The Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet was established in 1991 as a project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Croatia. In March 1995 the Government of the Republic of Croatia passed the Decree on founding of the CARNet institution with the purpose of facilitating progress of individuals, as well as of the society as a whole, through the use of new information technologies. The word CARNet is an acronym formed from the name of the institution in English (Croatian Academic and Research Network).
Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet is a public institution that today operates under the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports in the field of information and communication technologies and its application in education from network and Internet infrastructure through e-services, to security and user support.
CARNet services are available to educational institutions (from K-12 to higher education, including research centers and institutes) and individual users alike. Institutional users are automatically included in the network of CARNet members, as a result of which they are connected to CARNet network and gain the right to use CARNet services. Individual users include primary and secondary school students, teachers, university students, professors, scientists and staff employed at CARNet member institutions. Recently CARNet services are also available to other public institutions such as hospitals, certain ministries etc.
CARNet currently offers over 70 services ranging from education and training, to Internet connectivity, multimedia, computer security and user support. Standard for access to all services is virtual electronic identity regulated through a central authentication and authorization system based on LDAP directories (distributed for academic member institutions or centralized for K-12 community).
CARNet network is a private network of the Croatian academic, scientific and research community, as well as of institutions of elementary and high school education system. The network infrastructure is owned by CARNet, but the lines are rented from various telecommunication providers. CARNet network connects to the pan-European research network GEANT, at current connection speed of 20 Gbps. Connection to other Internet providers in Croatia has been implemented through the Croatian Internet Exchange Point – CIX. Technologically, the network includes several types of transfer lines (copper, optical and wireless) and several types of transfer technologies. CARNet also operates its own NOC (Network operation Center). In addition to providing standard services, CARNet network engineers are actively involved in testing new solutions and technologies and participate in various research and development projects.
CARNet currently connects almost 1400 schools and over 250 academic institutions, 35 of which come from the health service community (teaching hospitals and research institutes). Access speeds vary from 2 Mbps to 10 Gbps. Connectivity costs for member institutions are covered by CARNet.
CARNet Internet services include e-mail hosting, FTP, NTP, DNS, electronic identities, CMS, VoIP services, server infrastructure and web hosting. CARNet is also involved in the e-Citizens project, in which it was responsible for the development of mToken. mToken was developed as a letter of credentials of safety level 3 which consists of mobile and server applications and is used to access public electronic services available to all the citizens of Croatia.
The e-Class Registry is a web application for the management of the class registry (formerly a paper book in which all records of instruction are kept) in an electronic format. The application was entirely designed and developed by CARNet and fully replaces the paper documentation with additional functionalities enabled through the use of ICT. Over 400 schools (of approximately 1400) currently use this service on daily basis and the number is increasing constantly.
CARNet has vast expertise in the field of multimedia providing its users with videoconferencing, streaming, media on demand (including radio) and other required multimedia services.
Croatian National CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) is based in CARNet and is responsible for the prevention of and protection from computer threats to the security of public information systems in the Republic of Croatia. CARNet provides content filtering service for schools, issues server certificates, operates vulnerability scanning and issues safety recommendations for 15 most popular operating systems. CARNet also operates the Abuse service and is active in fighting botnets through EU funded Advanced Cyber Defense Center, being one of eight EU Support Centers for botnets.
CARNet operates a helpdesk service that provides basic technical support to users as well as support for all its services. It also works with the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports to provide support for nation-wide systems such as the e-Class Registry, e-Matica Registry service and the National Information System for Applications and Enrolments into Secondary Schools.
CARNet is an active member of several major international organizations and conducts international projects. At the moment 9 active EU projects are implemented in the fields of computer and communication networks (GEANT3plus), security (Advanced Cyber Defense Center) and education (7 projects).
CARNet provides various educational programs, tools and services from basic training, online and on-site courses to provision of complex platforms for digital educational resources. It provides nation-wide centralized hosting for learning management system (using Moodle as basis). Additionally it provides a number of platforms offering digital education resources including multimedia lessons for STEM subjects, full works of required school literature readings in e-book format, a platform for distribution and purchase of educational e-books etc. CARNet also has extensive experience in providing online courses, face-to-face training and webinars, and is currently actively developing and conducting MOOCs in the field of ICT use in education.
Schools 2.0 is a project conducted in 2012 and 2013 with the goal to enable high-quality and comprehensive distance learning and e-learning for as wide a number of users – teachers and students - as possible, with particular emphasis on schools in rural, remote and underdeveloped areas, as well as islands. Currently there are 27 locations/schools involved in the project, equipped with 770 tablets. Altogether there are 250 teachers and teaching staff involved in the project, working with 2790 students. The Schools 2.0 project was selected as one of the three most innovative initiatives for the "European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration", in the Education and Research Initiatives category, and, as such, received a reward of EUR 100,000.00.
Future development and major projects
CARNet will lead the implementation of a joint and coordinated national project entitled e-Schools in the period from 2015 to 2022. The project envisions a complete informatisation of administration, teaching and learning in schools in order to ensure that the majority of Croatian publicly funded schools become digitally mature (e-mature) by 2022, in accordance with the Digital Agenda for Europe, Republic of Croatia’s Strategy on Education as well as the national Strategy for Broadband Development in the Republic of Croatia 2012-2015.
We define e-Schools as digitally mature schools, connected to ultra-fast Internet, highly equipped with adequate ICT, with a high level of informatisation of business and education processes, as well as digitally competent teachers and students. The ultimate goal of the project is to ensure that the students, once they finish school, are competitive workers on the job markets of tomorrow.
In order to ensure e-maturity of Croatian schools, CARNet is developing, in coordination with the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, a number of complementary subprojects, which will combine to form the e-Schools project. These subprojects will run in parallel and involve various stakeholders on a national scale, from public institutions responsible for the education system, to universities, research institutions and industry partners.
The informatisation of school administration, teaching and learning within the school system is to be achieved through the following activities:
Development of e-services for school administration and teaching and learning;
Deployment of ultra-fast Internet and local school networks;
Production of digital content and accompanying pedagogical methods;
Education, empowerment and support for teachers and school administration in the field of digital competences.