A culture of dialogue – the foundation of democracy
“Simulation of the Work of Parliament for Secondary School Students” provides young people with an opportunity to develop a culture of dialogue and strengthen democracy in Montenegro
PODGORICA, 3 November 2022 – A culture of dialogue is the foundation of democracy. It is learned from a young age, and the programme “Simulation of the Work of Parliament for Secondary School Students” provides young people with the opportunity to develop a culture of dialogue and, in this way, strengthen democracy in Montenegro, UNICEF Representative to Montenegro Juan Santander said at the opening of this educational initiative of the Parliament of Montenegro.
“Let us begin from the fact that we agree to disagree, that is, that we may hold different opinions, which is perfectly fine. This is only normal and desirable because the more of us there are looking at the same problem from different angles, the better we understand it. Every solution to a problem has some good and some bad sides. The point is to engage in dialogue to choose one solution and agree on how we intend to overcome the challenges of that solution.”
Dijana Lekovic, a student at ‘Petar I Petrovic Njegos’ General Secondary School, believes that young people need more education about the political system. “It is necessary to strengthen civic education for young people to be more active in community life,” Lekovic said.
Jovan Sekulic, a student at ‘Mirko Vesovic’ Secondary School of Economics, said that, thanks to the simulation programme, he had learned about all the elements of the work of the Parliament. “The most interesting lesson was discussing the term ‘democracy’,” Sekulic pointed out.
The aim of the “Simulation of the Work of Parliament” programme is to help adolescents become acquainted practically with the process of passing a law, from its entry into the parliamentary procedure, to decision making at the plenary session. In this way, young people can acquire the knowledge and skills they need to participate in developing policies and laws that affect their lives.
The President of the Parliament, Danijela Djurovic, assessed that children and young people are interested in the way important state decisions are made but do not have sufficient opportunities to learn about topics in the field of civic education. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to talk with you in the plenary hall of the Parliament of Montenegro today,” Djurovic said.
The UK Ambassador to Montenegro, Karen Maddocks, emphasised that young people should have a voice in the political process, whether in parliament, political parties, non-governmental organizations or the media.
“I hope that the opportunity you have today to be in the role of a member of parliament will not be your only contact with the parliament. I encourage you to keep reminding politicians – your representatives – that they are here to serve your interests,” Maddocks said.
Secondary school students were eager to learn how the state intends to enable young people to familiarize themselves with the work of state bodies and whether more secondary school students will be included in programmes similar to the simulation, and find out in which Balkan country the rights of children and young people are under greatest threat, etc.
During the first day of the programme, participants simulated the work that takes place during the parliament’s constituent sitting, followed by the work in MP clubs and parliamentary committees.
The “Simulation of the Work of Parliament” programme is being organized for the second year by the Education Centre of the Parliament of Montenegro with the support of the UNICEF office in Montenegro. Students from four secondary schools – ‘Slobodan Skerovic’ General Secondary School and ‘Mirko Vesovic’ Economics Secondary School from Podgorica, Cetinje General Secondary School and ‘Petar I Petrovic Njegos’ General Secondary School from Danilovgrad – took part in this year’s simulation.