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October 8, 2016  Novi Pazar, Serbia

ADVANCING INTERETHNIC INTEGRATION THROUGH INTERCULTURAL EDUCATION

Novi Pazar, Serbia. October 2016. On October 4, 2016, CIG organized a new session of the Regional Forum of Southwestern Serbia/Sandzak. The session was the second consecutive roundtable of the Forum devoted to topic of interethnic integration in the region in the context of the process of European integration of Serbia. Forum members discussed the concept of intercultural education as a new concept of education that could help advance interethnic integration. The concept was developed in several EU member states as the answer to the challenges and failures of the current multiethnic model of education, but also due to the influx of a large number of emigrants of different cultural backgrounds. This model could also be the solution for Serbia and become a key element of its policy of minority integration. Participants reached a number of conclusions and recommendations.

  • The central government should change its way of thinking in the field of education and try to understand the special characteristics of the region. The first step could be the introduction of intercultural education.
  • It is unknown how intercultural education could be implemented in the current context but it is necessary to guarantee that the already achieved rights of the national minorities will be preserved. Intercultural education is a positive upgrade to the existing models of education.
  • One of the key elements of integration is to enable better teaching in schools of the majority language for minorities and the language of the social environment (i.e. the minority languages in the majority minority areas) for members of the majority community.
  • The curriculum should show some flexibility and take into account needs of local communities instead of the existing one-dimensional approach
  • The reform cannot be implemented without a resolute will of the central authorities in Belgrade.

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