Global Education actors in the Republic of Serbia – Interview with the Center for Youth Work
Continuing our interview series with actors of Global Education in the Republic of Serbia after our conversation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, we had the chance to talk with Tamara Banjac, the manager for education at the Center for Youth Work about how it is to, among other things, work on awareness raising efforts and implementation of Global Education as a civil society organisation.
1. Hi Tamara, it’s so nice that we’re finally able to talk about Global Education! Since Center for Youth Work as a youth organisation bases its practice on youth work methodology, could you tell us how Global Education fits into your work?
Hi there! In youth work, the target demographic are young people. On the other hand, even though Global Education is also aimed at the youth (the majority of Global Education Network’s advocacy efforts are for it to become part of formal education), it doesn’t exclude other age groups. Youth work is also more focused on local communities, while Global Education teaches us, as the name implies, about the broader context – the whole world. However, if we observe youth work and global education as educational methodologies, we can see that they’re both based on the same or similar principles: both are values oriented, programmes created in accordance with the users’ needs, they both have as their goals to encourage critical thinking and acceptance of differences, they’re based on the participative approach etc. With that said, I would say that all CZOR (Center for Youth Work) programmes, projects and activities can be classified as Global Education.
2. Since a portion of CZOR activities is dedicated to advocacy and awareness raising of Global Education, I’m interested in in which programmes of Center for Youth Work is it most prominent?
As I’ve already mentioned, in my opinion all activities of CZOR are Global Education activities as well, so I believe we inform all of our young people indirectly through them. Of course, we also realise activities which are directly aimed at educating young people about Global Education. For instance, students had the opportunity, as part of the university course “Leadership and Development Youth Work in a Community” which CZOR conducts under the license of the Jönköping University from Sweden, to be part of a training about Global Education. Also, through our volunteer structure, which this year I’m proud to say counts 30 members, young people are directly involved in the creation and implementation of Global Education activities. One of them are you yourself, Velimir, as you write this great blog. As the main CZOR programme of Global Education I would single out the Fun Park, the mobile app which makes Global Education fun, and by which we reach young people whom we don’t directly work with.
3. It is often said that youth organisations are already conducting activities which are essentially in accordance with Global Education principles. Why is it important then to make the additional step and recognize them as Global Education?
Because this will reaffirm the quality of their educational programmes and activities. It is, after all, an educational methodology recognised by the Council of Europe. Likewise, as actors of Global Education, they will gain the opportunity to be part of the Global Education Network, which means access to new opportunities, funds, networking with other members and so on. On the other hand, it will contribute to awareness raising efforts about Global Education in Serbia which is the foundation for its implementation, both in nonformal and formal education.
4. Global Education has for its goal to change a society’s approach to education in general. It’s an ambitious project for the long term, especially when it comes to addressing the formal educational system. What role do civil society organisations have to play in this process?
Maybe a better question would be what role could they play, as their participation depends on whether they will be recognized by public institutions as actors who can contribute to the implementation of Global Education in the formal educational system. Take the Fun Park app as an example.
Teachers can use already created quizzes during their classes as an introduction to certain topics. Likewise, they could independently or in collaboration with pupils create a new quiz which would be wholly suited to their curriculum. Additionally, pupils would learn much on a given topic as they research and create content for the quiz. The element of play, which the Fun Park brings, is no less important for motivation and acquisition of new knowledge.
Of course, this would require changing the methodology which the formal educational system uses. Is that the methodology of Global Education? It could be. But above all, awareness of Global Education has to be raised, so that more and more educators practice it. Results have to be achieved and networks have to be formed which will advocate for Global Education. This is what our experience thus far has taught us, and more often than not, the bringers of change have been civil society organisations.
5. Center for Youth Work is a partner of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, who performs the duties of the national coordinator for Global Education. One of your goals is to further develop the national network of actors of Global Education. Why focus on this particular subject?
It is necessary to connect all of the actors, as well as to harmonise activities on the national level so that the recognition of Global Education is raised above all, after which its implementation in both nonformal and formal education would become achievable. That’s only possible if we all combine our efforts.
6. One of the benefits of implementing Global Education is the opportunity to be part of the Global Education Network which numbers 21 members, including the Republic of Serbia. How has being part of the Network benefitted you?
First of all, it is an honour to be among all those people who are all throughout the world committed to bringing about a better, more humane and solidary society. It is an amazing opportunity as well for CZOR to be able to keep up with the latest trends in education. No less important is the possibility of networking with other members. Thanks to the Network, the Fun Park app will be available in Slovenian by the end of the year. Sloga, the national coordinator for Global Education in Slovenia, has recognized the app’s value and has decided to translate it into Slovenian.
7. Global Education Week for the year 2020 was recently announced. What are you goals for this year’s Week?
Aside from the fact we’ll work together with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the promotion of the Global Education Week, CZOR will also organise a Fun Park quiz competition as our contribution to the awareness raising efforts for Global Education. We will soon announce details on our website. Follow us, there will be rewards as well 🙂
8. So the Fun Park app will play a large role during the Global Education Week and we have recently heard from Miguel Silva from the North-South Center what he thinks about it as a digital educational tool. How do you perceive the Fun Park app’s role in regards to Global Education in general?
Global Education is a concept which includes topics such as human rights, gender equality, peacebuilding, migration, climate change, and so on. I believe the Fun Park app, whose goal is to make learning fun, can make these topics, which they characterize as „serious“ or „boring“ topics, more approachable. Young people can, in addition to playing quizzes, create them as well. In both cases, they’re learning as they’re having fun. I think that, when it comes to education, no matter the topic, we are obliged to use all channels and tools of communication which young people use, and right now those are phones and applications.