Youth in Serbia do not have a sufficiently developed awareness of the importance of cultural diversity, which is a consequence of the absence of interculturality in the formal education system. Over 40% of youth in Serbia believe that being Serbian completely describes their identity, while one fifth of youth believe that the loss of national identity would be inevitable if Serbia becomes a member of the European Union (EU). These data additionally show that young people do not understand and do not know enough about what interculturality is, as well as that they do not what the EU values represents. In the new conditions of growing Euroscepticism and the spread of nationalist narratives in the public space due to the crisis in Ukraine, which affects both Europe and the Western Balkan region, the risk of growing cultural and ethnic distance among youth in Serbia is greater.

In the formal education system, the development of intercultural educational components is being worked on, but still at the level of theory and strategic measures. Since the introduction of the Strategy for the Development of Education and Training in the Republic of Serbia until 2030 in 2020, there has been no progress in the implementation of measures to improve and encourage interculturality in education, although the strategic importance of this concept has been recognized. The Action plan of the Education Development Strategy 2021-2023 envisages the development of training programs and their implementation for school representatives, but so far this measure has not been implemented. The reason for this is mainly contained in the lack of capacity and resources.

The experience of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the education of young people on the topic of interculturality through informal education is a valuable resource and can contribute to policy makers and decision makers in forming the basis for the development of intercultural education. At the same time, many secondary schools throughout Serbia have cooperated with civil society organizations in the field of supplementary and non-formal education, and the will, understanding of the importance and basis for more intensive cooperation exist. Recognizing the potential to integrate intellectual education into the formal education system with joint efforts resulted in the initiation of an initiative to gather relevant actors and work together in the creation and implementation of measures.

The project “Together for the development of intercultural education” is an advocacy project aimed at contributing to the development of dialogue and cooperation between civil society and public authorities in the promotion of interculturality and human rights in the system of formal youth education. The project is of an advocacy nature and is specifically aimed at:

SO 1: To establish an institutional intersectoral mechanism for monitoring and improving measures for the development of intercultural education in the formal education system.

SO 2. To develop supporting educational programs for youth and teachers for the introduction of intercultural education into the formal education system.

SO 3. To raise the awareness of the wider population about the importance of introducing intercultural education into the system of formal education of young people.

The cross-sector informal working group that forms the basis of the advocacy initiative will also receive expert support in the form of engaging an expert team (research and mapping of conditions for the development of intercultural education; development of a syllabus for trainings for teachers and youth; creation of a practical policy proposal).

Expected results: 1. Improved cooperation of civil society organizations, high schools and relevant state authorities in the field of planning and implementation of policies in the field of education development – by forming an Intersectoral Informal Working Group; 2. Developed specific tools and methodologies to support the introduction of intercultural education programs into the formal education system, based on research into practice and systems; Realized advocacy campaign for the improvement of policy measures in the field of intercultural education within the Action Plan 2023/2023 of the Education Development Strategy; 4. Successfully implemented campaign on the importance of developing intercultural education and human rights education.

Project duration: October 2022 – July 2023.

The project Together for the development of intercultural education is implemented within the Belgrade Open School project “Dialogue of Change”, with the financial support of the European Union. The content of this page does not necessarily reflect the views of the donors or the Belgrade Open School, and the European Movement in Serbia is solely responsible for it.