Etnolog+Fotograf

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The DNA Journey – have to see this!

“We asked 67 people from all over the world to take a DNA test, and it turns out they have much more in common with other nationalities than they would ever have thought.”

 

Here is a great blog post about why we should take care how people around us feel about the ethnicity, nationality, gender and race. This video is a truly amazing presentation of who all of us are. Human beings. We have been to many places. Now, we just need to open our mind to see and recognize all of them in us.

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David Kelley – humanizing design

 

Dejvid Keli, osnivac IDEO  firme poznate po human-centered pristupu dizajnu govori o transformaciji dizajnerske profesije od individualizma ka dizajnu kao kolektivnom sportu. Timski rad i indisciplinarnost, po recima Kelija, vodi ka eksploziji novih ideja i ohrabruje kreativnost koja u pomenutoj kombinaciji revolucionarna.

U ovom intervju možete saznati kako je nastao IDEO, kakvim projektima se bave i način na koji angažuju antropologe i dizajnere u procesu kreiranja inovativnih i efikasnih rešenja za različite društvene izazove.

Anthropology, architecture, art and archaeology

 

Tim Ingold is British anthropologist and Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. In his recent work, he links the themes of environmental perception and skilled practice, replacing traditional models of genetic and cultural transmission, founded upon the alliance of neo-Darwinian biology and cognitive science, with a relational approach focusing on the growth of embodied skills of perception and action within social and environmental contexts of human development. This has taken him to examining the use of lines in culture (Lines: a brief history), and the relationship between anthropology, architecture, art and archaeology (Making).

Our humanity, Ingold argues, does not come ready-made but is continually fashioned in our movements along ways of life. Starting from the idea of life as a process of wayfaring, Ingold presents a radically new understanding of movement, knowledge and description as dimensions not just of being in the world, but of being alive to what is going on there.
A central concern in Ingold’s writings is a call to rescue the practice of anthropology from ethnography (the presentation of empirical data on human societies and cultures). Instead of seeing the purpose of anthropology as the mere description of human practices, Ingold purports to show that practicing anthropology is a way of engaging in the lives of others, with the potential to contribute to real transformation, through explorations of the conditions and possibilities of human life in the world.

Ingold aims to bring anthropology back to the center of public debates about what it means to be human, about freedom, about responsibility, about ethics.

5 koraka design thinking metodologije

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“Design thinking is both a process and mindsets. The process has three key parts: Frame, Imagine, Make.”

                     – LimeDesign

Svaki od tri osnovna koraka (Okvir, Zamišljanje, Pravljenje) ima svoje elemente koji bivaju razrađeni tokom grupnih aktivnosti. Design thinker prolazi kroz sledeće elemente kreacije:  empatija, imaginacija, brejnstorming, pravljenje prototipa i testiranje.

I – EMPATIJA

Hodaj u tuđim cipelama. Istinsko razumevanje drugara iz klupe, nastavnika, ili bilo kog zaposlenog u školi važno je za realizaciju malih školskih projekata. Učenje empatije u školi lako se širi i van nje.

II – DEFINISANJE

Glasno govorenje o problemu koji se pojavio. Važno je da se čuje što više glasova. Stavljanje situacije u kulturno-društveni kontekst.

III – BREJNSTORMING

Potrebno je skupiti sve ideje koje vode ka rešenju. Osloboditi učenike od presije da mogu kazati pogrešan odgovor. U procesu učenja, ne postoje pogrešni odgovori.

IV – PROTOTIP

Prvo donešeno rešenje i metod realizacije treba proveriti u krugu poznatih ljudi i videti kako funkcioniše. Praviti beleške i unaprediti funkcionalnost.

V – TESTIRANJE

Uvek isprobaj naučeno ili kreirano u praksi. Ako je projekat neuspešan iz toga će deca naučiti i biće motivisana da kroz kreativan process pokušaju da urade bolje. Ovo je trenutak u kojem razvijate njihovo kritičko mišljenje i istraživačke sposobnosti.

 

Super linkovi za dalje čitanje:

K12 Lab Network – http://www.k12lab.org/

Design Thinking in Schools – http://www.designthinkinginschools.org/

Stanford University – http://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/

Desig for Change – http://www.dfcworld.com/

IDEO – https://www.ideo.com/work/toolkit-for-educators

Film Most Likely to Succeed – http://mltsfilm.org/

Edutopija  – http://www.edutopia.org/blog/improving-schools-through-design-thinking-thomas-riddle

Design thinking

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“U obrazovanju, design thinking osnažuje đake da uoče kako mogu da kreiraju sopstvenu budućnost koristeći okvire različitih disciplina. “

Kada predstavljamo design thinking (DT) koncept, zapravo govorimo o načinu kreiranja koji u centar interesovanja stavlja istinske ljudske potrebe. O stvarnim ljudskim potrebama učimo interesujući se za svakodnevni život običnog čoveka. U procesu kreiranja idealnog rešenja za bilo koje društveno pitanje potreban je tim najrazličitijih osoba. Zbog toga je design thinking timska metodologija. Ona stvara okruženje u kojem važi sistem vrednosti uvažavanja grupnog rada i razvoj veština potrebnih za razumevanje osećanja osoba sa kojima sarađujemo. Empatija se smatra osnovnim elementom produktivnosti u bilo kojoj oblasti poslovanja i učenja. Vega omladinski centar i DFC Srbija su prepoznali kako da design thinking prilagode obrazovnom sistemu. Razvoj filantropije, samopuzdanja, samoinicijativnosti i kreativnosti obrazovni je sistem kakav definitivno želimo da stvorimo među nadolazećim generacijama u Srbiji. Zato vas u ovom kratkom tekstu upoznajemo sa design thinking metodologijom koju nevladina organizacija Vega omladinski centar iz Beograda primenjuje u svom radu kroz Školu za superheroje i Design for Change globalni pokret.

DT koncept potiče od dizajna kao kreacije i razvija se ka dizajnu kao modelu razmišljanja (design thinking). O proizvodima se razmišlja u kontekstu kulture za koju se on stvara. Dakle, dizajner misli na ekološke potrebe, zdravstvene potrebe korisnika, obrazovni aspekt i sl. Za ovako kreirane proizvode potrebno je istraživanje i istinsko interesovanje za onog Drugog. Onaj Drugi može biti osoba, tim, zajednica za koju smatramo da nam je prepreka, prijatelj ili stranac. Upravo primenjujući design thinking upoznajemo drugu stranu priče, učeći se koracima istraživanja, intervjuisanja, mapiranja izvora problema i pokušavajući da pre osuđivanja prošetamo u tuđim cipelama. Design thinking potencira rešavanje zadataka u timu, jer time se dolazi do boljih solucija, a deca kroz timski rad uče se demokratskim principima građanstva: tolerancija, glasanje i većinsko usvajanje najboljeg predloga, brejnstormig, samoinicijativnost. DT je potreban školama, jer njegovo primenjivanje stavlja učenicima do znanja kako postupnim koracima, postavljajući konkretna pitanja svom timu, a zatim i ljudima koji su direktno ili indirektno uključeni u određeni izazov, mogu da promene izvesnu situaciju.

Cilj primenjivanja DT u školama jeste pripremanje učenike za realnost van školskih institucija i teorijskih saznanja koje se stiču za školskim klupama. Svet van škole postoji i što pre deca počnu da ga izazivaju, to će se bolje snalaziti u situacijama kroz kasnije školovanje, građanske aktivnosti i zapošljavanje. Zbog toga su veštine 21. veka sastavni deo diskursa DT. Veštine 21.veka (http://www.vega.org.rs/design-for-change/vestine-21-veka/) zahtevaju od individue da bude fleksibilna, da dobro funkcioniše u timu, da ume da racionalizuje situaciju u kojoj se nalazi, da pazi na osećanja i potrebe grupe sa kojom sarađuje, da deluje efikasno ali da zadrži kreativan proces dolaženja do rešenja bilo kog zadatka. DT nas pre svega uči kako da učimo. Ovo je najdragocenija veština koju bilo ko može da ponese iz škole.

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Zbogom “bankarsko obrazovanje”!

Reforme u obrazovnom sistemu Srbije ne čini se da su u skladu sa stvarnim potrebama realnosti kakva diplomce čeka jednom kada napuste školske institucije. Ako se osvrnemo na knjigu Paola Freirea “Pedagogija obespravljenih” (http://pescanik.net/politika-oslobodenja/), lako ćemo zaključiti da se školski sistem u Srbiji može svrstati pod tip “bankarskog obrazovanja”, u kojem je učitelj uglavnom nepogrešivi autoritet, a učenik taj koji beleži i pamti informacije. On ih poput bankara čuva, bez znanja na koji način kolekciju informacija može interpretirati, kreativno upotrebiti u odnosu sa drugima koji poseduju drugačiji set saznanja. Nasuprot “bankarskom obrazovanju”, design thinking posmatra obrazovanje kao proces saznavanja, uviđanja, povezivanja, a ne taksativnog pamćenja. Kroz design thinking učitelj saznaje od učenika šta ga motiviše na rad, te ga time ohrabruje da razvija sposobnosti kakve obično bivaju marginalizovane do kasnog doba školskog razvoja. Na taj način zaobilazimo paternalizam koji postoji u školskom i državnom sistemu. U prevodu, na svim društveno-kulturnim nivoima dešava se unižavanje i stvaranje odnosa inferiornosti, što se može tumačiti kao degradirajući društveni element. Iz tog razloga, moto Design for Change globalnog pokreta koji DT metodologiju primenjuje u preko 30 zemalja sveta glasi I CAN ili JA MOGU. Deca su ta koja mogu sama da uvide, iskomuniciraju ideju i promene stvari koje im se ne dopadaju. Na učiteljima i roditeljima je da im veruju i da im dozvole da izraze kreativnost, a da za to ne budu kažnjeni niti nagrađeni.

NVO Vega omladinski centar iz Beograda pridružila se globalnom pokretu Design for Change (www.dfcworld.com) iz Indije koji primenjuje Design thinking metodologiju za obrazovanje dece u osnovnim i srednjim školama. Vega omladinski centar prva je organizacija predstavnik DFC-a u Srbiji. Design for Change škole u formalnom i neformalnom kontekstu postoje u preko trideset zemalja širom sveta. Design thinking onako kako se primenjuje u okviru Design for Change škole, ohrabruje decu da kažu JA TO MOGU. Ovo se odnosi na male promene u njihovom okruženju, koje će biti donete kroz zajedničko odlučivanje u malim grupama, intervjuisanje svih kojih se određeni problem tiče, istrživanje, analiza i smišljanje najefikasnijeg ali najkreativnijeg rešenja. Škole koje će pripremiti učenike za svakodnevni život van školskih institucija, koje će ih naučiti solidarnosti, empatiji i liderstvu, promena je kakva je potrebna društvu.

Design for Change pronalazi svoje utemeljenje ne samo u dizajnu kao logičnom i kreativnom procesu, već i u društvenim naukama poput psihologije, pedagogije i antropologije. Antropološki okvir se najkonkretnije ogleda kroz etnografska istraživanja, sakupljanje podataka, njihovu analizu, obavljanje intervjua i razumevanje kulturnog konteksta na osnovu zabeleženog iskustva. Takođe, pristup vizuelnog beleženja zarad kasnije analize, interpretacije I reprezentacije, spontano navodi đake da postanu svesna medijske sfere i njenog uticaja u društvu. Kroz pisanje dnevnika, crtanjem emocionalnih mapa, korišćenjem fotografije i videa, deca shvataju kako realnost biva kreirana kroz male vizuelne sekvence. Poenta svakog koraka je kontekt situacije, mala i velika slika i konstanto propitivanje istintosti neke radnje. Kroz ovaj model učenja deca spontano saznaju o etičkim kodovima prilikom neke društveno-angažovane akcije.

Jedan od elemenata Design for Change metodologije jeste zamišljanje (imagination). Deca su najmaštovitija i ne treba im uskratiti ovaj dar uz pomoć kojeg su sposobna da čine najneverovatnije stvari. Design for change na svojstven način disciplinuje imaginaciju i prilikom svakog postavljenog izazova poziva decu da zamisle najkreativnije moguće rešenje za stvarnu situaciju. Ovo je način da nova škola za superheroje ne ubije kreativnost kod dece, što se nažalost često dešava tokom formalnog obrazovanja.

Venesa Mušović

Reference ka više informacija o desing thinking metodologiji

K12 Lab Network – http://www.k12lab.org/

Design Thinking in Schools – http://www.designthinkinginschools.org/

Stanford University – http://dschool.stanford.edu/dgift/

Desig for Change – http://www.dfcworld.com/

IDEO – https://www.ideo.com/work/toolkit-for-educators

Film Most Likely to Succeed – http://mltsfilm.org/

Edutopija  – http://www.edutopia.org/blog/improving-schools-through-design-thinking-thomas-riddle

 

TWO DECADES OF CHINATOWN IN BELGRADE

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In the last twenty years, more than 500 Chinese shops were opened in Belgrade’s Blok70, which has become a microcosm of Chinese migrant culture. In order to make this odd social phenomenon more understandable, Kosovo 2.0 walks you through a short history of Belgrade’s Chinatown, which starts in the mid to late 1990s, during the regime of former Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic.

In Serbia, it is commonly believed that the Chinese started coming to Belgrade in the second half of the 1990s. After visiting China in 1997, Milosevic decided to liberalize visa regulations, giving Chinese immigrants an opportunity to start small businesses. At the time, many people argued that Milosevic did this in order to secure himself the votes to remain in power. Other theories claim that Milosevic’s government was “the last bastion of communism in Europe” and that the Chinese wanted to support it.

The Chinese came to this ‘undesirable migrant country’ at the time when a ‘post-war’ atmosphere hung in the air and the conflict in Kosovo was about to escalate. During the NATO intervention in 1999, the Chinese embassy in Belgrade — “a wrongly selected target” — was bombed and Chinese immigrants who stayed in Serbia witnessed all the failures and decline of the Serbian state.

According to the research of Dr Maja Korac, a sociologist who specializes in refugee studies, migration and integration, the Chinese immigrants who arrived in the ’90s were not planning to stay for good. The majority of them wanted to use Serbia as a “soft spot” from which to enter countries in the European Union.

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Almost two decades later, Serbia is still considered an undesirable migrant destination. Most migration occurs in the opposite direction, with more than 12,000 citizens of Serbia leaving the country annually. The large Chinese migration into Serbia occurred when China was experiencing its own period of mass emigration as many skilled professionals left their ‘land of broken hopes.’ Liberalization of the visa regime was a tailwind for many Chinese to take this journey. In the second half of the 1990s, many Chinese rented small shops in a renovated socialist building in part of the city known as New Belgrade. This building is Blok70, the largest Chinatown in the Balkans.

In 2011 I visited Blok70 with two other colleagues planning to make a short movie about Belgrade’s ‘exotic’ shopping mall. Numerous questions were drifting through our minds: Why is it that we never see Chinese people walking on the streets outside of Blok 70? Does Serbian culture influence their lifestyle, religious beliefs, and ways of having fun? Are they happy?

After a month of hanging around we made a short student movie called “Long Journey Ahead.” During the process of making the film, we found that the majority wanted their children to be educated in China. They believed it best for their children to spend their formative years surrounded by the Chinese cultural environment.

Those who stay in Serbia either go to the International schools and learn English or stay and work in the family business. During our stay in Blok70 we met a Chinese woman who introduced herself by a Serbian name, Sara. She had a small studio where she was selling her paintings and wooden frames. She was fluent in English, well-educated and had worked in many different places all around the world.

“If the money is good, I can bear to be separated from my child in China,” Sara told us. “If the money is not good, I will move for a better opportunity. It doesn’t matter where I go, I just want my child to have a good education and enough money to start a business. We miss each other, but we constantly communicate and share our daily experiences.”

Even during the busiest days in Blok70, it is possible to see and hear Skype conversations, laughter, camera-phone recordings, and people taking pictures. Many of the Chinese tend to use the latest technology to keep in touch with their relatives.

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Four years later, in November 2015, I decided to visit Blok70 again and try to find some of the people I talked to back in 2011. Entering the main square, I immediately recognized a smiling face of an older lady who was selling vegetables. Curious customers were asking her how to cook Bok Choy and they were all laughing together.

It didn’t take me very long to notice that it was less crowded than before. I struck up a conversation with a Serbian woman who has been working in Blok70 for fifteen years. During this period, she has had more than five Chinese employers. She told me that none of them stayed for more than ten years in Belgrade. Her previous boss moved to Colombia two years ago.

“Colombia is the new ‘promised land’ for Chinese immigrants,” she told me. “The Chinese made a lot of money during the 1990s when they didn’t have to pay any taxes. Now, most of them are poor.”

Serbia is no longer the most desirable destination for Chinese to make massive “trade migrations.” A significant number have already left the country, most of them reportedly departed for Portugal and Colombia, which offers a satisfying quality of life and a low cost of living, although it is hard to find official data on exactly how many Chinese have left Serbia over the past four years.

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According to the official statistics issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2009, there were 4,947 Chinese in Serbia: Three of them had a permanent residence permit, and only one had Serbian citizenship. Unofficial data announced by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia in 2011 showed that there were 1,373 Chinese in the country. It is hard to view these figures as reliable though, due to the fact that many immigrants don’t want to be registered.

The future of Belgrade’s Chinatown is uncertain, largely due to the fact that the Serbian economy is not currently improving. One of the employees in Blok70 said: “Even the Serbs are not here to stay for good, why would the Chinese be?”

For those who want to believe that Chinese immigrants are mysterious merchants who came to take “our” jobs, there will always be true and untrue stories that will keep Blok70 “exotic.” If you ask me, the Chinese immigrants are no different from any other Serbian citizen trying to survive the never ending transitory period.

The current migrant crisis has taught us that there are no differences in basic human needs. We all want a ‘normal life.’ Various unwanted circumstances often dictate where we try to make one. Sometimes, two years unexpectedly turn into two decades, and a base might still not be built.

http://www.kosovotwopointzero.com/en/article/1976/dy-dekada-te-lagjes-se-kinezeve-ne-beograd

Beograd – grad na dva sprata

Projekat UNDERГРАД  iniciran  je 2011. godine  od strane Centra za urbani razvoj iz Beograda kojem se 2013. pridružila organizacija URBEX Srbija. Danas UNDERГРАД čine arheolozi, arhitekte, vizuelni umetnici i istoričari. Tokom prethodne četiri godine tim stručnjaka radio je na istraživanju, evidentiranju, dokumentovanju i vizualizaciji više lokaliteta koje su tokom svog putovanja kroz podzemlje pronašli. Projekat funkcioniše prema konceptu urbanog istraživanja koje za cilj ima da osvetli  alternativne pejzaže  Beograda, da podstakne na kritičko mišljenje o napuštenim industrijskim objektima, te da predloži nove strategije revitalizacije istih. Projekat otvara pitanja industrijskog nasleđa i načina na koji arheologija kao nauka može da komunicira u vremenu novih tehnologija i interdisciplinarnog pristupa istraživanju. Predstavnici UNDERГРАД-a često su gosti na kulturnim večerima u Beogradu tokom kojih na neformalan način govore o svom radu i entuzijazmu. Na prezentaciji UNDERГРАД-a u septembru ove godine, razgovarali smo sa arheologom i koordinatorom projekta Radetom Milićem. On je istakao da je Beograd jedan od najstarijih evropskih gradova i da nam o tome govore mnogi do sada neistraženi delovi podzemlja srpske prestonice.

“Neotkrivene podzemne odaje Beograda svedoci su burnih perioda istorije ovog grada. One predstavljaju nasleđe Beograda kako iz orijentalnog i austrijskog perioda, tako i svedoke industijalizacije Beograda u XIX veku. Sliku beogradskog podzemlja upotpunjuju prostori koji su novijeg datuma, bunkeri, tuneli, skloništa i tajne baze nastale tokom prvog i drugog svetskog rata. Mešanje različitih kultura na ovim prostorima oslikava se na retkim, zabačenim i zaboravljenim delovima grada, gde su tragovi njihovog postojanja još uvek netaknuti”, rekao je Rade Milić.

Do sada je istraženo oko pedeset podzemnih objekata (1000m2), od kojih je većina zapuštena, nepristupačna, pretvorena u smetilišta, ilegalne kafane, domove za beskućnike ili podrume za gajenje pečuraka. Ovo je prepreka koja onemogućava adekvatnu reprezentaciju otkrivenog. Zatečena situacija je takođe bila podstrek za vizuelne umetnike koji sarađuju na projektu UNDERГРАД da pronađene objekte predstave na provokativan način, kombinujući elemente fikcije, horora i dokumentovane stvarnosti. Izložbena postavka projekta UNDERГРАД mogla se do sada videti u velikom broju beogradskih galerija i klubova. Kako je fotografija često jedini medijum i svedok pronađenih objekata, autori su do sada napravili stotine fotografija time nadajući se da bar slikom sačuvaju otkriveno od trajnog zaborava.

Ekipa projekat UNDERГРАД je jedna od retkih u Srbiji koja se bavi industrijskom arheologijom. Ova naučna disciplina smatra se suviše mladom da bi bila interesantna arheolozima koji su uglavnom zainteresovani za antrički period i romantičarsku prošlost. Industrijska arheologija zahteva novi pristup istraživanju koji je nužno interdisciplinaran. Tako se jedan deo projekta UNDERГРАД može nazvati  antropološkim i bavi se istraživanjem urbanih mitova vezanih za beogradsko podzemlje. Neke od urbanih legendi vezane su za bezglave Turke koji hodaju podzemljem  ili za krokodile u beogradskim kanalizacijama.

Rimski bunar koji je dubok 60 metara svakako je zanimljiva tačka za horor priče o metodama kažnjavanja koje su se primenjivale u prošlosti. Bunar se nalazi 212 stepenika isopod Kalemegdan i može se obići uz pratnju kustosa. Ovo je jedan od retkih objekata koji su svrstani u turističku ponudu Beograda. Birokratski sistem u Srbiji onemogućava legalizaciju otkirvenih objekata koja je nužna kako bi oni zvanično postali deo kulturnog nasleđa grada Beograda i samim tim postali zaštićeni. Rekonstrukcija i zaštita lokaliteta zavisi od političke (ne)volje, a ona se čini kao teško premostiva prepreka koja trenutno blokira aktivističke ideje projekta. Za uspešno revitalizovanje otkrivenih objekata potrebna je saradnja države, privatnog i civilnog sektora. Ipak, najveću moć odlučivanja ima Vlada koja trenutno nema adekvatnu zakonsku regulativu koja bi stimulisala zaštitu industrijskog kulturnog nasleđa. Ukratko, legalizacija objekata gotovo da je nemoguća, a sva obećanja svode se na kalendar politčkih izbora – mrtvo slovo na papiru.

Uspešan primer tranzicije napuštenog industrijskog objekta u centar umetničkih i kulturnih zbivanja jeste “Ciglana” u Beogradu. Mestu koje je od napuštene fabrike cigli pretvoreno u umetnički kvart i lokaciju održavanja festivala “Deve9t”. Primer sličnih incijativa borbe za nezavisnu srpsku kulturu jesu prošlogidišnja okupacija bioskopa „Zvezda“ ili pre par godina okupacija zgrade „Inex Filma“. „Inex Film“ nakon par godina rada vraćen je privatnom vlasniku, a bioskop „Zvezda“ i dalje se svodi na simbolično opstajanje. Ove godine privatizovan je i “Avala Film”, tako da ni jedan od bioskopa Beograd filma trenutno nije u funkciji. Navedeni primeri dobar su pokazatelj državne nebrige o kulturnom nasleđu. Modernizacija i izgradnja mejnstrim kapitalističkih zdanja, poput šoping molova i hotela vladajućoj eliti ipak je zanimljivija od autentičnosti starog jezgra Beograda. Simptomatično, bez obzira na proteste protiv projekta „Beograda na vodi“, jedan objekat otkriven u okviru UNDERГРАДА  već je uništen. Reč je o betonskoj piramidi, odnosno nemačkom skloništu izgrađenom tokom nacističke okupacije Beograda tokom Drugog svetskog rata. Još jedna ovakva piramida može se videti u Savskoj ulici preko puta Palate pravde.

Ono što UNDERГРАД trenutno čini jeste intenzivno informisanje šire javnosti o rezultatima istraživanja i svim fazama kroz koje je projekat prošao. Ova faza projekta otvara mogućnosti umrežavanja i osnaživanja različitih sektora u borbi za očuvanje kulturnog nasleđa grada Beograda. Uprkos sve većoj vidljivosti rada UNDERГРАД ekipe, glavni akteri u politici i kulturi Srbije ne prepoznaju važnost ovog projekta, te se on često percipira kao entuzijazam pojedinaca koji svakako ima svoje granice.

 

FAREWELL MINDS!

“I’ll soon acquire a Master’s Degree from Sarajevo University, and I plan to enroll in the secondary medical school. I’ll be done with it in a year or two. Afterwards I’d be able to go to Germany more easily.”

– D.M. Bachelor of Philology, 26 years old, June 2015.

My brother, who graduated from the Medical University in Serbia, recently moved to Germany. He finds Germany to be a highly enriching environment for improving his professional skills. He will be staying there for the next five years — working, studying and earning money that he wouldn’t be able to get in 10 years in Serbia. Two of my friends, who are extraordinary students of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, have moved to Germany without a second thought. Another friend of mine, who completed her masters studies in Belgrade, has moved to Hamburg where she will be working on her PhD for the next three to four years.

They are all part of a well-educated generation of young people who are leaving Serbia in order to acquire additional education abroad. Whether they will return remains questionable. But what seems sure is that a brain-drain is underway.

There are three main driving forces: firstly, the low quality of education in Serbia; secondly, the prospect of acquiring an international diploma, which is perceived as a ‘green light’ for a well paid job abroad, or even upon return home; and lastly, the idea of student mobility as a legal way to gain permanent residence in the European Union.

The ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors for student migrations seem to be complementary; and are mirrored by the state of the respective economies.

Low Education Quality

One of the factors that has challenged higher education in Serbia is the educational reforms initiated by the EU within the framework of the Bologna Declaration. Serbia signed the Bologna Declaration in 2003 and full implementation began in 2005. By 2006, the first generation of Serbian students began their studies according to Bologna.

Based on this framework, Serbian education is a part of the European Higher Educational Area, which means a modernization — and Europeanization — of the Serbian educational system. The most visible reform of the Bologna Declaration is seen through the enforcement of the ECTS credits system, but also through reforms of the curricula. The central aim of ECTS is to make national systems of education more compatible with those of other countries in the EU. As such, ECTS allows students to easily move between different countries, as students can transfer their ECTS credits from one university to another.

The way that the ECTS system works is that for an entire year, the maximum that a student can achieve is 60 ECTS credits. It the student passes at least 48 ECTS credits, the following academic year will be financially covered by the University; if a student doesn’t reach the 48 credits, they are obliged to pay 20 euros for each transferred credit. Students that don’t pass the 48 ECTS credits, also need to pay enrollment fees that range from anywhere between 700 and 2,000 euros. Many students see this as a rip off.

In almost every year since the Bologna Declaration was implemented, the beginning of the school year, in October and November, has been met by student protests. They block the university entrance and protest about what they perceive as theft from students. The protests tend to call for lower enrollment fees, more exam periods and a better quality of education, or at least for the reasonable implementation of Bologna. Some more radical initiatives also call for the reversal of the Bologna Declaration.

“Knowledge is not a commodity,” read a famous banner from the student protests held in Belgrade in 2012, when students of the Faculty of Philosophy carried out a high profile blockade that lasted for more than a month. Two years later, at the beginning of the 2014/2015 academic year, the same action was taken by students of the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Political Science and the Faculty of Philology.

But today, the banner can be seen as a trampled black and white newspaper. Knowledge is a commodity, and faculties function as business factories. And following protests, everything quickly returns to the status quo. Graffiti is washed off the walls, posters torn down, padlocks disassembled, and all the while, students continue to pay for everything.

Better Quality of International Diplomas

In March of this year, the Serbian government adopted the National Youth Strategy 2015-2025, which aims to establish principles for the development of social standards for youth, and better employability and professional mobility on the basis of international cooperation. This strategy sets out to establish methods of developing a healthy environment for young people to study and work, to feel secure and to be motivated to actively participate in social and economic life. But this strategy, which at its core aims to contribute to cultural, educational and living standards, fails to properly address the alarming facts about ‘brain drain’ and ‘brain waste’ in Serbia.

There are 97 faculties within Serbia’s public university, which enrolls around 32,000 students a year. On top of that, there are another 100 private universities, each enrolling around 1,600 students a year, according to 2014 statistics from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia.

Currently, 50 percent of the population of Serbia is unemployed, with unemployment amongst the youth (those aged 15 to 24) at 41.7 percent. On top of that, 84 percent want to emigrate, and around 12,000 people between the ages of 25 and 38 are leaving Serbia on annual basis. Although the government states that such numbers were taken into account during the drafting of the National Youth Strategy, issues of ‘brain drain’ and ‘brain waste’ are completely lacking in this 10-year plan.

In this light, there is a general lack of confidence in the government’s ability to improve living and working conditions. New opportunities for studying abroad are not seen as part of a coherent ‘brain circulation’ or ‘brain gain’ strategy within Serbia. With such a strategy, money and education invested in a student during the time of study abroad would be returned to the home country through exchange of gained knowledge and multicultural skills.

There have been some small steps in Serbia in this regard, supported by the Serbian diaspora, local NGOs and state institutions, which are aiming to develop so-called brain circulation. There are also a number of laws that are supposed to help highly skilled workers to return home, including: the Law on Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, the Law on Foundations of the Educational System and the Law on Labor. However, there is still no clear evidence of their success. One predominant challenge is a lack of credible data about people leaving Serbia to study abroad, which in return hinders proper management of the situation.

In the meantime, students returning with international diplomas face many hurdles — the main one being recognition of their diploma, which requires an extremely labored (and often expensive) bureaucratic process. Also, the national framework for qualifications, which should make the necessary links between education and the labor market, does not recognize the skills of people who studied abroad and want to apply for a job in Serbia.

At the opening ceremony of the Future Generation of Erasmus Mundus Students from Serbia conference in July 2015, Marija Filipovicc-Ozegovic from Tempus (an EU program designed to help the process of educational reforms), said that from October 2015 a new law on diploma recognition will come into force. Through this law, every request for foreign diploma recognition should be approved within one month. However, the reality on the ground remains to be tested.

In the meantime, many Serbian students are opting for exchange and mobility programs.

Research from the European Commission for 2014 showed that Erasmus students have a better chance of employment than non-mobile students (those who lack study abroad experience). Empirical results from the 2010 VALERA study on the professional value of erasmus, showed that in terms of career prospects, students from Southeastern and Central European countries profit more strongly from an Erasmus stay than students from Western Europe.

They suggested that there are two closely interrelated factors that play a major role: Firstly, Erasmus participation is highly desired. Secondly, Southeastern European countries are relatively new to the programme, so the Erasmus experience will more often be considered as a unique feature on a graduate’s CV.

The VALERA surveys also showed that the study abroad experience has gone from being an outstanding experience to a prerequisite for young graduates. It is a door-opener into the labor market; VALERA showed that more than 70 percent of former Erasmus students are satisfied with their current job, and that they didn’t have to wait for appropriate employment for longer than a few months.

While to some extent a myth has developed about ‘students abroad’ being more worthy than domestic students, studying outside of Serbia is clearly not only about the international diploma in itself any more. It is also about the experience and assumed European values that a student gains during their studies. With employers valuing such experience, this has also become a ‘push’ factor for migration.

Education as a Legal Way to Migrate

While education abroad can help to open doors back in Serbia, it is seen by many as a legal way out. The socio-anthropological paper, “International Student Migration and European ‘Year Abroad: Effects on European Identity and Subsequent Migration Behaviour,” shows that after spending a year abroad, students develop “migratory behavior”; they are more open to continue living abroad in an EU country.

The migratory trend for skilled workers is nothing new. Historically, one of the sectors in which this has been most apparent is the medical sector, which has been subject to migratory trends since the 1960s, when around 10,000 medical workers left Serbia for Germany and Switzerland. This came to a halt in the early 1990s, as the wars in former Yugoslavia erupted, and migration from this region was merely based on escaping from conflict and war.

But almost two decades later, educated and qualified people are once again seeking a way out. This should be no surprise considering that according to data from the Institute of Public Health of Serbia, more than 2,000 Faculty of Medicine graduates are jobless.

One of the most common ways for student migration is through student mobility, seen as the latest phenomenon that has been partly encouraged by the internationalization of education. Across fields, graduated students are applying for European mobility programs with the purpose of staying in their chosen country.

Even the young people who already have a master’s degree are often applying for a second one in some EU country with a clear migratory plan behind it. After a year or two of studying in one of the EU countries, a student has an opportunity to develop a network of necessary contacts in order to get a job in the country where he or she studied. And many are opting for this solution.

Many students at the Future Generation of Erasmus Mundus Students from Serbia conference, were expressing the will to leave.
“When I’m almost done with my studies, I plan to get a good marriage arrangement in the country of my studies abroad [Germany],” said a student of the Faculty of Law from Belgrade.

Another Serbian student enrolled at the Faculty of Political Science in Vienna said: “Students who believe that they can find a decent job in Serbia have all my respect, but to be honest, I don’t think that my return home is imminent.”

Seen in this light, and given the challenges facing graduates in Serbia, a set of coherent policies is required in order to make the prospect of a career at home more attractive to the country’s brightest young minds.

Preuzeto sa: http://kosovotwopointzero.com/en/article/1856/farewell-minds