Zagreb, Croatia, 17 Feb 2014

First GPDP diploma awarded to Croatian water professional

On 12 February 2014, Prof. Damir Brdjanovic of UNESCO-IHE awarded the first GPDP diploma to Mr. Tomislav Horvat at the Water Management and EU Funds Day Croatia in Zagreb. The Graduate Professional Diploma Programme (GPDP) is a new programme designed for sanitation sector professionals and can be followed entirely online.

Flexible learning

GPDP consists of a sequence of four or five online courses, regular short courses or a combination. This implies that participants can combine work and study more easily.

Tomislav Horvat, project manager at Proning DHI and father of four kids, experienced this flexibility as a great advantage: "I chose to develop my knowledge with this particular programme as it was the best way to combine professional obligations as well as family obligations. The programme can be followed part-time which makes it easier to combine with other activities", according to Tomislav Horvat.

Learning on the job

Tomislav is the first graduate of GPDP, he therefore contributed to the development of the programme that he considered of a very high standard. "The lecturers that participated in the programme are top experts in their field, the guidance they provide to the students help you to learn in a more efficient way. I really appreciate their effort. What could be improved is the use of the online forum, this worked very well for exchanging knowledge with other students but did not work so well for communicating with lecturers."

Tomislav recommends this programme to colleagues in his company but also to professionals in the field due to its flexible nature and the quality of the individual courses. "Many professionals in the water sector don't have the time to follow a specialization programme in the form of a Master degree, but they do want to update their knowledge", according to Tomislav Horvat.

Investing in international education

Employers that wish to train their staff in an innovative way, should consider to invest in this type of international education. Mr. Bozidar Dedus, alumnus of UNESCO-IHE and now director of Proning DHI is really satisfied with the outcome: "In Croatia there are important tasks we have to fulfill in relatively short time. We have to construct 206 new waste water treatment plants before 2023 and on top of that reconstruct 106 existing plants. We are therefore in need for knowledge that can be used in the best way for the most cost effective solutions. This is why I urged Tomislav to study at UNESCO-IHE. I often call UNESCO-IHE the 'cradle of knowledge'. You get in touch with cutting edge education and state of the art technologies. In addition, the international environment is a real asset of learning", according to Mr. Dedus.

With this diploma, Mr. Dedus' ambitions for Tomislav are high: "I expect him to gain confidence in putting forward solutions for projects we are involved in as a company. Secondly I hope he will dissiminate the knowledge he gained in the GPDP programme with his colleagues so that they can benefit the companies future projects".

Learn more about the GPDP programme.