Croatia’s northern county, Međimurje, misses out on knowledge hub that could have aided development

A recent mess-up with an EU grant was a big setback for development in Croatia’s northern county, Međimurje, a leadership forum heard last week.

There had been plans for the development of a knowledge centre within the building complex that already houses the Technology and Innovation Centre in Čakovec (TIC), which could have contributed to decentralised development and supported local people and entrepreneurship.

Instead, poor management of the grant by Croatia’s central government meant the project did not get the funding, and the county will miss out, Bojan Pečnik, the director of the TIC centre told the Modern Leadership in Making in Čakovec (26-31 August).

The centre was planned as an education and development institute to boost entrepreneurship, a culture of knowledge and competitiveness in metallurgy. Mismanagement of the grant means it will be set back by at least a year, the forum heard.

Međimurje is already behind in various development indices, including education levels and usage of ICTs.

Dunja Potočnik, sociologist from the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, said the circle of poverty is closed when local students go to study for degrees that are not needed on the job market and have too many students to start with, such as economics, and then return home (often to parents with a lower socio-economic status) with little or no prospect of finding work in the fields they qualified for.

This means the parents who are poor and with less education than their children have to support their highly educated children.

Mićo Tatalović

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