Secondary schools, students, and teachers in the Western Balkans have a chance now to participate in the SUPERSCHOOLS exchange programme. This newly established opportunity aims to support the peacebuilding and reconciliation processes and dialogue among schools, students, and their communities. By participating in this programme, secondary schools will have a chance to apply and, if selected, implement school-to-school exchanges as well as to participate in the programme’s activities dedicated to their capacity building, networking, and cooperation.

The SUPERSCHOOLS programme is a part of a “Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme” which is jointly co-financed by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). This 5,5 million euros worth project is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO).

The first open call is now launched, and schools can apply until October 28. In order to promote the call, an opening event for the heads of school administrative districts in Serbia is organised on Oct 6 in the Metropol Palace hotel in Belgrade.

At the event, Mr. Branko Ružić, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Government of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Emanuele Giaufret, Ambassador of the European Union to Serbia and H.E. Mr. Thomas Schieb, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Serbia, expressed their support to the programme and emphasized the importance of youth mobility and cooperation.

Mr. Ružić stated that “Education is not only about studying, textbooks and classroom in that conventional sense, education is much more than that. Hence the ministry is working on education of not only students but teachers and associates as well in order to support the development of the creative thinking, research and networking of all actors”.

“EU continues to support RYCO to enable young people to actively participate in all social and decision-making processes, to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation and support the establishment of trust and mutual understanding in the Western Balkans”, said H.E. Mr. Emanuele Giaufret and added that dialogue and cooperation of young people through secondary school exchanges help them foster democratic practices, mutual understanding as well as basic human rights.

“It is true that youth exchanges contribute to their better understanding and trust and that is a challenge for the Western Balkans. For the older generations in particular change of the perception can be harder than for the young people. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on young people, to expose them to different views and perspectives as early and as much as possible”, concluded German Ambassador to Serbia Mr. Thomas Schieb.

Ms. Ivana Antonijević, Head of RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia emphasized the influence of Franco German Youth Office on RYCO and together with Mr. Astrit Rexhepi, SUPERSCHOOLS programme coordinator explained the SUPERSCHOOLS programme to the participants.

In the following days, SUPERSCHOOLS info sessions will be organized in Novi Sad, Niš, Čačak and Novi Pazar and teachers as well as school principals will be able to find out more about this school exchange programme.