Friday, July 29, 2005

Half of Serbia Illiterate?

Half of Serbia without primary education

BELGRADE -- Friday – According to statistics from the Education Ministry, nearly 50 percent of Serbian citizens never finished elementary schooling.

This means that over 3 million people in Serbia are considered illiterate by all international and European standards. While night schools are meant to help people in such situations, because of numerous problems and the lack of support from state institutions, help is hard to find.

There are a total of twelve adult schooling institutions in Serbia, all of which are currently on recess. According to the Education Ministry, this school year was once again filled with various problems faced by institutions responsible for the primary schooling of people over the age of 15.

The director of one such school, Nada Pejovic-Mitrovic, said that the schools do not have enough resources for the proper education of adults.

“The education of adults is considered very marginal, there are not enough resources, and no one is addressing the issue. I have been a director in this system of education for eleven years. Eleven years ago there were eighteen of these schools now there are only twelve or thirteen. That means that these school have already been cut down by about 30 percent either because they have lost their facilities or that the directors of such schools were not able to convince people to attend.” she said.

Adult schooling festivals are organized every year in an effort to make the public aware of these problems faced by those working in such institutions. Experts say that the biggest lack of interest is being shown by the state institutions.

The institutions disinterest for these issues is best displayed by the recent failure to implement the project of setting up a special sector for adult education in Ada.

“I really cannot believe it myself. Firstly, adults will receive an education. Secondly, it would give teachers jobs who are currently on the market looking for employment. My professors will get five to ten percent which they need to reach the norm, while visiting the schools on a monthly basis for testing. Everyone has an interest in this project, but it looks like no one is interested. I cannot do it alone; I am only one small screw in the entire system. I am coming from the home base and looking for options, but I need to be certified to do so by the region of the state so that this school would have the right to work, because I cannot do anything before that.” Pejovic-Mitrovic said.

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