The significance of democratic citizenship and inclusive education in fostering social cohesion, active participation and equal opportunities for all participants of the education system was emphasised at the conference “Democratic citizenship and inclusive education”. The conference was held in Podgorica, under the joint European Union and Council of Europe action “Quality education for all”.
Yngve Engstrom, Head of Co-operation in the European Union Delegation to Montenegro said on this occasion that the EU attached a big importance to the action “Quality education for all”. “The action exactly tackles inequality in education by promoting inclusion and solutions to address discrimination in the education system, thus contributing to an inclusive, peaceful and democratic society and engaged citizens in Montenegro. We particularly welcome the fact that the action recognises the inequalities in digital access and digital marginalisation that are particularly evident for youth”, he said.
“The ongoing action on quality education has guided us on the inclusive education path”, said Tamara Milić, Head of Inclusive Education Department in the Ministry of Education. “We intend to continue by strengthening competences, primarily of teachers who are pillars of a democratic processes and serve as role models for children”, added Milić.
Lejla Dervišagić, Head of Council of Europe Programme Office in Podgorica noted: “We are going through difficult times, there has been a rise in the number of violent incidents among students. Headlines of school violence appear with unfortunate regularity in the media. Through its action in education, Council of Europe wants to help tackle the problem at its roots, before it escalates. Laying down bases of respect and inclusion will hopefully help us to build a more peaceful and cohesive society in the future”.
Vesna Atanasova, Head of Unit in the Council of Europe`s Education Department informed the participants about the Reykjavík Principles for Democracy adopted at the Council of Europe Summit on 16 and 17 May 2023. “The Heads of state and government committed themselves to invest in a democratic future by ensuring that everyone is able to play their role in democratic processes. Priority will be given to support the participation of young persons in democratic life and decision-making processes, including through education about human rights and core democratic values, such as pluralism, inclusion, non-discrimination, transparency and accountability”.
The conference brought together around 70 participants from Montenegro, mostly representatives of primary and secondary schools and of relevant public authorities and civil society organisations. The event provided a platform for fruitful discussions, knowledge exchange, and collaboration among educators, experts, and other stakeholders.
It was organised within the framework of the joint European Union/Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye“.