To strengthen the status of media literacy subjects
Podgorica, (MINA) – Schools play a huge role in preventing and countering violent extremism, and one way to strengthen that role is to strengthen the status of media literacy subjects in the education system, it was indicated during the training organized by Forum MNE.
The training “School in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism” was organized within the framework of the regional project „Communities First: Creation of a civil society hub to prevent and counter violent extremism – From Prevention to Reintegration”.
The Executive Director of the Forum MNE, Elvira Hadžibegović Bubanja, stated that young people are the most sensitive category of society and most vulnerable to challenges.
According to her, violent extremism has not bypassed Montenegro, although the figures relating to Montenegro are very low in relation to the phenomenon.
“We must do everything we can to ensure that no young man joins any extremist group,” Hadžibegović Bubanja emphasized.
The Executive Director of the Media Institute, Oliver Nikolić, emphasized the need to strengthen the status of media literacy subjects in the education system.
As she highlighted, media literacy should not only be represented in gymnasiums, but also in all secondary schools, including in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades of elementary school.
“We are facing a challenge because the future of the media literacy subject is being questioned, and this skill is necessary in the 21st century,” Nikolić said.
There are numerous causes and reasons for this, she said.
Nikolić said it was encouraging that there are many initiatives in the ministries of education and culture, public administration institutions responsible for the issue, the Electronic Media Agency and the civil sector to improve the status of media literacy subjects.
“It is encouraged by the fact that there is an openness in institutions to improve the status of media literacy subjects, to be no longer represented only in high schools, but in all secondary schools, and even in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades of elementary schools,” Nikolic said.
She said that in 2008, Montenegro, the first among the countries of the former Yugoslavia, introduced media literacy as an optional subject in high schools.
Nikolic recalled that the results of a survey conducted by the Media Institute of Montenegro indicate a decline in the interest of secondary school students for the subject, from 256 in the first years of teaching, to only 60 in the 2017/2018 school year.
She added that over the past three years, the Institute of Education has organized trainings for 137 high school professors to teach media and information literacy.
“The media, in the broadest sense, influences the creation of attitudes, the value of judgement, decision-making and the quality of life. Media literacy is a functional literacy of the 21st century,” said Nikolić.
According to the latest research, 34 percent of Montenegrin citizens receive information through online sources, there are 370 thousand active Facebook accounts, and 84 percent of citizens access their accounts via mobile phones.
“You can say whatever you want on the Internet. There are many challenges on these platforms that relate to manipulation, lies, half-truths, covert marketing, direct, indirect hate speech, misinformation,” Nikolić added.
One way to prevent this, she said, is to understand how the media works and to keep the media literate.
“A media literate person has to understand media content, read between the lines, have a certain amount of scepticism about recognizing who and to whom the message is being sent,” Nikolić emphasized.
She added that everyone has a certain responsibility because everyone can be the creator of that content.
“I am not calling for you to have the ultimate scepticism towards the media. We need to establish a healthy dose of suspicion in order to understand the purpose for which some messages are conveyed to us, “Nikolic said.
Advisor at the Ministry of Education, Milica Pajović, said that the development of extremist ideas is due to the plagues that are present in society today, such as domestic and peer violence, stigma, marginalized groups, youth unemployment.
“Those who want to promote extremist ideas will of course succeed first in young people when they are in the age in which they are interested in everything. The education system must be heavily involved in activities related to the area, although violent extremism in Montenegro is not a threatening phenomenon,” Pajović said.
She stated that the 21st century brought many changes that were not easily predictable.
The emphasis, she added, is not only on knowledge, but also on the values of the system, which today, because of all the changes, have been somehow destroyed, so the role of the school is very complex.
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