Project “YOUth Ambassadors of Non-Formal Learning”
Country: North Macedonia
Organization: Center for Intercultural Dialogue
Facilitator: Tamara Petkovska and Florim Rexhepi
Date and location: 21.09.2020, Hotel Kratis, Kratovo
List of questions for Focus Group
- Do you think for NFE is important age, gender, nationality?
The participants unanimously agreed that age, gender and nationality are not important for non-formal education unlike the formal educational system. Participants prefer to be part of non-formal education because they can be found in a group of people older than them who can pass on their knowledge, or younger ones to whom the participants themselves can pass on their knowledge. They can also be found in a group of young people of different nationalities, so they can learn more about their traditions and way of life, which they can not expect in the formal educational system.
- What does NFE mean to you? Can you define?
Participants presented non-formal education as a fun way to learn new things which will be useful to them in their personal and professional development. Moreover, the process of non-formal education is everything that is not part of the formal educational system.
- Have you ever been a participant in an NFE program? If yes – in which one?
For two of the participants this was their first time being a part of an NFE program. Four of them attended a youth exchange in Trnava, Slovakia. It was an amazing experience for them, they met their peers from Latvia and Slovakia, and had a chance to facilitate a workshop on the topic of motivation. The rest of them were part of a national NFE programs that included workshops on various topics, outdoor activities that were organized by CID and other local NGOs like festivals, races etc. Also they were part of projects implemented by their schools.
- Do you know something about Youth Law / Strategy / Action Plan, as well as other documents related to youth?
The participants were not familiar of any youth law, strategy, action plan or any other kind of document related to youth legislation.
- Have you ever participated in the youth decision-making process? If yes, in which one?
The participants were not part of any decision-making process. They expressed dissatisfaction with this, as they believe that young people should be involved in decision-making processes, especially if it is a decision related to them. One such example is deciding whether students will start attending classes with physical attendance this school year. Although they are aware that health experts, doctors and epidemiologists should play a major role in making this decision, as they know best whether it is safe to attend classes in person, they would still like their opinion to be taken into account.
- Do you think that more support from the Government is needed to improve the status of young people and in the NFE sphere? If yes, what are the benefits of this, and what are the disadvantages?
The participants unanimously agreed that the Government should make a great contribution to the development of youth and non-formal education. The government should provide conditions for young people to be able to organize informal activities in the form of financial assistance, space where activities will be held, necessary materials and assistance in human resources.
- Does NFE activities help you for your personal development. If yes, how? If not, why?
The participants that were already part of NFE activities shared that it had a great impact on their personal development. Being part of this kind of activities improved their communication skills, and they also learned a new language (Macedonians learned Albanian and vice versa). It gave them a wider spectrum of opinion and they always gain knowledge on various topics and learn new skills. They also meet other cultures and become more open-minded for the future.
- For you, why is it important to be involved in activities through non-formal education?
The participants unanimously agreed that it is of great importance to be a part of NFE activities. They feel like participating in any kind of NFE activities helps them build their capacities so they can be more prepared for life after high school (college, professional job etc.).
- Does virus Covid19 influence on non-formal education and how in your opinion?
The participants expressed their opinion that unfortunately COVID-19 had a great influence on non-formal educational activities. They shared that due to the inability to organize activities with physical presence, and all activities being online, it is a burden for them to participate in such activities because they have many online responsibilities related to school. In the past, after finishing with their school curriculum, they had the chance to relax and have some fun while learning something new in NFE activities. And now they have a hard time staying motivated in front of their computer screens.