President Stevo Pendarovski addressed today the opening of the conference “Inclusion of political education in the education system”.
In his address, President Pendarovski said that democracy should not be a privilege of just one generation of citizens, but a lasting system of governing in society and politics for many generations to come.
“In this regard, I am convinced that the best way to ensure democracy is through education and education policies”, he said, adding that building future generations of Democrats must be an integral part of our education system. “Old rule is that in order to survive, democracy needs democrats, and democrats are not born, but created through complex professional and life processes”, President Pendarovski said.
The President pointed out that democracy in the world, and, especially in transitional societies, is in existential danger, and that such tendencies are especially visible among the young population.
In his address, the President referred to the current challenges facing the world, the pandemic and the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
“This war is contrary to the entire international legal and political order and raises questions about the future of the international community. The images we see from Ukraine take us back to the dark past of the totalitarian world and are contrary to everything we believed in and fought for after the end of the Cold War”, President Pendarovski said.
According to him, all these circumstances burden our daily political agenda even more, and affect the formation of views of our youngest adult citizens, who have the right to vote and the right to be politically active.
Therefore, the President added, students should have the opportunity to be educated in order to know how to make an informed political decision. “How to distinguish between democratic political ideologies on the one hand and radicalism and totalitarian ideologies on the other. Between the legal and legitimate democratic political struggle on the one hand and the struggle against democracy and freedom on the other. Between the news and the truth and disinformation and propaganda. Between truth and falsehood, between freedom fighters and enemies of freedom.”
To this end, President Pendarovski said, we are initiating a wider social debate on the modalities of inclusion of democratic political education in our formal education system.
“For this initiative, I count on the support of all institutions, and, above all, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Bureau for Development of Education, academic institutions, teachers in schools and student organizations, civic associations and trade unions in education. We expect support from both the government and the opposition because we believe that ensuring a democratic order is a supra-party task that transcends all our dividing lines. If we, as policy makers, do not take the initiative, then our children and grandchildren will be a means of manipulation in the hands of manipulators and radicals. We are all aware that there is no empty space in politics and that is why it is better that we fill it in, not the enemies of freedom”, President Pendarovski said in his address.
The Minister of Education and Science, Jeton Shaqiri, the President of the Program Council of the Presidential Center for Political Education, professor at the Faculty of Law at UKIM and advisor to the President, Aleksandar Lj. Spasov, domestic and foreign professors, as well as representatives of government organizations, civil society and international foundations addressed the Conference as well.
The Conference is organized by the Presidential Center for Political Education, supported by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.