The Student's Council of HE in the Republic of Croatia and Student Council of Aplied Sciences

Učenik vijeće Sveučilišta u Zagrebu primijenjenih znanosti je student organizacija koja predstavlja studente u tijelima Sveučilišta u Zagrebu primijenjenih znanosti – Zagreb UAS. Učenik vijeće je student predstavničko tijelo koje štiti interese studenata, sudjeluje u odlučivanju u tijelima Zagrebačke UAS i predstavlja studente u sustavu visokog obrazovanja. Studentski zbor djeluje putem svojih izabranih predstavnika studenata.


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Impact

What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?

The Student's Council exists to serve its students, the quality of communication with the academic and administrative staff, continuously improving student life, and work at the all PHEIs. The members of the Student Council actively assist and work with their professors in the organization of professional workshops and competitions, participate in humanitarian actions and other activities and presentations of Zagreb UAS.
For example:
a) The Student Creativity Festival StudentCuts is held every year (started in year 2014) in May. It is an international festival that emerged from the cooperation with the University of Maribor and is the main sponsor of the Zagreb UAS.
b) Student practice in eminent companies where students work on current projects solving practical tasks and problems.
c) Job offerings as intensive collaboration with employers affected the curriculum of the Polytechnic itself, which was designed to meet the needs of the labor market. The students are thus provided with top-notch training in the field of technical activities of different professions, forming them into capable specialists they are ready for specific work.
d) Zagreb UAS Mobile Challenge Cup (TVZ Mc2) is a student competition organized by the Students' Choir of the Zagreb UAS in 2013 and confirms the success of future developers and designers from Zagreb UAS. It is the largest Croatian student competition in the development of applications on mobile platforms.
e) The Association of Innovators at the Zagreb UAS was established with the aim of bringing together professors and students on programs organizing, promoting and improving technical creation.
f) Stem Games - The general theme combines all four STEM areas - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and directs STEM Games contestants and participants to the questions and challenges we face. It is based on sub-themes - specific problems that students will work and thus measure their knowledge in STEM Games Arena.

Success Factors

What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?

The Student’s Council gives suggestions on curriculum improvements as well as provide feedback on workplace students experience. There are very helpful experiences arising from various students events and contest organized, realized and sponsored by manufacturing companies in the Republic of Croatia.
Main succes factors are usefulness of the Student’s Council for PHEIs and their finacing through institutional and nationa budget.

Constraints

What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?

These are relatively new and fresh activities at the Zagreb UAS and there are still not enough students to be involved in these activities. On the other side, there are not enough interested professors to lead and organize such and similar activities.

Feasibility & Sustainability

What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?

It is necessary to strengthen the motivation of professors as well as students for these and similar activities. Higher budget for the council's activities from national funds might provide better sustainability.

Replicability & Upscaling

What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?

The Student Council is alredy active on national level and covers all PHEIs. For each successful activity, appropriate reward of professors and students would be useful for apscaling. More powerful marketing for these and similar activities in various media would be also beneficial.

Lessons learned

What would have facilitated an earlier and/or bigger impact? What are the key features that should be kept in mind if this would have to be implemented again? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? What could have been done better?

Through the student organization there were a number of benefits such as:
- better legal regulation and greater rights of students;
- impact on study programs;
- a better student standard;
- better quality of work placement.
All this could not be done without the good quality of students organization at the national level, as previous experience has shown that this is one of the best ways to achieve significant changes in the traditionaly inert higher education system.

Context

Please provide some information about the context and initial situation that can help in fully understanding the action (e.g. information about the national system, applying regulations, etc.)

The Student’s Council is organized approach to empower students, both in social activities and influence on HE policy and legislation. Prior to such solution students were poorly orginanized and underepresented.