Croatian Ministry Recommends School Trips to WWII Jasenovac Camp

The Science and Education Ministry told BIRN on Wednesday that it will recommend that Croatian schools organise visits to the Jasenovac Memorial Site as part of pupils' civic education studies from the start of the next school year.

"Therefore schools, if they decide [to do] that activity, can put [it] in their school curriculum," the ministry said.

Last year, of a total of 909 primary schools in Croatia, only seven of them organised visits for pupils to Jasenovac, while only eight of the country's 401 high schools did so.

According to the Jasenovac Memorial Site, the WWII fascist Ustasa regime killed over 83,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascists at the camp between 1941 and 1945, but right-wing revisionists claim the death toll was much lower.

Civic education, the study of citizenship, has been an extracurricular subject in Croatia until now, and schools were not obliged to teach it. But as local media reported on Monday, it will be mandatory in all schools from the next school year.

But the Science and Education Ministry noted that it is up to individual schools whether to send pupils on Jasenovac study trips.

"We are noting that schools decide independently on activities outside the school. Specifically, according to the provisions of the Law on Education, the schools themselves, in the school curriculum, plan out-of-school activities and this requires the consent of parents," the ministry said.

As the trend towards historical revisionism continues in Croatia and the crimes committed by the country's WWII fascist Ustasa regime are often publicly downplayed, children in Croatian primary and secondary schools are only guaranteed one lesson a year about what happened under Ustasa rule from 1941 to 1945.


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