Discussions between secondary school pupils in Novi Sad and members of Parliament on the problem of violence
NOVI SAD, Serbia - November 22, 2010 - Members of the Committee for Child Rights of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia today met the representatives of the youth and Pupils’ Parliaments of “Mihailo Pupin” Vocational School of Electrical Engineering and “Pavle Savić” Vocational Technical School, two of nine secondary schools included in the “School without violence” programme.
During a two-hour dialogue, the pupils informed the Members of the Parliament of the problem of violence against, and among, young people in their schools, spoke about their understanding of the causes of violence, the activities undertaken within the “School without violence” programme in their schools, the results achieved and the problems they are facing.
During the discussion, the pupils pointed out that violence was more an issue outside schools, in the streets, than in in secondary schools themselves.
“It would be very important to include in the programme more young people who have committed violence themselves and managed to get out of it, as they know best what caused their violent behaviour, and what is a potential stimulus for getting out”, a pupil of “Mihailo Pupin” Vocational School of Electrical Engineering said.
Young people from the Pupils Parliaments had the opportunity to hear directly from the parliamentarians what are the exact duties of the Permanent Body for Child Rights and how parliamentarians can help to improve the position of children and youth, especially in the field of education.
“Talking with children and youth is extremely important to us, since it is the best way to get first-hand information about their situation, activities and the problems they are facing. In addition to a legislative role, the Parliament also has representative and overseeing roles. During our visits to local communities and discussions with representatives of the local authorities, children and young people, we collect important information about implementation of the laws adopted by the Parliament, and also about their impact on children. This year, one of the priorities of the parliamentary Committee for Child Rights, projected by our working plan, is monitoring activities focused on fighting violence in society as a whole, especially violence against and among children and youth. That is why this direct and open dialogue with young people who participate actively in prevention of and response to violence in their schools through the ’School without violence’ programme is invaluable for our work” said Mr.Nikola Novaković, Deputy Speaker and member of the Committee, in his address to pupils.
Concluding their discussion, young people emphasized the need for developing a greater variety of youth programmes within their local communities, such as sports, music and culture, and also to create opportunities for their modern expression, so that their energy would be directed towards positive activities. The young people invited the MPs to make an effort and inspire representatives of their local communities to pay greater attention to, and try to meet the needs of, young people.
The discussion on the necessity of violence prevention in schools, building a non-violent culture among youth, and implementation of the Law on the Basis of Education System was also attended by Mr. Jeges Zoltan, the Secretary for Education of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, as well as UNICEF representatives as partners in implementation of the “School without violence programme” and strategic partners of the parliamentary Committee for Child Rights.
The Committee for Child Rights of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia was established in July 2010. It succeeded the informal parliamentary Working Group for Child Rights, set up in 2008 in cooperation with UNICEF. The Committee is presided over by the Speaker of the Parliament, Ms. Slavica Sjukic-Dejanovic, and the members are six Deputy Speakers of the Parliament and 12 Members of Parliament, representatives of every caucus. UNICEF is the Committee’s strategic partner.
In cooperation with the Secretariat for Education of AP Vojvodina, the “School without violence” programme is implemented in 9 pilot secondary schools in Vojvodina: ”Mihajlo Pupin“ Vocational School of Electrical Engineering and “Pavle Savic” Vocational Technical School in Novi Sad; ”Jan Kolar“ High School in Backi Petrovac; “Svetozar Markovic” High School and Vocational Technical School in Subotica; and Vocational Technical School, School of Economics and Trade, High School and School for Elementary and Secondary education in Becej.
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