Recommendations for the inclusion of educational programs of civil-society organizations in educational institutions


From 2006 until today, Sunce has held over 660 training courses for more than 14,000 participants.
If we add all the data on education and educational events in the last 20 years, we have reached more than 25,500 people.

– All educational programs of Sunce are carefully prepared and organized. Participatory methods inspire the best in participants, encouraging them to work together, think critically and participate in decision-making. Such programs in schools enable students to access better and more diverse education – emphasizes Margita Radman, head of Sunce’s Education and Information Department.

Sunce’s educational program – Responsible Generation and Handling of Waste

Sunce’s educational program for educators called Responsible Waste Generation and Handling of Waste was approved by the Education Agency. We recently held it in Trogir Kindergarten, where through 10 workshops, we talked about, among other things, waste management, green habits, composting and ecological activities for children and adults.


–  Although initially intended to prepare the educators to improve the environmental practices of kindergartens, this program also enabled us to connect with the local community. Namely, to celebrate the completion of the program, the educators decided to organize a Swap Fair to further improve networking with parents –  said Maja Golem, professional associate educator.

The fair was attended by parents and children from the city of Trogir. Through fun and socializing, they discovered ways to encourage the circulation of objects in the community to reduce waste. This educational program of Sunce not only improves knowledge but also encourages cooperation and positive changes in the local community.

–  At Kindergarten Trogir, we want our children to develop responsibility and empathy, both towards the environment and towards all living beings, to perceive their mutual relationship better and to learn values and adopt habits thanks to which will encourage them to become people that are responsible for their environment. As an educational institution, we know we can only achieve this through quality education from an early age. Therefore, in the desire to convey the first steps towards the goal, we have agreed to cooperate with the association Sunce in the form of training on responsible waste management (for teachers and children), after which we successfully introduced numerous positive changes in our institution. We can confirm with certainty that we will not stop at the first steps but will consistently improve the acquired knowledge and competencies – Tina Guina, head of Trogir Kindergarten.

Sunce’s educational program – School Composting

This program focuses entirely on practical work. All workshops are conducted in the field, in the school’s garden, and the students themselves are responsible for creating and maintaining the school’s compost bin. But that’s not all. This program can be used for all STEM workshops, including biology, chemistry, math, and physics.

– This program has been successfully implemented since 2013 and is improved with each new cycle thanks to the valuable experience and feedback of those involved. So far, with this program, we have created or revitalized school composting sites in Split-Dalmatia County –  says Radman.

– We have been composting at school since 2015 when our school’s eco group participated in the School Composting educational program, which was carried out as one of the activities of the project Participate in sustainable development, in cooperation with the Sunce. By implementing the principles of sustainable development and applying practical work on compost preparation, I encourage students to act responsibly towards nature, rationally treat waste and reuse materials, and use the produced compost to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable behavior in everyday life. Our compost site was visited by many primary and secondary school students and students at the Teacher Training College in Split, which makes us very happy. – Mary Jurasprof. of biology and chemistry, Elementary School Kamen-Šine.

However, despite its quality and the positive reactions of the participants, this program does not have an expert opinion from the Education Agency and the Ministry of Science and Education or any other form of evaluation.

Only one Sunce’s educational program has a positive opinion from the Education Agency. What does this mean for Sunce and educational institutions?

Due to a change in the procedure for evaluating the educational programs of civil-society organizations (CSOs), only one Sunce’s program received a positive expert opinion from the Education Agency. This directly affects the quality of education of children and students.

By participating in educational programs, educators and teachers receive points for professional development. Therefore, competent Institutions should officially approve the implementation of specific informal education programs by civil-society organizations to recognize employees’ professional training.

Currently, schools depend on employees who must evaluate the quality of each organization with an educational program. This is rarely possible due to a lack of time and motivation. The recognition of educational programs of CSOs by the Ministry of Science and Education and Education Agency will relieve the employees of educational institutions and ensure the quality of external education.

To encourage cooperation between civil-society organizations, educational institutions and the local community, it is crucial to determine clear and transparent criteria according to which the educational programs of CSOs can be included in the plans and programs of educational institutions.


What are the proposed recommendations for choosing educational programs?

After conducting research, recommendations for improving the cooperation between civil-society organizations and educational institutions were published by the House of Human Rights in Zagreb. The research results showed challenges in collaboration between academic institutions and civil-society organizations. Sunce came to them with recommendations and support.

The Ministry of Science and Education and the Education Agency should determine the criteria, rules, and procedures by which educational programs of civil-society organizations can be included in the plan and schedule of educational institutions.

The criterion should primarily be the quality of the content of CSO education included in the curriculum. The rules and procedures for evaluating that quality should be developed in cooperation with organizations and educational institutions, considering their needs.

In the coming period, we hope that the Ministry of Science and Education, as well as the founders of educational institutions, will encourage the improvement of cooperation with civil-society organizations and increase financial opportunities by announcing tenders for projects and programs that will support the development of educational programs in cooperation with educational institutions. We want the importance of the role of non-formal education to be recognized and the institutions to be aware of the local community’s needs. In this way, we would enable the public to access quality educational content that will positively impact the upbringing and education of young generations.


How to find out about educational programs offered by Sunce?

In this process, all participants should communicate and be clearer in their activities and define their needs. Although we all have a lot to do, it is important to be proactive.

You can contact Sunce by phone or e-mail and say what kind of service you need – from the type of education to the target group (children, students, or workers), duration and topic. We are open to cooperation in various areas and topics of work (such as waste management, composting, protection of sea birds, marine litter, or protection of various ecosystems) as well as for cooperation with different age groups. Each education is specially adapted to the client’s needs, wishes and possibilities. Our programs can include target groups from preschool to the educational staff.

If you want to know more about Sunce educational services and how to become their user, contact us at: [email protected].