In the wake of the latest PISA test results, it would be said that the Serbian education is tapping into place. Namely, all these years we were somewhere in the other half of the country according to the results.
Last week, Vera Isailovic addressed some of the problems in education, and offered suggestions for solutions. You can read the text here. These are some of the other issues she addressed on this occasion.
THE PROBLEM - VIOLENCE AND DISCIPLINE
We are witnessing a huge increase in violence in schools, which seems to be increasing in recent months. Probably dissatisfaction with the economic situation affects parents, and it is passed on to children. Not to mention the plethora of low-quality television programs, which are most often watched by children with parental supervision, but it is not so rare that children are also provided with content that their parents do not know about. An overall atmosphere in society, where ugly words and the treatment of public figures are an example of the already domesticated mistreatment of others. Together, these are factors that obviously have an indirect effect on school events. It is making it difficult for teachers to take a position that has been nurturing a negative attitude towards them in recent decades. They were portrayed as lazy, non-working, with a huge breakup, part-time, so the media has greatly contributed to reinforce this attitude to this day. There has been a lot of talk about children's rights, parental rights in recent years, but it seems to me that it is rare that students, as well as parents, have obligations in addition to rights. Obligations were somehow sidelined. We all feel the consequences.
How do we deal with all these challenges that we face every day?
SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM
In order to solve the problem, it is necessary that all the factors that influence the change in the behavior of children act in agreement. In other words, teachers alone, without cooperation with their parents, the social service, the health service, the police and the judiciary, cannot ultimately deal with all the problems that are currently just on the shoulders of the school. Since we can hardly change the whole social environment, then the rules that will apply in schools need to be changed. So far, we have had numerous meetings at different levels at the school for each type of violence, we talk at those meetings and teams about “enhanced educational work” with students, but the problem of the team is only diluted, and obviously is not resolved. The fact that violence has not decreased but increased has been supported by the fact that teams do not solve problems. Bullies, practically, do not feel certain sanctions. I think the most effective and simple solution is a fine. So, make a price list for every form of violence, with penalties for parents. The range of penalties should be in line with the parents' income, but not be too high (the range of penalties could be from 500 dinars to say 5,000 dinars). The problem of non-payment of penalties should be resolved through one judge, who would urgently address such penalties in the event of non-payment. The money could be paid into the school account / student dinar and the parent only needed to bring a receipt to the school. If a parent had to pay a fine several times for their child, I think their aggression towards the teacher would decrease very quickly. Of course there should be workshops and counseling with parents and students, but there should be opportunities for fines as well. Parents are currently threatening teachers, reporting to the relevant ministries, which I would rather call an old name - an inspection, which then asked teachers for all possible records. Is this a really good way to empower a teacher? I almost heard about a case in a Belgrade school: a child committed a serious disciplinary offense; the parent was called; then the unsatisfied parent called the supervising teacher; since the teacher did not have all the necessary documentation, a measure was ordered for the teacher to have increased supervision (the author of this text knows what school was in question and what kind of crime the child made) by the principal and the pedagogical service. In such a distorted moral order, it is impossible to educate healthy generations.
LONG-TERM PROBLEM SOLVING
Long-term problem-solving requires a strategy for change that needs to be done systematically and long-term. For such a thing, all the services mentioned above should be engaged, each in their own domain. For example, if the medical profession is concerned, initiate education through television, lectures, patronage service about the importance of education, instilling healthy habits, healthy eating, the importance of education from a young age. If they are kindergartens, they should already be involved in a broader action to educate parents, how and how they can be involved in the upbringing and education of their children (from what kind of toys a child should have, to what content it should master, so if it should also advertise on TV and good-night stories and educational content that children should follow).