The Croatian Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences held a ceremonial session on July 7, 2023, at the House of Art “Arsen” in Šibenik. The session was attended by deans from 32 Croatian universities of applied sciences, where approximately 25,000 students are enrolled. The hosting role for this occasion was assigned to Polytechnic of Šibenik.
The President of the Croatian Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences, Assoc. Prof. Damir Jugo, emphasized that the new Law on Higher Education and Science has finally equalized the status of university and professional study students, correcting a long-standing injustice towards students of universities of applied sciences regarding academic and professional titles. The State Secretary at the Ministry of Science and Education, Mr. Ivica Šušak, highlighted the significance of professional studies for the higher education system and the job market, emphasizing the equal treatment of professional and university studies in Croatia. The deans of universities of applied sciences emphasized the importance of continuing to work on the quality and reform of study programs.
During the ceremonial session, awards and recognitions of the Croatian Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences for the year 2023 were presented. This year, the Charter of the Croatian Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences was awarded to Algebra University College, the Student Initiative 300=300, Prof. Dragutin Ščap, and Assoc. Prof. Robert Kopal. The recognition of the Croatian Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences for the special contribution to the development of professional and teaching activities in the field of social sciences was awarded to a lecturer from our University of Applied Sciences, Assist. Prof. Slobodan Stojanović.
The day before, on July 6, 2023, under the auspices of the Croatian Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences, the conference “Perspectives on the Development of Professional Studies in Croatia,” was also held at the House of Art “Arsen” in Šibenik. The introductory lecture was delivered by Assoc. Prof. Damir Jugo, and the panel discussion included deans from five universities of applied sciences in Šibenik, Split, Knin, Dubrovnik, and Zaprešić. The discussion emphasized that professional and university studies are equally valuable but different, and highlighted that the main advantage of professional studies and universities of applied sciences lies in the skills and the speed at which students are prepared for the job market. It was emphasized that universities of applied sciences need to continuously work on ensuring and improving the quality of education and launching study programs in line with the needs of the job market, which is also key to their survival within the higher education system.