The National Training Human Rights Education organized by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), was held in Podgorica from 19 to 22 April 2018, with the support of the Council of Europe – Department for Youth, within the framework of the Youth for Democracy programme.
Petar Djukanovic, Human Rights programme coordinator at the CCE, within introductory remarks spoke about human rights education as the basis for building human rights culture as a precondition for the sustainability and functionality of the democratic system and values in the society. He also referred to the situation in the field of human rights education in the formal system in Montenegro, and emphasized the importance of this kind of project as a supplement to a formal curriculum in which education for human rights and democratic citizenship is focused adequately. “Education for democratic citizenship has never been more needed in society, given the integration phase towards the EU, which is concentrated on the process of improving human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.” He assessed as reckless decision of the educational authorities to revoke the Civic Education course status of regular and mandatory subject, stating that it will have long-term adverse consenquences. He also pointed to the need to strengthen access to education for democratic citizenship and human rights as one of the responses for increasing youth apathy, lack of interest in social life, and concerning trend of growing discriminatory attitudes among young people in Montenegro. He emphasized the significance of cooperation and exchange between the formal and informal system “because only the joint work of these two systems can give full effect to the development of a culture of human rights through education“.
Angela Longo, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Podgorica, presented the available resources and opportunities offered by the Council of Europe in the field of human rights education. Furthermore, on that occasion, she spoke to the participants about the activities of the local office with an emphasis on a project aimed at contributing to the development of democratic culture in schools through strengthening the principle of democratic participation and the promotion of the principles of human rights which educate about these important values. Longo also spoke about the broader opportunities that the Council of Europe, as a pan-European organization, provides to stakeholders active in the field of education and in general protection and promotion of human rights.
Nenad Koprivica, General Director of the Directorate of Youth at the Ministry of Sport of the Government of Montenegro, explained the policies for youth in Montenegro and on that occasion presented participants with opportunities offered by the Ministry in support of youth initiatives and projects. In addition, he emphasized the importance of involving young people in the creation, monitoring and evaluation of youth policies and invited participants to monitor this area and opportunities available to them in this respect. He particularly emphasized the importance of participation in drafting of youth action plans, as well as numerous other opportunities that enable young people to articulate their needs.
The four-day intensive programme, comprehended as a combination of theoretical and interactive, practical and workshop work, was aimed at contributing to the development of competences and motivating participants to develop and implement educational activities in the field of human rights both in the domain of formal education and in the field of youth work in a set of projects and initiatives of youth organizations.
During the training course, the participants learned about the contemporary concept of human rights and their evolution, as well as the current challenges in the application of legislative and institutional framework in Montenegro through the lecture of lawyer Sergej Sekulovic. Trainer of the Council of Europe, Vojislava Tomić, throgh series of workshops, presented educational materials and other resources developed by the Council of Europe, primarily Compass – the educational manual for human rights education, and a variety of applications in the formal and informal sector. She also worked with the participants addressing the issues of freedom of speech, rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups, importance of youth activism in the field of human rights promotion and anti-discrimination. Through practical examples and the results of the No hate speech movement campaign on the importance of combating hate speech spoke pedagogue Vanja Rakocevic. Moreover, the participants had the opportunity to learn about importance of media literacy through the presentation of the campaign Let’s choose what we are watching! by Suncica Bakic, Deputy Director of the Agency for Electronic Media. Also, participants learned, through the workshop with psychologist Dejan Rudović, about the hate speech on Internet and in real vicinity, as well as how to recognize and fight against the threats that these types of behavior brings.
Prejudice and stereotypes are the potential for discrimination and human rights violations. How they function and how they can be deconstructed to prevent their escalation was discussed by psychologist Tamara Milic through the workshop. Marius Jite, representative of the CoE Youth Department, presented in detail to the participants the work of this segment of the institution and a large number of opportunities for institutional and financial support to initiatives in the field of youth work and human rights education. Miloš Knežević, from the CCE, worked on raising the notion of discrimination, as well as the potential of modern technologies, Internet and social networks in the field of human rights activism.
The training gathered 26 participants from all over Montenegro, representatives of scholar and student associations, high school students, pupils and volunteer clubs, teachers and professors, as well as representatives of youth organizations dealing with formal and non-formal education. In addition to learning about different aspects of human rights, training was an opportunity for intergenerational learning, networking and sharing experiences among different actors to promote one of the core principles of the Charter of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights of the Council of Europe. At the end of the training, participants received certificates and educational packages from the CoE with the latest publications intended for use in educational activities and work with young people on various topics in the field of education for democratic citizenship.
Miloš Knežević, PR/Programme Associate