Croatian Information Technology Association
The role of the Croatian Information Technology Association in implementing Digital Agenda 2020


After the “Lisbon Agenda 2000”, the European Union passed a new agenda titled “Digital Agenda for Europe 2020” urging the member countries to achieve earlier defined goals in order to provide the conditions for their joining with the developed countries: USA, Japan, South Korea and others. One could say that Digital Agenda 2020 is the second half time of Lisbon Agenda focusing on more concrete goals and activities with defined terms of implementation for member countries.

Croatia is just to join the European Union, in June this year the negotiations for joining the European Union were finished, and in July 2013 Croatia will become a full member of the European Union, so the decisions defined by the Digital Agenda will become the obligation for our country as well.
The Croatian Government has been making the activities contained in the Digital Agenda for many years, but the economic crisis present in the country still affects the realization of planned activities.
The Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia is responsible for the implementation of the Digital Agenda.

Croatian Information Technology Association (CITA) is the umbrella organisation of Croatian ICT experts founded in 1975, ever since it has been acting continuously with the goal to create the conditions for faster and more efficient introduction and application of ICT.

The participation of the representatives of the Croatian Information Technology Association at the Second Regional Conference IT STAR 2002 in Slovenia, the acceptance in CEPIS and IFIP, and the organisation of ITSTAR meeting in Croatia in 2003 represent the beginning of Croatian Information Technology Association being included into the work of international ICT organisations, which has significantly contributed to transfer of new skills in Croatia, the exchange of experiences, and have made Croatia more prepared for the transition into information society.

Croatian Information Technology Association participates in the work of ITSTAR, CEPIS, IFIP, ECDL, EUCIP and participates in the programs of the European Union.
Apart from many significant activities at the top level of CITA, there are several organisations, experts and users of ICT active within the scope of Association aiming to introduce and apply ICT technology more quickly and more effectively, and to open the opportunities of the exchange of skills and experiences, as:Open computer systems and Internet, Oracle technologies, Young informaticians, Linux technologies, GIS technologies, SAP solutions and Health.

Croatian Information Technology Association participates in many activities contained in the Digital Agenda, as the following:
A vibrant digital single market The members of Croatian Information Technology Association have initiated the Strategies of electronic business activities and have participated in the application of e-business in the Republic Croatia for the period 2007 – 2010.

Together with IT STAR, in November 2010,CITAorganised in Zagreb the international conference on electronic business with the intention to provide the exchange of experience in the achieved level of e-business and with regard to the problems of application, and equal development of e-business in the region, especially in the countries involved mostly with Croatia in the foreign trade activities.
The representative of state administration, economy, universities and IT sectors from 11 countries participated at the conference.
According to the opinion of the participants, the conference was evaluated as one of the most successful in the region concerning the topic of e-business.

In order to provide conditions for quicker development of e-business in the region with the information literacy being on of essential presumption, in 2007 we organised the first annual regional ECDL conference, next year they were held in Slovenia, then Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We expect that his year conference will be held in Kosovo.

CITA has initiated the activities under the title “e-business for competitive Croatia” for the purpose of accelerating the application of e-business in the country, which was supported by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Sc. Ivo Josipović, the prime minister Mrs. Jadranka Kosor, and the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship, the Croatian Employment Institute and the Central State Administration Office for e-Croatia.

The most important part of this activity is the organisation of round tables in all county chambers of Croatia with the participation of the representative of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, the Croatian Employment Institute, of the administrative departments for educating system in counties and cities, of economy, media and others that we found competent to give contribution in the success of these activities.
The goal of the activity is to achieve the conditions for the continuation of the existing and initiating new programs of IT literacy and e-business.
Interoperability and standards .

Croatian Association of Open Systems and Internet (HrOpen), the member of CITA, was founded in 1992 in order to promote and encourage the development of open systems and Internet in Croatia.
HrOpen presents the applicability of the open code program, emphasizing the importance of developing the information standards. It helps the institutions and firms to transfer into the open programme support, educates present and future user of open code systems and deals with the improvement of IT profession and the establishment of information society.

HrOpen became in 2010 the member of the OpenForum Europe (OFE) with the residence in Bruxelles, Belgium. They both want to support open standards within public and business sector in Europe. HrOpen thus get the possibility to participate in the activities of OFE, to have access to OFE partner institutions and offices.
The members of CITA participate in the adjustment to European norms for e-business.
Trust and security The Association of Open Systems promotes also Internet and net services, and encourages the trust of the citizens in secure net business.
Enhancing digital literacy, skills and inclusion CITA has the licence for carrying out the certification users of personal computer according to ECDL standards and European Certification of Informatics Professional – EUCIP.

The government of the Republic of Croatia has accepted in 2004 ECDL as a standard in schools and state administration. So far, more than 20.000 teachers in primary and secondary schools, and more than 5000 employees in state administration have this certificate to work on such jobs.

In 2006 there was ECDL Forum held in Dubrovnik with the representatives of 140 countries that apply ECDL, giving full credit to CITA for successful application of ECDL in Croatia.

Croatian Information Technology Association has been working successfully on ECDL program since 2003 in Croatia. More than 55.000 employees, citizens, unemployed, persons with special needs and others have been working so far within the scope of some of the programs, with 47.000 of them having certificates to do so.
In order to encourage the application of ECDL, we entered into the agreement with the largest WEB portal of supply and demand of labour force in Croatia, «Mojposao» (My job), www.mojposao.net. When defining the employment conditions, employers prefer the candidates having ECDL Start certificate and the candidates need to mention in their Curriculum Vitae whether they have ECDL (Start, Basic, Advanced or Expert). So far more than 80% of employers have given priority to the candidates with ECDL certificate.

Together with the test centres in Croatia we organised the action titled «With ECDL for more competitive Croatia» in order to include as many employees as possible, especially in economy and state administration offering significantly more convenient financial conditions for the education and certification of candidates, and 40% lower prices in comparison with earlier conditions.

It is well known that there is no e-business without digital literacy, so we have initiated together with the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship, the Croatian Chamber of Economy, and the National Unemployment office, a large promotion action under the title «e-business for more competitive Croatia» including into it our earlier initiated activity «With ECDL from more competitive Croatia».

The aim of the programme is to make the economic enterprises, especially the smaller and medium ones, the state administration, schools and the unemployed more interested in the advantages of using e-business and ECDL.

We started with this action in all counties (20 counties) by organising presentations and round table discussions with the topic of «e-business and ECDL». We invite the directors of companies, especially SME-s, then the representatives of local offices of the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship, county chambers, local offices of the National Unemployment office, the directors of primary and secondary schools, and others, in order to continue the initiated ECDL programmes that were interrupted by the economic crisis, and to initiate new programmes with the possibility of finding financial means for the education and certification of candidates.

The Croatian Association of Young Informaticians (HSIN) gather ever since its foundation in 1993 several thousands of those who are interested in using IT technologies, it organises the Olympics of the young people in Croatia. The members of the Association participate at the Olympics in the Balkans, Central Europe and International Olympics. In addition, it also organized the International IT Olympics for the Young People in Zagreb in 2008. The members of the Association are the winners of golden medals at many Olympics of the Young People in the world.
This year the members of the Association achieved excellent results at the World Olympics and in Thailand, achieving the best results in Europe and the second place in the world.

Apart from these activities, CITA works on many other activities. It is especially important there are also many young interested people being active in CITA apart from legal persons who are interested to encourage the development and improvement of the application of ICT and information science fighting to achieve professional attitude, status and the quality of the profession, protecting the image and interests, and developing the professional ethics, supporting optimal application of ICT and information science, connecting with international organisations, organising professional and scientific gatherings and encouraging the publishing activity.

Marijan Frkovic
Croatian Information Technology Association
National ECDL Coordinator