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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.4 Raising awareness about global issues

Last update: 15 March 2021
On this page
  1. Formal, non-formal and informal learning
  2. Youth-targeted information campaigns on global issues
  3. Information providers
  4. Key initiatives
Formal, non-formal and informal learning

In formal education, global issues are covered on all education levels across different curricula.  Secondary education covers these problems across varied subjects, especially geography, biology, sociology, psychology, citizenship education, history. However, subjects of sociology and citizenship education focus on these topics more than other subjects.

Sociology is thought as a mandatory subject in general upper secondary education in fourth grade with 66 annual recommended school hours for natural sciences stream and 99 annual recommended school hours for social sciences and 70 hours in four-years vocational secondary schools. Covered topis referring to global issues are:  

  • social change and social conflicts;
  • globalization and transition;
  • population and environmental problems;
  • city and settlements;
  • work and economic aspects of society;
  • politics;
  • nations and nationalism;
  • religion.

Civil liberties and human rights are covered by a mandatory subject Constitution and citizens' rights in secondary vocational schools is thought 30 school hours a year.

Compulsory optional subject in both general and vocational upper secondary schools, Citizenship education is thought in all grades with total of 144 school hours for all four years. Pupils can chose this subject every year against religious education. Main topics covered by this subjects are:

  • globalization;
  • human rights, citizens and democracy;
  • peace and threats to peace;
  • economic and social rights;
  • the right to a healthy environment.

In general upper secondary education additional, offered optional subject that cover global issues are:  

  • Education for sustainable development
  • Fundamentals of geopolitics
  • Religions and civilizations

Pupils can choose twooffered optional subjects in each grade. The optional subjects count total of 428 school hours in four years.

Vocational secondary schools are increasingly introducing new subjects and educational profiles that deal specifically with environmental protection in a specific field of work. Thus, for example, in addition to the educational profile of eco-sanitary technician in medical schools, a new profile was introduced - a technician for environmental protection in the field of chemistry, non-metals and graphics. Contents related to environmental protection are integrated into subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Ecology and Environmental Protection, Disinfection and Pest Control, etc.

Study programmes covering global issues are offered by a number of higher education institution in Serbia. These can be either public or private universities or colleges offering study programmes at bachelor, master and doctoral levels.

In terms of non-formal learning knowledge on global issues in Serbia can be acquired through different initiatives and programmes organized by civil society organisations, formal education providers or international organisations like the Center for the Promotion of Science (CPN), the Institute fo Nature Conservation of Serbia, Young Researchers of Serbia, Petnica Research Station, Belgrade Open School, GIZ and others.

The Fund for Young Talents under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, among others, provides awards to secondary school students for their achievements in recognized competitions in the country and abroad. The calendar of the competitions is published for each school year and cover competitions in school, municipal, regional and republic level related to school subjects. Some of them especially target global issues, such are competitions in sociology or National Ecological Olympiad.  

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development conducts the annual Call for the allocation of funds to encourage programmes of public interest that are important for education and implemented by associations.

A total of 53 associations received financial support in 2019 and 33 projects were financed in the field of education for sustainable development. Total value of the approved funds was RSD 5,719,000.00 or 65% of the total available funds.

The Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, organises educational programmes for students realized through:

  • thematic lectures;
  • presentations and workshops on nature protection in the premises of the Institute;
  • visiting of professional associates of the Institute at lectures on nature protection at faculties;
  • Participation of professional associates of the Institute in student eco-research camps and field teaching;
  • realization of professional practice of students at the Institute;
  • Participation of students in nature protection actions implemented by the Institute in cooperation with civil society organizations;
  • thematic forums, discussion groups and round tables;
  • Participation of students in the promotional activities of the Institute at festivals, fairs, etc.

The largest number of programmes is realized for students of Biology, Forestry, Geography, Pharmacy and the Faculty of Security Studies of the University of Belgrade, as well as the Faculty of Applied Ecology FUTURA.

Through a project in the field of climate change implemented by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, with the technical support of the UN Development Programme and the financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) an interactive textbook on climate change called "Climate Box" is being translated and prepared for children and young people in Serbia.  The box will be translated into Serbian with local examples and presentations of real conditions and thus adjusted to the needs of the domestic education system. The adaptation of the "Climate Box" also includes training for lecturers in the field of biology, geography, physics, and environmental protection.

Within the project "Strengthening the capacity for improved implementation of multilateral agreements in the field of environmental protection" funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in cooperation with institutions of the Republic of Serbia, guidelines for youth organizations and local youth offices for planning projects in the field of environmental protection was developed. The purpose of the guidelines is to bring the field of environment closer to the subjects of youth policy and to refer to current topics in this field.

Educators' support

Besides initial education offered by higher education institutions in Serbia, programmes of continuous professional development are provided to teachers through the Catalogue of accredited programmes by the Institute for Improvement of Education.  Didactic-methodical guidance for teaching and learning is developed for teachers responsible for subjects dealing with global issues within the Bylaw on the gymnasium curriculum and the Bylaw on the curriculum for common subjects in vocational and art schools. Moreover, each curriculum contains a didactic-methodical instruction which, together with general instruction, gives a teacher a complete picture of the nature of a specific optional programme and its realization. 

Within the concept of Science Education for a Responsible Society, the Centre for the Promotion of Science (CPN) has developed a programme for teachers whose main goal is to create an environment for learning and discovering science. The Centre is a public institution, established in 2010 by the former Ministry of Science with the task of promoting science and technology. In accordance with its mandate, the Center implements programmes and activities working with research and educational institutions in Serbia and around the world, and closely cooperates with the republic ministries, media and the private sector. As the national contact point of the largest European network of science teachers - Scientix, the idea is to connect teachers, their practices and experiences, as well as to promote STEM disciplines (see Glossary), new pedagogical approaches, cooperation and project financing through various European funds. During 2017 and 2018, more than 40 events with this programme were held in Belgrade and about twenty cities and smaller places throughout Serbia. Many of these events were dedicated to the climate change issues and environmental protection.

Training of teachers, upper secondary pupils and students in new techniques, methods and contents in various scientific disciplines is also performed within the Petnica Research Station, an independent organization that deals with the development of scientific culture, scientific literacy, education and culture. Petnica’s programmes cover a wide range of fields and disciplines within the natural, social and technical sciences, including the fields of ecology, environment, as well as the concept of sustainable development.

Global Education Guidelines, a pedagogical handbook developed by the North-South Center of the Council of Europe in consultation with the Global Education Network was translated to Serbian as a support for educators and policy creators. It serves as a guide for understanding and practicing global education, in formal and non-formal education contexts.

Youth-targeted information campaigns on global issues

In general, in Serbia key initiatives in disseminating information on global issues are mostly carried out by the civil society sector occasionally with the support of relevant public institutions or ministries. Even though information usually targets all citizens, some campaigns are designed exclusively for young people.

As part of the the Youth Rules Programme (Mladi su zakon) (described in more details in Chapters2.4 Youth volunteering at national leveland 9.5 Green volunteering, production and consumption), call for youth project ideas was launched in 2020 under the slogan #ŠtaNamTeško. The call is conducted by Young Researchers of Serbia in partnership with the , the Vojvodina Environment Movement, CeGraD, TIM 42, EMPOWER with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Through this Call, until December 2020, 150 youth volunteer projects will be supported throughout Serbia in the amount of 20,000 to 42,000 dinars per project, and a total of 5,460,000 dinars.  The actions that young people can carry out can be environmental, educational, social, i.e. especially targeted at vulnerable groups of people, then renovations, campaigns, cultural programmes.

Serbia participate in the Global Education Week, an initiative that aims to popularize the concept of Global Education (see Glossary) as a tool for achieving solidarity in the world through the creation of active global citizenship. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has the role of the National Coordinator for Global Education at the Global Education Network managed by the North-South Center of the Council of Europe. The Ministry participates in organizing, implementing, and coordinating activities for Global Education Week, as well as providing support to those who need it.

Every year, during the third week of November, members of the North-South Center simultaneously organize various activities with the aim of emphasizing the importance and need for Global Education at the local level. The activities can be of various nature, such as public discussions and dialogues, short film festivals, workshops, quizzes, social media campaigns and more. These activities can be organized by local governments, schools, preschool institutions, youth offices, cultural institutions, citizens' associations, associations of associations, informal groups, etc. Each year, Global Education Week has a different focus around which activities are thematically organized.

Many green campaigns are organised by the civil society organisations. One of the larger ones is  the International Green Culture Festival -Green Fest organized by the Centre for Environmental Improvement and the Belgrade Youth Centre  with the support of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the City of Belgrade - Secretariat for Environmental Protection, the French Embassy and the French Institute, the Heinrich Bell Foundation, as well as with other numerous partners. "GREEN FEST" is the largest "green" event in the region of Southeast Europe, dedicated to ecology and environmental protection, which through educational, film, exhibition and activist programmes and products encourages a culture of living in accordance with green values.

The festival is divided into 3 parts:

  • GREEN SCREEN FEST - film programme, is an international film programme, divided into two subprogrammes; feature and short and medium length films.
  • GREEN FIELD is an international educational programme, offering new approaches to education through peer and expert education programmes.
  • GREEN SQUARE is an international exhibition programme, which presents companies, organizations, artists, social enterprises and pupils’ companies that develop "green" products and initiatives.

Within the festival, the Volunteer Programme for youth is also active.

Information providers

There are no particular public authorities responsible for disseminating information on global issues among young people. Instead, each actor active in the field finds appropriate ways of reaching the young audience.

Key initiatives

The provisions of Article 74 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, stipulates that everyone has the right to a healthy environment and to timely and complete information on its state, that everyone is responsible for environmental protection as well as that everyone is obliged to protect and improve the environment.

The National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 includes as one of its specific objectives the strengthening of capacities of young people to engage in environmental initiatives and participate actively in decision-making related to climate change and environmental protection.

In accordance with the Aarhus Convention, which was ratified by the Republic of Serbia in 2009, a provision on public participation in decision-making and the right to legal protection on environmental issues was included in the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly. Based on this, the Committee for the Environmental Protection may enable the presence, i.e. participation of representatives of citizens and citizens' associations at the session of the Committee in the discussion on certain issues in the field of environmental protection. Pursuant to this provision, in 2013, the Committee established a permanent “The Green Chair”, to which it invites representatives of non-governmental organizations, i.e. civil society with the aim to give priority to the topics of environmental protection and sustainable development when deciding in the National Assembly. The Green Chair is a network of over 60 non-governmental organizations dealing with the environment in the broadest sense, coordinated by representatives of the Young Researchers of Serbia, the Centre for Modern Skills and the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence. These three organisations represent the secretariat of the informal green parliamentary group.

In addition, the Green Council is an institutional mechanism for improving the environment at the level of local self-government. Through the work of the Green Councils, local self-government establishes long-term cooperation with civil society and citizens who are interested in solving problems and applying European standards in the field of environment. Youth volunteer work is also being affirmed through this initiative.  The establishment of such advisory body was launched in 2010 and the Aarhus Centre from Kragujevac, with the help of the OSCE, developed the first models of decisions for the establishment of the Council, and the initiative was supported by the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.

The Europa Diary is a publication realized in cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union in the Republic of Serbia with the Ministries of Education, Science and Technological Development and of European Integration in which pupils and their teachers can easily and in an interesting way learn about the European Union, its values ​​and the opportunities it provides. Some of the topics in the Europa Diary are learning and volunteering in the EU, student opportunities, internet security, the digital world of innovation, human and minority rights, myths about the EU, the environment, culture. Within the initiative, a competition "Europe and I" is also organised. It invites upper secondary school pupils to participate with their creative and innovative works, individually or as a team on topics: EU and Serbia, the EU in your everyday life, myths about the EU, human rights, environment and climate change, violence prevention and Europe - united in diversity.