94 contracts have been awarded for 5080 additional childcare spots across Croatia

In Zagreb, 94 contracts were awarded for projects valued at over 50 million euros, which will open 5080 additional childcare spots across Croatia.

In presenting the contracts to city and municipality authorities, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković stated that the government’s objective is for 97 percent of children in Croatia to have access to early education by the end of the third funding call, compared to 78 percent before the pandemic.

Congratulating the contract signatories alongside the Minister of Science and Education, Radovan Fuchs, and the Director of the CFCA (Central Finance and Contracting Agency for European Union programmes and projects) Dragan Jelić, Plenković mentioned that Croatia is increasing the capacity of childcare facilities to achieve this goal.

With the first call amounting to 163 million euros, dedicated to the construction and expansion of 248 childcare facilities, the second call added 50 million euros across 94 childcare facilities. This totals to 342 investments and 21,000 new childcare spots, as stated by Plenković.

He underscored that the investment distribution map indicates that the central government has ensured balanced development across Croatia, irrespective of the city’s location or the political party in power.

The overall investment in education across all age groups in Croatia, from preschool institutions to higher education institutions, amounts to 2.5 billion euros, which is unprecedented in Croatia, stated the Croatian Prime Minister, concluding that all school children will receive a free meal.

Minister Fuchs remarked that this is a well-thought-out successive plan for enhancing education in Croatia. He expressed hope that every child in Croatia will have a place in childcare facilities in the next term, even in the city of Zagreb, which, according to Fuchs, “faces significant challenges in childcare facility construction for various reasons.”

Upon completion of this second phase of investments, in conjunction with the first phase, it will bring over 20,000 new childcare spots. Furthermore, with the continuation of funding, as we announce the third call for the construction and expansion of childcare facilities, this should bring the number closer to 30,000, effectively ensuring that all children have a place in childcare facilities, he said.

“Each contract signed today, followed by the realization of the project, will provide added value to the local community, while the increase in childcare capacities will make them more accessible to numerous families,” said CFCA Director Dragan Jelić, noting that the majority of childcare facilities under both calls will be constructed in Zagreb County (30 facilities with a total value of 28.2 million euros), Split-Dalmatia County (27 facilities with a total value of 16.4 million euros), and Vukovar-Srijem County (22 facilities with a total value of 12.5 million euros).

It was noted that for municipalities and cities in areas with below-average development, to which the funds from the call for the construction, expansion, reconstruction, and equipping of preschool institutions are insufficient to complete the planned construction in the state budget for 2024 and 2025, an additional 8.6 million euros have been secured.

Source: HINA (Croatian News Agency)

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