Global Education Actors in RS – Interview with the Ministry of Youth and Sports

03.07.2020. - Velimir.M

In light of the announcement of the Global Education Week for the year 2020, an event which represents a collective effort of the whole Global Education Network to organise activities during the third week of November with the goal of popularising the Global Education concept, we are starting an interview series with the Global Education actors in the Republic of Serbia. We started with the Ministry of Youth and Sports who told us the state of things from their perspective as the national coordinator.

1. The Ministry of Youth and Sports is the national coordinator for Global Education – what does that mean?

 

Republic of Serbia has been a member state of the Partial agreement North-South Centre of the Council of Europe since 2009, which represents a framework for European cooperation and is directed towards awareness raising on the subjects of global interdependence and solidarity, as well as respecting human rights, democracy and social inclusion.

In 2011 the Ministry of Youth and Sports was chosen to be the coordinator of activities for the program of Global Education, while the activities are carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, educational institutions, and one part of the national network is the organisation Center for Youth Work.

The term global education may not be familiar to everyone but it’s being increasingly mentioned and it includes developmental education, education for human rights, education for sustainability, education for peace and conflict prevention as well as intercultural education. Put simply ­­– formal education will give you the knowledge to build a machine, but global education will give you the perspective necessary to use the machine for the benefit of humanity.

 

2. What is your role in the so-called „quadrilogue“, the partnership between representatives of governments, national parliaments, local and regional authorities and civil society?

 

The Ministry of Youth and Sports advocates the principles of Global Education, establishes the framework of public policies in which global education will find its place, such as the Law on Youth, the National Youth Strategy 2015 – 2025, the Action Plan for the Implementation of NYS for the period of 2018 – 2020. The Ministry also initiates networking and partnership building, it creates the preconditions so that the principles of global education are able to be applied in the youth sector, or rather in the nonformal educational programs conducted by youth organisations and youth offices on different levels – from local to the national level.

 

We play an active role in the promotion of activities and events organised by the North-South Centre and in the coordination of events on the national level such as the Global Education Week, in the organising of events and various different online education programs available to the youth in Serbia thanks to our membership in this network, whose goal is to promote Global Education. We also made available some of the more significant publications such as Global Education Guidelines, the Media Literacy manual and we plan on translating the Global Education Week Toolkit which would be of great help to our partners on the local level who would want to take part in this event.

 

3. Since the Ministry of Youth and Sports cannot implement Global Education in formal education, as that is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, how does your cooperation regarding this look like?

 

Our jurisdictions are different, but we’re working towards the same goal, which is to establish the right conditions under which young people can get functional education which will enable them in the future to successfully build communities to their measure. That requires good interconnection, coordination and networking with numerous partners. Up until now, we worked together with our colleagues at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development on preparing key analyses in regards to the state and implementation of Global Education in Serbia, on creating a set of recommendations for the improvement of implementation of Global Education, on promoting its principles and goals in various forms – round tables, meetings with young people and decision makers, and workshops. A space was built for an exchange of ideas and discussions about perspectives, and the continued development of concepts and practices, in the sense of creating policies, development of curriculum, pedagogical support and advocacy.

4. Nonformal education is most often implemented independently from formal education institutions and therefore requires a different approach when it comes to implementing Global Education. Which challenges manifest here?

 

Global Education is the foundation for learning about social values and it has to be adaptable to constant changes in life. In real time, such changes are dynamic, intensive and happen more often than the formal education system is able to keep up and find adequate answers, which is why nonformal education is more often well regarded by its end users, the young people, and also because of its ability to make subjects more approachable by employing innovative and dynamic methods.

Nonformal education is not used to its fullest potential to support those who haven’t kept up with the latest in their approach to formal education. Also, there remain other challenges to nonformal education, and that’s a question of its recognition and validation, sustainable quality, insufficient funds from different sources and the strengthening of partnerships.

5. How well do you estimate the implementation of Global Education is going in Republic of Serbia and what are you proud of the most?

 

From the perspective of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Global Education has been recognized in the National Youth Strategy 2015 – 2025 and its principles are rooted in the Law on Youth. Since its founding, we’ve been dedicating a lot of attention to nonformal education which is found in all activities we support and through which we involve around 50 000 young people. Currently, our network of partners with whom we work with on a national and local basis numbers around 1700 youth organisations and youth offices.

Since 2014, 722 projects have been financed by local governments, those which have youth offices and civil society organisations, for the purpose of implementing National Youth Strategy goals. These projects have allowed a large number of young people to directly involve themselves in programmes whose goals include promotion of healthy and safe lifestyles, quality leisure time and realisation of volunteer activities and camps, nonformal education and informing suited to the needs of all categories of young people. The majority of activities focus on satisfying local needs, which includes, above all, renewal of spaces for young people in local communities, organising activities for environmental protection as well as for encouraging humanitarianism and solidarity, understanding and tolerance, safety, intergenerational cooperation and youth entrepreneurship. Global Education principles are also weaved throughout the national volunteer program “Mladi su zakon”, as well as through our other programs.

The energy which young people invest in solving local challenges, ideas and initiatives are certainly worthy of praise and respect, and we endeavour to include all young people in the decision making process so that we can understand their needs and as well as challenges, and present them with adequate answers for both.

 

6. In which ways has being a member of the Global Education Network proven to be useful?

 

Our membership has allowed us to network with other member states of the Council of Europe, that is, with the policy creators and practitioners with whom we have been able to discuss the situations in the Balkan and other regions in Europe, to agree on our concrete priorities which will be our focus in the coming years. It has also brought us capacity building through trainings intended for national coordinators and practitioners, which serve to equip them with knowledge, skills and tools needed for promoting Global Education, with Global Education principles, practices and policy development.

7. What are your plans for Global Education in the forthcoming period?

 

Our framework consists of strengthening partnerships with all relevant institutions, exchanging experiences, good practices and the promotion of the term and concept of Global Education, as well as its introduction as a term in youth organisations’ and youth offices’ practices, and we’re also currently planning the marking of Global Education Week, an event which takes place annually during the third week of November. This year we will, together with our partners, youth organisations, youth offices and institutions, organise a series of events, and we already know some of those will include the use of the Fun Park app. Of course, we will announce the event in due time.