Since school years 2016/2017, the City of Rijeka has enabled pupils attending higher grades of elementary school to attend classes of Civic Education.
For the mentioned programme, the City of Rijeka has prepared a textbook for pupils.
The implementation of Civic Education is based on the model of a very successful programme “Moja Rijeka/My Rijeka“, as an extracurricular activity.
Civic Education classes in schools in Rijeka are held from one to two times weekly, with a maximum annual fund of 70 lessons in higher grades (5th to 8th grade). The subject is introduced gradually, in a manner that it is first introduced in the fifth grades, and it is planned to continually implement it until the end of elementary school education.
Textbook for pupils “The Pupil, Citizen”
In school year 2015/2016, preparatory activities were implemented in order to realise this programme. The textbook was drawn up for pupils that covers all aspects of Civic Education, and topics were formed in an adequate manner, that is interesting and close to pupils. In 2017, the textbook was upgraded, in accordance with recommendations arising from the evaluation of the first, experimental year of its implementation.
In order to continue the implementation of this successful programme, during school year 2017/2018 the textbook titled “Pupils, citizens: informed, active and responsible” for 6th and 7th grade pupils was prepared that also includes all aspects of civic education.
These are the first textbooks of its kind in Croatia, in the preparation of which many participants were included, from civil society organisations, employees of the University of Rijeka to teachers-programme performers and schools.
The City of Rijeka provides free manuals and other materials for the implementation of Civic Education in schools
Having in mind the necessity of implementing Civic Education as a separate subject in order to develop a better society, the City of Rijeka provides all materials for the implementation of this programme free of charge to all local and regional self-government units, i.e. all schools that express interest or decide to implement the programme.
Namely, in addition to manuals and the accompanying civic maps for students, the Rijeka model of civic education also includes the guidelines for programme implementation and for using the manual. The guidelines are intended for teachers and they define education outcomes, acquired civic skills, developed civic values, and a description and structure of activities for students.
The Guidelines have been drawn up in accordance with the draft Civic Curriculum for elementary and secondary education dating back to 2014. Such harmonisation was carried out in order to systematise Civic Education, namely with the purpose of creating a model that can serve as a concrete finished product at national level, when introducing the programme, should this happen.
Namely, all materials are written in such a manner that they are applicable to all towns, cities and counties in Croatia and are not related to Rijeka in terms of contents or activities.
In March 2017, the project of the City of Rijeka Civic Education was awarded a recognition by the Association of Cities for innovation and best practice in local self-government INpuls. The same year, the Association of Cities, within recognition award called INpuls, declared the “Rijeka model” of Civic Education the best one in the category “A City of Citizens”, the category with the most nominated cities and projects. The European Commission particularly highlighted the “Rijeka model” of Civic Education in the published analysis of education and training policies in EU Member States. The City of Rijeka won the “Cities for Equality” award for the “Rijeka Model” of Civic Education in 2019 as the best rated city for particularly prominent practice in the field of equality by the Croatian Legal Centre and the Association of Cities within the Cities for Equality Project.
In view of the fact that today we meet a low level of political literacy among young people, non-democratic attitudes, strengthening of non-tolerance and exclusion and lack of knowledge and skills necessary in everyday life, the introduction of Civic Education in schools in Rijeka should serve, among others, as an incentive for the competent ministry to introduce this subject in the education system of all schools.
The goal of introducing Civic education is to encourage young people to higher participation in the community, respecting diversity, taking an active role when pleading for human rights, sustainable development and, in general, for society democratisation.
Civic education is one of the basic pillars of democratic society and its implementation in the formal education system should be considered a necessity because in this way it becomes easily accessible to all pupils, thus enabling them to become responsible and active members of society. An important aspect of Civic Education includes teaching of young people how to apply the acquired knowledge and skills in everyday life, once they finish school. Research shows that many of them do not know the difference between current and giro accounts, they do not know how to deal with their parents’ divorce and whom to apply in the event that their rights are violated. Civic Education, among others, should respond to all these issues.