President Milanović Endorses Need to Regulate School Principal Profession

05. October 2021.

On the occasion of observing World Teachers’ Day, the President of the Republic Zoran Milanović met in the Office of the President with the principals of primary and secondary schools, representatives of the Croatian Association of Primary School Principals and the Association of Croatian Secondary School Principals.

The ways in which the primary and secondary education system in Croatia could be improved, as well as the status of school principals, were among the topics of the meeting. The delegation of primary and secondary school principals informed President Milanović of the difficulties they face in daily work. The unresolved status of school principals was highlighted as a major issue, notably the need to make the job of school principal a profession, which is currently not the case, and this was described as an existential matter by the delegation. President Milanović endorsed the delegation’s position, agreeing that lawmakers should regulate the school principal profession.

Speaking about the conditions that hinder their work, the delegation mentioned the licensing and election/re-election of school principals on the basis of work quality criteria, the non-existence of an assistant principal position, non-incentive wages (especially for junior school principals), discrepancies between school principals’ powers and responsibilities, and the non-fulfilment of substantive rights upon entering retirement.

Primary and secondary school principals also drew the President’s attention to a teacher shortage problem, especially the lack of teachers of vocational subjects and STEM teachers, as well as assistant faculty and technical staff. They believe it is necessary to legalize, as soon as possible, the employment of retired teachers. It was mentioned that only retirees from the education sector are currently not permitted to return to work.

The delegation of the Croatian Association of Primary School Principals comprised Association President and Primary School Novska Principal Antonija Mirosavljević and Association Secretary General and Primary School Antun Gustav Matoš Zagreb Principal Antonio Jurčev. The delegation of the Association of Croatian Secondary School Principals comprised Association President and Zagreb Administrative School Principal Suzana Hitrec, Association Secretary and Velika Gorica Gymnasium Principal Brankica Žugaj, and Member of the Association’s Supervisory Board and 2nd Gymnasium Zagreb Principal Drago Bagić.

Adviser to the President of the Republic for Education Jadranka Žarković was alongside President Milanović.

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Marko Beljan