The Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy in Nis, prof. Goran Maksimovic and the Member of the Nis City Council, in charge of Youth and Sport, Mr. Milan Pesic presented certificates of professional training and recommendations to the participants of the project Serbian Language Classes via Skype for Youth from the Diaspora, which for the past three months was implemented by the Nis City Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora, University of Nis Faculty of Philosophy, with the help of the City of Nis Youth Office and NGO Proactive.
Sixty young people from all over the world applied for free Serbian language classes via Skype and 23 candidates from the United States, Canada, Germany, Norway, France, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Austria, the United Arab Emirates and Spain completed the course. Twenty students of the final years at the Department for Serbian Language and Philology and master studies of Philology worked with the young people from Diaspora being mentored by Ms. Irena Cvetkovic Teofilovic, the Head of the Centre for Serbian as a Foreign and Second Language at the Faculty of Philosophy and Ms. Marina Janjic, the Director of the Center for Teacher Education and Professional Development.
Tamara Ciric, the Head of the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora, announced the continuation of this project in January 2015 for which the funds has been approved at the public call announced by the Directorate for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region of the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
All students from the Diaspora and their parents said they were satisfied with the teaching and all their teachers got the highest grades. 42% of them said that there was not any organized learning of the Serbian language in towns where they lived, while 21% said that they didn’t know whether near them was some form of learning Serbian. Most participants in the project, 74% of them, would continue to participate in the future in this kind of lectures. Even 79% of participants from the Diaspora believe that their knowledge of the Serbian language, or the knowledge of their children, improved through this type of lectures. All have agreed that they would recommend to others to participate in such classes, while 37% said they knew someone else who would like to be involved in the project.
At the end of the project, 95% of students said they would like to participate in this kind of practice in the future. All twenty students said that the best places for having this kind of classes was the house or apartment and that they would recommend this kind of classes to their colleagues. Even 60% of students said they knew one or more colleagues who would like to participate in this practice.
The member of the Nis City Council Mr. Milan Pesic said that this project was the proof that the City of Nis took care of all young people, wherever they were and that it would continue to support similar activities for young people in Diaspora.
„This is a very important project for us because enabled us for the first time to do something for our Diaspora, since, so far, we have only expected something from them whether it was assistance during the natural disasters or investments. I hope that the Project will be continued and the City of Nis strives always to support such ideas. Nis City Strategy for Youth of the City of Nis includes the chapter that refers to cooperation with Diaspora which confirms that the city attaches great importance to cooperation with Diaspora,“ as Councilor Pesic said.
According to the Dean of the Nis Faculty of Philosophy, prof. Goran Maksimovic, with this project we encouraged our young people who live in Diaspora to learn their mother tongue, the Serbian language.
„Learning language via Skype is just the first step, but the next one is for these children to come to Serbia, to organize camps for them where they could learn more about the history of their native home, but also about the culture where they belonged. The identity of a nation is preserved by the language and that is why this project is even more significant. By learning their mother tongue, they learning who they are and where their roots are. We had great help in the realization of this project from professors at the Faculty of Philosophy Ms. Marine Janjic and Ms. Irene Cvetković Teofilović, as well as from the students who are finishing their master and doctoral studies,“ as Dean Maksimovic said.
Assistant professor Irena Cvetković Teofilovic presented the results of the students’ progress, pointing out that all they have learned the Cyrillic alphabet during the classes, mastered successfully the basic grammatical categories and made significant progress in the knowledge of the literature and culture of the Serbian people, while prof. Marina Janjic pointed out that teachers have gained extremely valuable experience in the specific method of working with students from abroad.