Saturday, April 17, 2021

Students debate – should formal education be the main pillar for interethnic integration?

DSC02132Should the formal education be the main pillar of interethnic integration, or not? This was the topic of the public debate organized on May 6 2014, between students from secondary schools “Cvetan Dimov” and “Josip Broz-Tito”. The debate is a part of the cycle named “Debates for Integration in Schools”, which are organized by USAID’s Interethnic Integration in Education Project in partnership with the Youth Education Forum, with an aim to provide students with a platform where they can express their views while critically arguing their positions on topics related to interethnic integration in education.

The debate resulted in a productive exchange of opinions between the debate teams, one of which defended the position that formal education should be the main pillar of interethnic integration, whereas the other team opposed it. The audience also got involved in the debate to share their opinions. A student in the affirmative team, Elena Acevska argued that “most of our time is spent in school and that is why we should nurture integration there; the school should organize different events which focus on cooperation, coexistence and respect because joint activities create friendships”. On the other hand, Ruzhdije Kurtishi from the opposing team claimed that “the municipality as an institution should organize joint activities, where not only young people but all citizens will be able to attend and socialize. In that way, all citizens will share their wish for cooperation and jointly will contribute towards improving the community”.

Debates are productive tools of communication which enable students to learn how to think and express themselves about specific topic. In that way, in addition to mastering the art of public speaking, they also learn how to share and support their own views. This debate, which was held in the building of Cair municipality, was also streamed live on the Youth Education Forums web site, which gave other youngsters and audiences throughout the country the possibility to see the speaking skills that these young people possess, and get more insights on what young people think about interethnic integration in education.

The last public debate of this cycle will take place on May 14 in the municipality of Struga, where students from this city’s schools will confront their arguments on the same topic.