PODGORICA – The RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro in cooperation with the Ministry for Education, Science, Culture and Sports organized an info session in Podgorica to present the Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme “Superschools, on 14 October 2021. On this occasion, 33 professors and school directors got a chance to hear more about the new “Superschools” scheme, process of application, finding partners on the platform, etc.
The opening remarks during the info session were delivered by Head of RYCO Local Branch Office to Montenegro Mr Edin Koljenović, Programme Manager for International Aid/Social Policy & Civil Society in the EU Delegation to Montenegro Ms Ana Margarida Mariguesa, Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Montenegro Mr Christoph Breunig, Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of France in Montenegro Mr Laurent Goncalves, Acting Director-General of the Directorate for European Integrations, Planning and Implementation of EU funds and International Cooperation, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Mr Goran Drobnjak.
Mr Koljenović opened the event and welcomed distinguished guests on behalf of the RYCO and the Local Branch of Montenegro. He also thanked the representatives of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports for the overwhelming support in terms of reaching high schools in Montenegro, as well as to our local partners EU Delegation to Montenegro, German and French Embassies for the continued support to RYCO Mission.
In continuation, Mr Koljenović emphasized that the EU, as well as the governments of Germany and France, have been providing great support in the development of RYCO from the very beginning; recognizing the power of investing in youth in order to bring about progress in the region. The Superschools project is the RYCO flagship project, and also one of the results of the mentioned strong support, that will in the next 3 years result in approximately 100 projects that will stimulate youth networking, intercultural dialogue, the culture of remembrance, reconciliation, youth activism, etc.
Mrs Mariguesa, emphasized the importance of the meaningful initiative such as RYCO and thanked for its dedicated work to empower young people in the region. “I sincerely believe that young people have the power to create new energy and to start the processes of reconciliation, growth and prosperity that are so needed in the Western Balkans region. “I enthusiastically support you to take advantage out of projects offered by RYCO, such as the Superschools project”, Mrs Mariguesa concluded.
Mr Christoph Breunig stated that “Superschools is an excellent program in which the role of the headmasters and teachers is essential as it will be their task to capture and spread the spirit of enthusiasm, mutual respect, the spirit that would reflect a deep understanding of shared interest.”
Mr Laurent Goncalves emphasized that the Superschools project is an indicator of the success of RYCO and of its capacity to contribute to the processes of reconciliation in the region.
Mr Goran Drobnjak also underlined that Superschools project has great importance not only for in Montenegro, but also for the entire region as it focuses directly on cooperation between the high school in the regions with the aim to gather young people, to inspire change, and to creating meaningful cooperation between the schools.
In the second part of the info session Program Officer in the RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro Ms Bojana Lalatović took the opportunity to present the “Superschools” exchange scheme to the participants and to familiarize them with the process of registration, conditions for participation, tips on how to find an adequate partner and match with a partner school on the platform, and what to pay attention to while filling out the joint application form.
For the purpose of promotion of this Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme, and in order to inform all interested actors about the process of enrolling, conditions for participation RYCO Local Branch Office in Montenegro organized additional info sessions that took place in Budva and Bijelo Polje, on 18 and 20 October. These info sessions gathered 28 professors and headmasters from the southern and northern parts of Montenegro.
By participating in the Superschools program, secondary schools will have a chance to apply and, if selected, implement school-to-school exchanges as well as to participate in the program’s activities dedicated to their capacity building, networking, and cooperation. The proposed activities aim at making the Western Balkan societies more resilient to the political challenges of the region by empowering their youth to take active participation in intercultural dialogue and regional cooperation. An important priority of youth exchange is to give all young people equal opportunities to access the exchange activities.
RYCO Superschools is a program for school exchanges in the Western Balkans that supports peacebuilding and reconciliation processes, intercultural learning, and dialogue among schools, students and their communities. The program is part of a multi-donor project titled “Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme” co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) together with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO). The project has a total budget of €5.5 million and contributes to the overall objective of increasing the skills and knowledge of young people in the Western Balkans by enhancing education systems and promoting cooperation in the region, through establishing a regional school exchange scheme.