On 13 December 2018, in Podgorica, the Council of Europe Education Department held the conference with the aim to present the results of the project “Fostering a Democratic School Culture in Montenegro” implemented during 2016 – 2018 in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
The project was realised through the network of 26 pilot schools with the aim to improve the quality of education in Montenegro by fostering democratic culture in the formal education system, based on the Relevant Framework for Democratic Culture Competences of the Council of Europe. Through the project, pupils have been given the opportunity to master the knowledge necessary for participation in the culture of democracy and peaceful life with others in culturally diverse democratic societies.
During two-year pilot project implementation with 18 gymnasiums and secondary vocational schools and 4 primary schools included, selected school coordinators together with local and international experts raised awareness among teachers, employees, pupils and local community representatives on policies, practice and benefits of inclusive education and democratic culture, as well as on eliminating prejudices and discriminatory approach towards vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as children of Roma and Egyptian minorities. Certain number of pilot schools improved its inclusive environment and introduced special measures for promoting tolerance and interethnic dialogue.
At the conference, attended by a large number of teachers, representatives of the Bureau for Education Services, the Ministry of Education, NGOs, were presented guidelines for creating a safe and inclusive school environment within school curriculum and examples of good democratic culture practice in Montenegrin schools. The presentation was followed by a projection of short documentary films “Educational excursion – Varieties connect us” and “What is needed to build a democratic society”.
At the opening of the conference the audience was addressed by Ms. Tamara Milić, Head of Unit for Preschool and Inclusive Education at the Ministry of Education, who congratulated the Council of Europe, schools, teachers, directors of schools and children on their engagement that contributed to the successful realisation of the project, through which the new democratic environment was introduced in schools and stated: “This project enabled us to have schools that are fair, righteous and offering equal opportunity for all”.
Introductory word also gave Mr. Romain Boitard, representative of the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro.“I’ll emphasize everything we accomplished together: 26 pilot schools, 1500 education professionals and local community representatives involved in developing local action plans to strengthen democratic culture in schools, 7000 members of communities including pupils, teachers and parents involved in the organization of the “inclusive days”, 11 October established as national “Inclusive day” in Montenegro, 200 teachers received certified trainings on how to teach democracy and human rights and build transversal knowledge through extracurricular activities,” he said, highlighting some of the achievements of the project.
In her introductory remarks, Ms. Vesna Atanasova, Programme Manager, Division of Cooperation and Capacity Building, Education Department in the Council of Europe, highlighting the following: “Through the project we created a network of 26 schools that will be able to share gained knowledge with others. At the project end, we prepared guidelines in which we presented what is being implemented and how we can use the good practice and experience of pilot schools with the goal of its upgrade to a policy level.”
The final Conference of the project “Fostering a democratic school culture” is organised within the joint EU/CoE Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey, funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by Council of Europe.