Serbia: Education and practical skills

Serbia: Education and practical skills

With the disintegration of traditional authorities and the value system, and without a new one to replace it, young people have lost clear perspective of their future and are beginning to turn towards ideas and concepts involving extremism and nationalism.

At the same time they are the ones that will define the character, structure and values of the Serbian society in times to come. There is an obvious confusion of values and lack of knowledge and awareness among them on the issue of discrimination on all grounds which often leads to demonstrations of intolerance and incapacity to appreciate cultural diversity within Serbia, but also in relation to other countries. Young people often have bad associations with terms explaining democratisation and integration processes, and have little or no notion of being an integral part of the contemporary world. Lack of opportunities for young people to gain the knowledge essential for dealing with society in transition and for perceiving Serbia in the wider socio-economic and political context of the outside world is an alarming issue for contemporary Serbian society.

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Ongoing aid

Support for human rights education

Support for human rights education

In Serbia and Kosovo, PIN promotes new approaches to raising human rights awareness among teachers and students using documentary films as an educational tool. PIN receives support from the National Endowment Fund for Democracy and together with local partners, works to educate university students intending to become teachers on how to incorporate documentary films and post-screening discussions into education in order to tackle controversial topics and promote human rights awareness.

PIN and its local partner Fund B92 in Serbia work with professors from the University of Belgrade’s Philosophy Department to develop practical guidance for other professors and teachers who are interested in adopting this approach or teaching the approach to others. In 2018, we aim to expand the pilot course to at least three other departments in universities across Serbia.

This approach to human rights awareness stems from PIN’s “One World in Schools” programme (www.oneworldinschools.cz), which uses documentary films and other audio-visual materials to educate students from elementary schools to universities on human rights and democracy. Built on the success and experience of the One World Film Festival, currently the largest human rights film festival in Europe, PIN has developed educational modules with documentary films and accompanying materials to help teachers educate their students about tolerance and respect for the rights of others, which are essential values and principles for a democratic society. In the Czech Republic, this educational programme has been implemented for more than a decade. The materials are currently used by teachers in over 3,000 primary and secondary schools throughout the country. In 2009, this groundbreaking methodology was piloted in Lebanon. That year, One World in Schools received the World Aware Education Award from the Council of Europe, in recognition for excellence in networking, partnership, and coordination for increased and improved global education. Since 2010, One World in Schools has implemented similar projects in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Georgia, Armenia, and Mongolia.

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