Наташа Стојановиќauthor: Nastasija Stojanovic, MCEC

Motivated and educated young people, who recognize their roles in society, are the key to positive changes in the present and in the future. We often hear that young people are the future, but in order to be drivers of positive change in the future, they must still be responsible and active citizens today. The most important role in this process is played by the education, and I am glad that this role is being recognized.

The new civic education concept in the primary education addresses precisely these issues. The concept describes the systemic approach to acquiring civic competencies and developing pupils' abilities to respect diversity and to practice and acquire democratic values ​​and skills. As part of the new civic education concept, two new curricula have been prepared for the subject "Civic Education" in the eighth and ninth grade, which have been used in the academic year 2018/2019 and 2019/20. The changes related to civic education were made as part of the USAID Youth Ethnic Integration Project, implemented by the Macedonian Civic Education Center.

In order to examine the pupils' experiences regarding the revised curricula, but also to measure the achieved results, I had the chance to listen to numerous opinions. To my great joy, I came across selected content related to discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices, but also the media and their role in civil society. Often enough, these contents were listed as the most useful, but also the most interesting by the pupils. "The most interesting activity and content for me was 'Media in Civil Society'. I liked this class because it was different from the other classes. Our teacher initially showed us two short films. Then, she read statements, and we moved to one or the other side of the classroom depending on whether we agreed or not with them. Afterwards we talked about our opinions on the topic", says one pupil. Another pupil added that she considered the content related to discrimination and diversity acceptance to be the most interesting. "We had a project related to discrimination, we conducted surveys at school and we acted in school performances, a play that was made specifically against discrimination", she said. The combination of content related to respecting and accepting diversity and recognizing the role of the media, which are taught through interactive methods and engaging in schools and communities, are just one type of a support tool that could lead to positive change.

We are witnessing insufficient media coverage in terms of anti-discrimination content, inclusiveness, fight against stereotypes and prejudice, which, of course, is a challenge that needs to be addressed. The changes related to the subject "Civic Education", but also the positive outcomes from these changes, should only be an incentive for further improvements, given the important role of education. Only through modern approaches, content and methods, which, above all, will encourage critical and analytical thinking in pupils, we can create citizens who could recognize the need for leaving room in the media about anti-discrimination topics. Given that we live in a multicultural society, education is the most important and crucial link in the process of creating such change.