Friday, July 28, 2017
The USAID Interethnic Integration in Education Project Ended

The USAID Interethnic Integration in Education Project Ended

Over 1000 teachers, students, parents, representatives of the educational institutions, civil society organisations, USAID and ...

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Conference for Sharing Good Practices for Maintenance of School Buildings Held

Conference for Sharing Good Practices for Maintenance of School Buildings Held

After the organized trainings for maintenance of the schools intended for the members of the ...

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Conducted creative corners training

Conducted creative corners training

By the end of January, a three-day training was conducted in Skopje for creative corners ...

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Demonstration schools – where were we and what changed in the meantime?

Demonstration schools – where were we and what changed in the meantime?

In the course of the week, in four demonstration schools: PS “Brakja Miladinovci“ and ES ...

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Improved school environment for the elementary school students in Krusevo and Mogila

Improved school environment for the elementary school students in Krusevo and Mogila

At the end of December, two ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held in the elementary schools “Sv. ...

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A lesson to remember: Speaking different languages can not stop us from being friends

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Forty-seven students from primary schools “Dituria” from Lipkovo and “Vuk Karadzic” from Kumanovo taught adults a lesson to be remembered: speaking a different language or coming from a different ethnic background is not a hindrance to friendship, fun, and cooperation. On the contrary, integrating people of different cultures, languages or beliefs is the epitome of harmony and splendor. Just like the mixed folk-dance performed by students from the two partner schools, integration is beautiful, colorful but also quintessential for the dance to go round.

On April 16, while teachers and students from Lipkovo were visiting their colleagues and friends from the partner school in Kumanovo and conducting their planned joint IMG_9710activities, the IIEP team had the opportunity to talk to a group of these students. When asked if they would make friends with children of different ethnic backgrounds outside of school, the children shouted a “yes”. A first-grader of Roma ethnicity, said “I have many Albanian and Macedonian friends, we play ball together all the time”, when asked if language hindered their communication, he said “I speak a little Albanian, and if we can’t understand each other, we use mimics”.

As a product of a three-month close collaboration, teachers from the two primary schools came up with an integrated acting and dance performance and numerous fun workshops for the students. In ethnically mixed groups, the children took part in a variety of activities, such as: coloring Easter eggs and decorating cards, learning about traditional folk-dances, playing volleyball, visiting the water cleaning station, and other. The psychologist from “Dituria” told the IIEP team that “the students couldn’t sleep from excitement, they would come to my office everyday to ask me ‘when will we go to that other school?’”, she also added that this sort of activities is what makes the concept of integration tangible to children and that there should be more of these activities.

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Several parents had come to help with the activities and to support the concept of interethnic integration in education. One parent told the IIEP team: “I would love to see my child study in a mixed environment; after all, we are all the same, aren’t we?!”

Untarnished from social constructions which divide and segregate people of different backgrounds, these youngsters coming from two different schools, with different languages of instruction and ethnic backgrounds, enjoyed having spent a whole day together. They could not hide their eagerness to meet up again in the future, when the students from “Vuk Karadzic” will pay a return visit to “Dituria”.

Building these kinds of partnerships and organizing joint activities through mutual visits between partner schools is one of the core activities of USAID’s Project for Interethnic Integration in Education (IIEP). The aim of these activities is to acquaint youngsters from different schools with different ethnic composition and include them in activities that relate to their interest, aspiring that these encounters will strengthen the skills of students and schools staff and the professional collaboration among the schools, contribute to better understanding of diversity and better interethnic integration, and, why not, as it has happened frequently in this project, blossom into longstanding friendships.