For Croatia, making sure the five children on the tiny island of Susak get good schooling is not only a civic responsibility, it’s a way of ensuring the viability of its sparsely populated Adriatic islands.
“Schools give life to small islands” said Olivela Franko, the elementary school principal on the larger Losinj island who coordinates an “e-learning” network that links island schools in the area.
“There are not that many children but we will not allow them to disappear. We try everything so they don’t feel like they are living at the end of the world,” she said. In all, 66 of the Balkan state’s 1,200 islands, islets and rocks off its Adriatic coast are today inhabited, and home to 20 or so working schools. Though isolated in the winter, they are a tourist magnet in the summer when visitors flock to enjoy their unspoiled nature, blue harbours and cheaper rates than inside the eurozone .