Good morning! In the period of great fear of nuclear war, Sting wrote the song “Russians” in 1985, in which he says he hopes that Russians also love their children. Another thing is the context, but these verses always come to mind when I look at our schools and the way they are structured – do we love our children?
Click here to join our Viber group, where we update you live from hour to hour and answer your questions directly.
Education in Montenegro – shameful parties’ prey
PISA testing has again caused a storm of public reactions. Political parties are pointing fingers at each other. DPS says that this is the result of the last three years of work of the new authorities. The new authorities did cause an earthquake in the school system, but its foundations and walls were such that even a small earthquake could cause a total collapse. As everywhere – the basic problem is partocracy – party staffing instead of meritocracy. Starting with the infrastructure, the situation is extremely bad. In Budva, the most fiscally powerful city in Montenegro, the buildings of three schools are overcrowded, the roofs are leaking and the toilets are not operational. At the same time, the education system, like a kind of caste, does everything to block and obstruct the opening of private schools so as not to endanger this kind of system, so that someone would not harm our children.
As a huge and centralized apparatus, the school system is an excellent mechanism for collecting votes. Nobody thinks about the children. Teachers are looking at how to get good jobs, parents how to get their children out of the house for those few hours and everyone is calm and everyone is satisfied. Of course, not all teachers and parents are like this, but in general there is a feeling that children are left to themselves. There are exemplary schools and principals, but these are isolated examples based on personal enthusiasm and initiative that are usually discouraged.
And it should be underlined once again, it didn’t start yesterday. The system was built to meet the needs of political parties in power, not the needs of society and the labour market. What we are living is not the result of three but thirty years of decay.
The arrival of a large number of immigrants in Montenegro in recent years has mapped the weak points of our infrastructure. People hesitate to stay here to live for two reasons – poor education and poor health care. And again, in both segments, under the slogan of protection, protectionism stifles private initiatives.
Why should schools be allowed to open and develop independently, we are not an inclusive economy. We do not see people as a resource. The state fails to create conditions and invest in people who later, creating new value, can return the investment many times over. And you don’t invest in them by hiring a sociopath, who excelled in political fights by spewing hatred on the Internet, in a school somewhere in Bar or Sutomore. Or in Njegovudje, to forbid a little girl from reciting Leso Ivanovic’s poem for School Day, so that some of the officials wouldn’t get angry.
Or by dividing the principal positions at schools according to the criterion “those with the longest list of sure votes get the principal position”.
Will there be a discontinuity now – we will see. The first positive and meaningful initiatives of the newly elected ministry are encouraging – the fight against fake diplomas is a good start. Education should be our priority above all other priorities. Not only for emotional reasons and to give a positive answer to Sting’s question about whether we love our children, but for rational reasons. If we create generations of incompetent people, this country is doomed to a long and painful decline.
That’s it for today. We wish you a pleasant rest of the day.
Ljubomir Filipovic, CdM analyst and columnist
(The opinions and views of the authors of the columns are not necessarily those of the CdM editorial staff)