Friday, April 03, 2020

The Autonomous Women's Center is expressing concern about the statement from last week of the Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development, Mladen Šarčević, for the Politika newspaper, regarding the accredited seminars provided by non-governmental organizations to employees in educational institutions. His statement that schools are "stuffed with everything and anything" is unacceptable, and the announcement that there will "be changes in this area".

We remind the Minister that these seminars were accredited according to the official procedure and prescribed criteria, by experts from the Institute for the Improvement of Education and Upbringing of the Republic of Serbia, and that these licenses are not a means of "manipulating people" and only "a formal license we previously gave them". With these statements, the licensing system itself is downgraded as well as the state institution that implements it.

We believe that we still have a lawful state in which laws and procedures apply. The collapse of the system begins with an individual's own arbitrariness, that is with statements like "I will tell the schools not to organize those seminars, and tell the directors not to test their luck," as well as with replacing the employees in the Group for the protection from violence and discrimination, overnight and without any clear explanation.

The protection of tradition, which the Minister mentions as a rationale for his statements, is often an excuse for violence against women and children, which is why we remind and expect the Minister and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development be guided by the laws of the Republic of Serbia and international treaties ratified by the state.