just comes down to it, the ability to memorize facts. In addition, when we ranked school on the good, medium and bad, and if the good students go to a good, medium to mediocre schools and bad in the bad, it is clear that the bad students would be forever ruined. Hungarians have tried this and the result was disastrous - considered Budak.
Njavro considers just the opposite. He says the State Graduation is a perfect criteria for evaluating schools, because it is equally imperfect for all. - So you knew the schools which have good teams, and the 10 worst shift management school.

The debate continued on the importance of vocational education and competencies that students must have after graduation. Petra Mandić from MOST said: - The student who completes the painting school, and if he finds himself an adequate practice, knows how to paint the room, but will not know how to become an entrepreneur. The current number of entrepreneurs can't generate growth and we need young people to become entrepreneurs and learn how to open crafts - Mandic says.

Representatives of political parties have agreed that the vocational education in Croatia should be dual modeled on the German system. - We believe that the dominant must be based on practice. The model that we represent is the model 3 + 2, where the student spends three days on practice, and two days learning theory - says Coric (HDZ).
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