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Facing Challenge with Optimism: Croatia HDC Implementation During Pandemic

Facing Challenge with Optimism: Croatia HDC Implementation During Pandemic

In the spring of 2019, the Human Dignity curriculum was first introduced in Croatia. WYA Croatia chapter members took initiative in implementing the curriculum in two schools–First Catholic Primary School and Primary School Ivan Mestrovic

In First Catholic Primary School, the WYA Croatia chapter members taught the HDC to 8th graders. The students were familiar with the concept of human dignity, but were struck by the personal dimension of the curriculum, which is designed to introduce key ideas in such a way that encourages each student to reflect on their personal circumstances and consider how they can live out what they learn in their daily lives. 

Since the 8th graders are about to transition to secondary school, the students of First Catholic Primary School were particularly grateful for the opportunity to delve into the importance of decision making and ideas on how to effectively choose the good over the bad, but also, how to choose between two good options. Students shared that they would use the skills they learned in the HDC when choosing what to study and how to plan for their future career.

In Primary School Ivan Mestrovic, the HDC was taught to a 5th grade classroom. WYA Croatia chapter members tailored the curriculum to the needs of the students, who, unlike the 8th grade students, are not faced with the task of making serious decisions about their futures just yet. 

Themes and focus points that resonated with the 5th grade students were recognizing the human dignity of each student at school and learning how to respect them for their intrinsic worth. The students were eager to use what they learned from the HDC to resolve conflicts within the classroom and for the opportunity to discuss what human dignity means to them. 

The teachers noted that at the beginning of the program, the 5th grade students had some reservations about discussing human dignity, but as they participated in interactive workshops and activities designed specifically for them, they grew more and more excited. By the end of the program, they were thrilled to discuss their personal heroes, some of whom were their parents, teachers, and grandparents. 

These successful implementations of the Human Dignity Curriculum made the teachers even more excited to continue working with students and discussing human dignity with them, but the outbreak of COVID-19 posed obvious challenges to that plan. 

WYA Croatia chapter members, eager to continue their work, adjusted accordingly and quickly organized the first ever online HDC course.

The demands and challenges posed by a worldwide pandemic made students and teachers that much more invested in and grateful for the opportunity to discuss human dignity and to think of ways to promote and foster a respect for each human person in less than ideal circumstances. 

The introduction of this first-ever online Human Dignity Curriculum opens up new horizons for future implementations and a way to amplify the impact and outreach of the curriculum.


Original version by: Petra Medak

Date: June 20, 2020