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Croatia: Telekom Stiftung and IRIM-Croatian Makers launch "Junior Engineer Academy Network Croatia" project

Bonn/Zagreb: Deutsche Telekom Stiftung is broadening its international engagement and launching a collaboration with a Croatian foundation, the Institute for Youth Development and Innovativity (IRIM – Institut za razvoj i inovativnost mladih). The “Junior Engineer Academy” program, which has already been successfully established by Deutsche Telekom Stiftung in Germany, will now also be pursued by IRIM in Croatia.

Deutsche Telekom Stiftung has been offering the Junior Engineer Academy program since 2005, and it is now being implemented at around 100 schools throughout Germany. As a two-year subject option for Year 8/9 students, the aim of the JEA is to inspire interest among young people in technical, engineering and scientific professions, facilitate their transition from school to university or vocational training, and foster their individual skills in a timely and focused manner. A key feature of the program is establishing and maintaining close contact with businesses and universities that allows the students to gain some early insight into the working world of engineers and skilled specialists in all areas of technology and the sciences. In Germany, the network of JEA schools has developed into a vibrant platform devoted to fostering exchange of experience and the development of innovative teaching approaches in the field of science and technology education.

With the Croatian Makers initiative, IRIM supports STEM education in schools throughout the country. To begin with, IRIM-Croatian Makers will establish 15 Junior Engineer Academies in Croatia, and in doing so will create the first JEA network outside of Germany. Schools which are interested in taking part will be able to apply in the near future through the IRIM-Croatian Makers website. The teachers at the selected schools will receive training before the academies are launched. The schools will be provided with the equipment needed for the program. The Croatian telecom operator Hrvatsky Telekom, which can look back on a long-standing collaboration with IRIM-Croatian Makers in the field of IT education at schools, is also supporting the project, as is the Munich-based International Giving Foundation.

Dr. Ekkehard Winter, Executive Director of Deutsche Telekom Stiftung: “Preparing young people at an early stage for the digital society and working world is one of our core goals. To achieve that, generating enthusiasm for technology and technical skills is essential. In Croatian Makers, we are delighted to have found a capable partner for launching our successful Junior Engineer Academy program in Croatia.”

Paolo Zenzerović, Managing Director of IRIM: "IRIM’s core mission is to empower all the children in Croatia and the region to develop STEM competencies necessary for them to be equal citizens of 21st century, by providing not only equipment, but also education and other activities. The Junior Engineering Academy network in Croatia will expand our activities in high schools and the projects developed by students will link schools and companies resulting in a better cooperation between education and business."

In the initial phase, the project will run until July 2020. The knowledge gained will be used by both foundations for the further development of the project activities.