Sep 1, 2009:
Astronomy competitions in Croatia: analysis and recommendations
According to a recent study of human capital in Central and Eastern Europe, Croatia has "a realistic chance of being stuck in relative poverty to the European average - since no other resource but human capital can lift them out of the situation they are in today." (ref). Hence, among other things, Croatia should pay attention to its talented kids in schools, since they represent an important step in the human capital development process.
This year I served as the President of the National committee for astronomy competitions. Unfortunately, lack of any coherent state policy on gifted and talented kids resulted in science competitions being the only channel for identification of such kids, although this is neither the best nor the appropriate method for all such kids. But even these competitions are not treated as a resource and there is no a meaningful policy on how to organize and run such competitions.
At the end my term I wrote an analysis of the astronomy competition in Croatia, together with an extensive discussion on the context in which this competitions is organized and financed. This review shows that astronomy is a great resource for making kinds interested in natural sciences. Acording to the PISA survey (ref), there is about 113,000 high school students interested in astronomy topics, but only about 100 students participate in astronomy competitions every year. Astronomy is also not included into schools' curricula and there is a lack of astronomy teachers and mentors. The report ends with a list of recommendations that might help the astronomy completion to excel.
Natjecanja iz astronomije: analiza stanja i
prijedlozi za daljnji razvoj
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