National Global Education Network in Serbia
Center for Youth Work in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the support of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, is starting a new Fun GEeks project and one of its results is the inception of the National Global Education Network! The formation of the Network started with a training held between 23-25 October which was aimed at awareness rising about Global Education in Serbia. There were 18 participants from 12 different institutions and organisations. The first common act of the Network will be to organise the Global Education Week, from the 16-20 November.
In less than two weeks, the National Global Education Network will organise an online quiz competition via the Fun Park app, and it will be open to all – top three players will win the Fun GEeks award, as well as certain valuable prizes!
Diversity of actors as the spice of networks
Among participants of the Fun GEeks training were representatives of various actors – from local institutions, schools, civil society organisations to umbrella organisations. The variety of sectors and actors’ sizes were only outmatched by their geographical diversity, with representatives from Šabac, Pančevo as well as Rudno. This is important as Global Education deals with both the local as well as the global dimension – it’s important to include all actors, and to particularly try to include those who don’t have the same chances as actors from urban centres.
The first segment of participants came from local Youth Offices in Obrenovac, Užice and Kuršumlija. As actors which in certain places act as the main centres of activities for young people, Youth Offices are extraordinarily important and useful. Strahinja Poledica from the Užice Youth Office, says that his Office “analyses the needs of young people on the labour market and then accordingly organises necessary trainings so they would gain competencies.” – education aimed at equipping people with useful skills on the labour market represents a core of Global Education.
Schools are no less important, as they’re places which can offer children and young people plenty of room to show their initiative and train their organisational skills – something that two representatives from the Legal and Business school in Niš attested to. On of them, Darko Pavlović, said: “We as the student parliament try to include nonformal education, so we organise workshops and attend workshops about nonformal education.”
Local civil society organisations have a lot of influence within their communities. They are sincere expressions of the basic human need for social engagement and they often advocate for changes that citizens want – which also represent the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. Lana Zdravković from Organisation Irida from Novi Sad says that they “engage with gender equality which represents one of the SDGs, but which is also closely related to Global Education.” Besides Irida, the National Global Education Network includes the Association of Rudnjan Hosts from Rudno, Association Halfway from Pančevo as well as the Jedi Movement from Niš.
All of these organisations but also BalkanIDEA Novi Sad, Belgrade Centre for Human Rights as well as the Young Researchers of Serbia with more than 3000 of its members, for a long time now they’ve been organising nonformal education – education that puts the user at the forefront and includes them in the learning process.
Umbrella organisations are also important as they represent the united voices of many organisation branches spread across Serbia. With the Scout Association of Serbia which numbers 34 units with more than 1488 members as well as the Union of Secondary School Students of Serbia which gathers more than 186 student parliaments from all over Serbia, the National Global Education Network can reach vast numbers of young people.
“Quadrilogues” for a better tomorrow
We can’t do anything alone. Every worthwhile initiative implies collective action and networking. It’s needed when we want to move a closet in a room – doubly so when we want to change the whole society for the better. The North-South Centre recommends that actors in each country engage in what they call “quadrilogue”, ie. constant communication between representatives of executive, legislative and local authorities, as well as the civil society.
For Strahinja Poledica from the Užice Youth Office, Global Education represents “networking with institutions and organisations from Serbia and abroad as an opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills […]”. Aleksandra Pavlović from the Jedi Movement agrees that this is the essence of such a National Network, and adds that it also represents “availability of information and knowledge for all.”
Exchange of good practice examples is crucial here. Some, like BalkanIDEA Novi Sad, already have experience with Global Education – Vuk Stanojev, their representative, says that it stands as “one of the core pillars of our organisation”, and that they have “activities such as ’Awareness is Power’ and ’Activate the Global Change’”, which directly engage with Global Education.
Others engage with human rights, one of the core elements of Global Education. Dejana Đorđević from the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights highlights their „School of Human Rights ’Vojin Dimitrijevic’“, as part of which they talk about „every important ongoings within our country, as well as in the world.“ We also have environmental examples – Anastasija Stevanović from the Kuršumlija Youth Office and the Exito team, says: „Because Kuršumlija is a really small place, we’re trying to clean it up.“ They organised different activities such as „Save a bottle cap“, they placed dumpsters, „fed stray dogs and planted trees.“
It’s our world. Let’s take action!
This year has also been marked by a global crisis – the global COVID-19 pandemic. That Global Education is now even more important, says Jelena Hajduković from the Young Researchers of Serbia. “It is very difficult for formal education institutions like schools to get into every home, to every child.”
In such circumstances, digital educational tools such as the Fun Park app may not be the perfect substitute but they can be a good supplement, especially during times when, as Aleksandra from the Jedi Movement says, there is “a greater availability of disinformation.”
That’s why during Global Education Week, from 16-20 November, we’ll organise a national Global Education quiz competition! The quiz will be created by the participants of the Fun GEeks training – creators of the quiz are representatives of the organisations and institutions that form the National Global Education Network.
The quiz competition will be held online and anybody who downloads the app from Google Play Store or the Apple App Store will be able to participate by playing the quiz about Global Education. Top three players will win the Fun GEeks award, as well as certain valuable prizes!
The Fun Park app was designed in accordance to Global Education principles. Find out more about Global Education: