During this roundtable civil society, pupils, parents etc. presented their views regarding the best interest of the child within the education system, in terms of legislation, policies, curriculum, budget allocation for education, organization of education system, teaching and education, pedagogical approach, quality and infrastructure.
The Chair of Thematic Group on Education – KOMF, Petrit Tahiri has presented the main purpose of the meeting. While, Remzije Krasniqi, member of this Group, Agnesa Qerimi, Director of the Kosovo Youth Council and Ymret Reshiti, Chairperson of the Parents Council of Kosovo presented their views about the best interest of the child in the education system.
According to Krasniqi, the organization of the education system continues to not take into consideration the best interest of the child. She said that the psychological state of children is not considered as an important issue within the education system. Over the last ten years, the education system has undergone many changes, including frequent curricular changes, old, inappropriate and discriminatory books content, even with multiple spelling and linguistic errors, inclusion of new tests for students, new school subjects, evaluation process changes, outages of the educational process as a result of teacher strikes etc.
Director of Kosovo Youth Council, Agnesa Qerimi, said that the current education system does not meet the elementary needs of pupils, either at primary or secondary level. According to Qerimi, a concrete example of non-respect of the child’s best interest is the recent teachers’ strikes that did not take into account the rights of the children for education.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Parents Council of Kosovo, Ymret Reshiti said that the interventions of various interest groups continue to interfere in the education system, by violating the best interest of the child. He added that the role of parents should be more active in requiring responsibility from the respective institutions regarding all the irregularities that are happening in the education system.
After opening remarks, participants continued to discuss and propose recommendations about the best interest of the child within the education system.
The main recommendations from this roundtable were:
To prioritize education sector within government policies, review and increase the budget for education, in order to be consistent with policies and strategies and enables them to be implemented in practice.
To create of friendly environment in schools in order to guarantee safety and prevention of all forms of violence;
To prohibit any forms of violence in schools, reporting and taking legal measures to prevent and punish cases of violence in schools.
- To build teachers’ capacities through training to unsure effective and qualitative work with children; to provide positive discipline programs to teachers for practicing positive methods for child education.
- To activate education inspectors in inspecting the progress of the teaching process; to ensure implementation of legislation, including those that regulate violence in schools and implementation of the Protocol on the Prevention of Violence in Schools.
- To fulfill the necessary number of professional pedagogical staff, as psychologists and pedagogues in order to provide a multidisciplinary approach in schools.
- To conduct a research or assessment in order to ascertain the impact of actions in the education sector on the physical and psychological state of children.
- To make an immediate review of textbooks in order to improve discriminatory terminology
- To immediately remove physical barriers that affect the access of children with disabilities to school facilities.
Thereafter, together with member organizations, KOMF will continue the cooperation with the Students Council of Kosovo, Kosovo Youth Council and Parents Council of Kosovo to come up with an official stance on the best interest of children in the education system, along with recommendations and further actions towards institutions.
This roundtable was organized in the framework of the “Supporting Toddlers/pre-schoolers Achievement through Refined Teaching (START)”, project financed by World Vision Germany. The project is implemented by coalitions of NGOs for child protection in six countries: Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Armenia and Georgia.