High school Youth organizing ENG

Page 1


Foreword


1. Youth Participation terms and understandings This publication is dedicated to all young people who are looking for change in their school! In short, this guide book will give you an insight on how to build up your own high school student council in your city, explore good practices your peer activists have done and get inspired to become yourself a change maker! So, let’s get started! Firstly, before we get to the real business, let's have a look at some commonly used words and expressions and explore their meaning in our world of change-makers! Young people According to the national youth strategy (2016 - 2025) of our country shall refer to any person(s) between the age of 15 and 29. The youth strategy further notes that “this is a category that holds huge potential as a key resource for social progress, but also a category that is highly vulnerable to social and economic changes in society 1

Youth participation - “is a process that enables young people to participate and get involved in joint decision-making processes on policies and programs that directly or indirectly shape the lives of young people”2. The engagement of young people can be also categorized as active and passive.


Active youth participation Means engagement and involvement in the process of creating a change. Young people’s efforts are seen as crucial in developing and organizing community life through their engagement in organized forms such as community youth led organizations that sees young people as main partners and find strengths in their talents and creativity in solutions. This participatory approach provides a space for expression and opportunities for satisfying young people’s needs. Passive youth participation Means young people take a bystander position and not get involved in controlling the situation or being part of a successful story in their community life. “For example, you could participate passively by listening to someone speak at an event, but you have no intention of getting involved in the issue or making any changes in your life. By contrast, you could participate actively by researching a topic, finding actions you could take and raising awareness with the goal of changing the behavior of others. Both have a time and place.”3 According to the Have Your Say Manual4 when dealing with youth participation we have to look at the variety of practices and the diverse theories and approaches to youth participation. Organized youth structures and local authorities have a different angle of perspective to youth participation due to their backgrounds and power relations. Their motivation is often linked to building democratic societies; investment in personal development of young people or even support youth participation for political gains. This is an evolving matter and you will get a different answer every time you discuss this issue.


“In a nutshell participation means to be involved, to have tasks and to share and take over responsibility. It means to have access and to be included.”5 Looking at it from a different perspective, youth participation could also mean youthadult partnership. A partnership that is based on communication and joint work and mutual support. A space to voice up and be listened to when proposing changes. In other words, decisions and the developmental process of decision making is shared and mutually negotiated. This partnership brings together the wisdom and experience of adults and combines it with the energy and creativity of young people. A process that ensures contribution and recognition of values and efforts.

Advocacy “All forms of advocacy done by young people could be defined as youth participation, but not all forms of youth participation could be defined as advocacy.”6 UNICEF’s Youth Advocacy Guide defines advocacy as “doing something in order to support, recommend, or implement actions linked to an idea or cause you care about. These actions should make voices heard especially the most venerable members of our community and among young people. These advocacy actions try to defend and protect human rights, through a support of different causes and initiatives.” Most of the time when we speak of advocacy we think on a large scale on the big trends and major or global campaigns such as the world food program or stop the war movement. But these actions represent a portion of the picture. Advocacy also means the small actions and acts that we do in everyday life to help a friend deal with bullying or reporting a hateful post on social media.


These actions can have more of an independent character which in most of the cases is linked to doing certain research in the community or developing certain facts for serious issues. Or it can also be communicating ideas such as sharing yours or others experience through social media, blogs or videos. This also leads us to conclude that the scope of advocacy is also wide and it can mean changing rules or laws, or organizing a protest or a march to support a certain cause. Policy UNICEF’s Youth Advocacy Guide defines policy as a “set of principles, ideas or plans that guide decisions to achieve a certain outcome. Policies are important because they shape the way we do things, they determine how we behave, and how we experience our everyday lives.”7 Policies provide a guide on how to make decisions in different institutions and organizations. Starting from higher global levels as international treaties that unfold how countries engage with each other in certain areas for example trade or climate change. National policies provide a guide on how countries meet their objectives. As well as there are organizational policies that define how people behave at work or school policies that define what is appropriate behavior or what it is not allowed to do within that institution. “Meaningful youth participation - means that young people, like you, work in all stages of decision-making in organizations and can participate on equal terms with adults at a number of levels, or alternatively work independently from adults and make decisions solely with the involvement of youth voices. Youth work on many different aspects of an issue - from identifying a problem or opportunity, to the development of a program or policy, to the implementation and evaluation of campaigns concerning young people. For these to be accomplished, mechanisms must be in place that allow you to have an active role in which your voice is heard and respected. For your participation to be truly meaningful, it must benefit you, your peers and society, as a whole.”8


Human rights According to UN Human Rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.9 Young people are diverse rights holders, and meaningful youth participation is a right of all young people by the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

10

Children’s rights Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a multilateral human rights treaty that promotes the rights of all children worldwide. The CRC recognizes all children's rights to develop physically, mentally, and socially to their fullest potential, to express their opinions freely, and to participate in decisions affecting their future. The CRC is the first legally binding international instrument that incorporates the full range of human rights — civil, cultural, economic, political, and social — into a single text. The CRC provides a vision of children as individuals and as members of a family and community, with rights and responsibilities appropriate to their age and stage of development.11 Article 29 1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:


(a) The development of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential; (b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations; (c) The development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own; (d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin; (e) The development of respect for the natural environment. Article 32 1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.High school student Decision Making in Public Policy “Public policy decision making refers to actions taken within governmental settings to formulate, adopt, implement, evaluate, or change environmental policies. These decisions may occur at any level of government.”12


According to Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics by E. Lagerspetz13 “ Democracy could be defined as a political system in which all the adult members participate in decision making in equal terms, are free to express their views, to stand for office, and make proposals, and the most important decisions are based on some reasonable, egalitarian, and effective way to amalgamate their expressed opinions.” This process results with biding decisions for the members of the community and the elected officials. This definition referees more to the method of decision making rather its content. Essentially it is important that citizens have the opportunity to express their values in reliable manner through participating in elections or referendum.

2. Our opportunities Why do we want to see change in our schools? School is an environment that provides young people with an opportunity to develop their civic competences for democratic participation. And in this way prepare young people to meaningfully engage in decision making within their schools as well as prepare them to adulthood civic duties such as voting in elections. This process is an important element in developing a “healthy” democracy in which citizens are educated on democratic principles of engagement as well as have a meaningful experience in practicing democracy. There are different ways on how to maximize the potential for participation. The formal education system provides a space for building intellectual capacity on one hand and the civil society provides a space for action and development of capacities on the other hand.


In other terms, engaging young people in student organizations will provide them with the know-how to advocate for different issues that they might face not only as members of the school union but as well as active citizens of the society. Youth activism within the school brings up opportunities for social change. It helps young people get informed about their rights and provide them with new possibilities to act as change-makers. There are many approaches and ways on how young people get organized on developing advocacy activities for their peers. Youth Organizing in schools through student unions or better known as student councils is one of the more advanced and structured ways of bringing together students and developing actions and activities in order to advocate for their rights. The Organizing Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU) as one of the biggest umbrella organization that advocates for students and it has adopted “The Declaration of School Student Rights” as standards that should be respected by all educational systems. This declaration provides a guideline of rights and responsibilities of educational institutions towards young people as their constituents. The declaration has the following 14 articles: Article 1: The right to association 1.1.

The right to associate at any level of education must be guaranteed by legislation;

1.2.

In every school there should be a legally recognized student council, which has been democratically elected by school students. All students have the right to run for elections;

1.3.

School students and school student associations should have the right to establish national school student organizations;

1.4.

Finances, facilities and support should be provided by the school, as well as by the national and school authorities in question in order for school student associations and organizations to function properly. However, this shall never restrict the autonomy of the associations;


1.5.

School student organizations at all level of education should have the possibility to perform their activities during school days;

1.6.

School students must have the right to assemble, strike, demonstrate and express their opinion both inside and outside the school. They must be able to do so freely and without sanctions.

This article sets the standards for school institutions and the educational system in general. The requirements for establishing democratic youth structures that are based on the values of meaningful participation. It guarantees independent opportunities for actions. In North Macedonia since the independence of the country, there have been many efforts into promoting and nurturing democratic participation within the schools of the country. Since the establishment in 2009 of the youth center Multi-Култи in Kumanovo, Center for Intercultural Dialogue has worked closely with the high schools in town to ensure that they are developing schools, ensuring democratic elections within the schools and establishing school unions. Article 2: The right to participate 2.1.

School students must be involved in the decision-making processes in all matters concerning their education. This must be guaranteed by legislation;

2.2.

The power of decision making must not be concentrated in the hands of single individuals; decision-making bodies at all levels must be representative and democratic;

2.3.

There must be an organ of collective decision making such as a school board where the decision-making process of a school is concerned;

2.4.

School students must have some influence on the content of the lectures, the methods of teaching, curricula and books;

2.5.

Students should be guaranteed proper, transparent evaluation of their work. Students have the right to universal and continuous assessment. Furthermore, school students should be given the opportunity to evaluate the teaching received;

2.6.

School students must have equal influence as teachers have in the school decision-making processes;


2.7.

School students have to guarantee sufficient time for learning and participation.

The right to participate in the Declaration clearly defines the also the desired level of engagement of young people in decision-making which has been a constant struggle to achieve in the past 10 years in Kumanovo. Once the school unions are established through a democratic process of elections and participation of the students. The first challenge for each of the Student Union is to get recognition and build credibility in front of the school board. These efforts in Kumanovo and across the country have been translated into general recommendations for National policies. More specifically within the new proposed law which regulates high school education. The new proposal envisions school unions as equal partners in decision making within the schools and their development becomes a mandatory procedure for each high school. This creates a sustainable solution for ensuring active participation of students within the school development. In the past two years school unions have been active in advocating for different issues that were directly converting the education process. Each year student unions have their voice raised on the issue of the state examination. The way how it is shaped and how it is going to affect the future of the students. Article 3: The right to appeal 3.1. School students should have the right to appeal against unfair treatment and have the right to demand disciplinary actions in case of such violations. The appeal should be handled by an impartial structure. 3.2. Any appeal through internal or external channels should not cause any harm to the school student(s) appealing.

This article is among the most concerning issues for students. At the current legislation, the school unions in most of the schools are not part of the statute of the schools, this leaves a sense of ambiguity among young people that their structures and their organizational efforts are not recognized by school authorities.


In other words, if they appeal against certain unfavorable policies they would get individual treatment as students and not as a student organization. Article 4: Civil Rights Article 5: The right to quality education Article 6: Vocational education and training Article 7: The right to access education Article 8: The right to maintain cultural and personal identity Article 9: The right to gender equality Article 10: The right to a flexible school system Article 11: The right to a proper school environment Article 12: The right to information and guidance Article 13: Internal Regulations Article 14: The right to global and society education

REFLECTION TIME How do you assess the situation in your school? Where do you think you stand? Where does young people in your school stand? What are they loud about and why? Reality check! Kumanovo is the urban and economic center for the southeastern region of North Macedonia. It is a diverse city in culture and opportunities for young people. Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) as a youth-led organization established by high school students in the past 15 years has provided opportunities to engage in building dialogue and trust among different ethnic and cultural communities in town. Mainly through non-formal education and human rights approach.


Educating young people about their rights and obligations as active citizens of their community. This process has resulted in close collaboration and has initiated a series of efforts to mobilize young people in advocating for their problems and concerns. The city of Kumanovo has 8 schools with more than 10 different educational programs. Throughout the years CID has established a collaboration and supported the school with their efforts to develop extracurricular activities for their students. These efforts have resulted in the development of a series of models on how to organize young people within the school environment. In each of the schools there have been different reactions to the idea that young people should get organized and participate in decision-making processes within the school or at least be consulted. This process has been affected heavily by the general political climate as well as school policies. Changes in school management and political developments in most of the cases provide little space for young people to find focus and get organized in requesting change that matters to them. To best address these issues CID has developed more holistic approach by building the capacities of young people to be able to act in one hand and informing and developing capacities of school staff such as teachers and school personnel. In order to help the process of building sustainable ways of developing structures that ensure great understandings in roles and responsibilities of each of the parties involved. Nevertheless, there have been a series of activities and attempts to raise the level of participation of young people in decision making with the schools through concrete actions that initiated dialogue among young people and their counterparts within the school to participate in shaping policies. The main focus of youth organizing in schools has evolved around activities that bring together youth of different ethnic communities in order to establish dialogue and build trust.


However, with the efforts of high school students don’t stop there. Kumanovo youth have been heavily involved in organizing national student movements and student protests. In Kumanovo school unions have managed to mobilize and boycott certain unfavourable policies in education as well as bring together youth from different ethnic communities to protest for their common problems. Action that has shown maturity and directly impacted the efforts to develop a more cohesive community. Outside school, young people of Kumanovo have the Multi-Култи Youth Center which provides them with a space and facilities to get organized. A lot of efforts are put into educating young people on their rights as well as building their leadership capacities. Among the most successful leadership programs that CID through the Youth Center offers is CID Leadership Academy or commonly known by young people as “CID Academy” which is a long-term educational module that provides a unique approach to developing different competences of young people to act as leaders in their community. The module of CID Academy provides a youth camp for team building of a group of about 20 young people and then in a period between 3 to 9 months help them develop specific skills on the basics of activism and community engagement. This process is followed with many community actions and reflections on how young people are challenging the current narratives in the community as well as develop opportunities to engage the broader public in order to advocate for certain problems. This program throughout the years has evolved and involved a series of creative approaches to problem solving in the community. Throughout the activities and research conducted by CID and other organizations as a main challenge for young people in Kumanovo remains: ● Proper access to information that is of interest for young people. Mainly in the area of youth organizing as well as to get informed on different policies that affect their life. There has been little or no investment in improving the channels for communication offered by the schools.


● Intercultural competences to deal with the multicultural environment they live in. The town has tendencies for segregation and potential conflicts between young people that don’t have opportunities to meet with diverse peers that live in the same city. ● Organizational skills, teamwork and communication. Most young people find it difficult to manage structures and engage their peers in activities to develop activities. ● Low quality of educational services provided by educational institutions.

3. Our efforts This year, The Center for Intercultural Dialogue brought together 24 high school students from three different schools in Kumanovo and worked together to build their capacities through training and civic actions. There were 5 days’ workshop on building the core group of 24 activists that are going to develop a joint council consisting of representatives of different schools that teach in different languages and to members of different communities of Kumanovo. Following the workshop, a series of ten trainings (one day) were conducted to further build the capacities of the initial group as well as other students from the respected schools. The workshop and training focused on developing the young participants’ skills to promote positive changes in their communities through learning about democratic values and principles, human rights, leadership, intercultural dialogue, and using offline and online tools for advocacy. Part of the workshops were also teachers that are active in providing support to students within the schools.


Once the participants got the necessary knowledge they supported the planning of the 10th Summer school against Hate Speech. A training event that helps young people to further build their capacities in dealing with hate speech and hateful narratives. The training also engaged peers of the initial group and helped them further develop their leadership skills. Part of the training program was the development of action plans for community actions for dealing with hate speech. The participants developed 3 community actions: Youth Offices This advocacy campaign successfully ensured reopening of the dedicated space for young people within the School Facilities. This was a great success for the student organizing process as it enables the student council to have a place for organizing coordinative meetings in order to properly function as well as provided a space for other students with a spot where they can get together and do any extracurricular activities or any other leisure type activities such as reading books, playing board games or staying there to wait for their school bus. The student union managed to negotiate the maintenance of the space by ensuring that there will be 2 students keeping the office open that will be appointed by the school staff and the student council starting from September. The student union also managed to appoint a joint communication person that will serve as a bridge between the school staff, youth organizations in town and the student union. This person will provide young people with information about opportunities for development through non-formal education. This action will have an impact in both Gymnasiums of the city. Exhibition: What are the young people missing in Kumanovo? Young people in Kumanovo and beyond are constantly expressing a need for a place where they can freely speak out their opinions and thoughts but as well share their creative and critical minds with others.


Considering this need the youth council decided to open a call for a creative art exhibition for all young people to offer them a space for sharing and acknowledgment of their concerns and contributions to finding adequate response to the needs of young people in town. In this regard also, the topic of the call was “What are the young people missing in Kumanovo?” Nine inspirational youngsters from three different municipalities: Kumanovo, Staro Nagoricane and Lipkovo shared their thoughts through art using distemper or pen on a canvas. The art pieces were then presented at an event in which different results and recommendations for change were presented to the local and national authorities, policy makers and other stakeholders that are linked to shaping the life of young people in town. The art spoke for itself and shared a strong visual message to all the people present. Graffiti art against hate After a moving training on dealing with hate speech, participants were inspired to act immediately. They decided to go out in the streets and map all the graffiti’s that have a hateful message or a hateful symbol. In a similar fashion they decided to repaint the area with a positive, creative and inclusive artwork. Nevertheless, they immediately encountered obstacles such as painting in private properties would be considered an act of vandalism, but for that the school council negotiated with the municipality and the police to intervene only in public places where hateful messages or symbols are displayed. This meant they worked on the walls of a school building which is shared by The Albanian and Serbian community and is very often a target of bad graffiti’s. As the council managed to negotiate with the school’s authorities they got not only a permission to remove the hateful messages but also to paint a wide mural in the walls of the school. An event that sparked big interest among the young people.


The workshop on dealing with hate speech moved the participants towards teamwork and cooperation between different ethnicities and making their community a better place for everyone. Get to know the School Union Model School Unions are organizations developed by students with an aim to advocate for issues and problems that young people might have while spending their time in school and during their education in general. These bodies are led by young people and (ideally) are recognized by the school authorities as an equal partner in decision making when it comes to policies within the school that affect the life of young people. This structure aims at involving most of the students and creates a representation union of students. In short, the Union represents the interests of the different schools in front of policy makers and decision makers at a local or national level. Each of the school should have a democratic and a participatory process of electing board members of the school union which will be the highest youth representative organization. The following model that will be presented was developed by Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution14 and served as a model for building school unions within the past 10 years among the schools in Kumanovo. Center for Intercultural Dialogue in the first 4 years has facilitated the process of building the student unions within the school and transferred the knowledge to the school staff which now has an extensive experience in building these youth organizations. This model starts with the process of election of the Classroom board elected by the classroom community and all the board representatives constitute the school parliament which elects the board of the School Union. This structure has 3 main parts (i) the Bodies of the School Union which are:


Classroom Community Tasks: deciding on issues related to learning, school stay, communication and relationship among peers, relationships with authorities at the school 1. The president and vice president of the classroom community 1 male and 1 female student should be elected from each classroom Election criteria: Engagement, regularity, high learning success (mostly good / excellent), communicativeness, respect for others (does not discriminate between students, treats everyone equally, stands up for students), respect from other students, responsibility Tasks: • represents the classroom to the school authorities and conveys the opinions and views of the classroom mates to these bodies (school board, principal, teachers 'council, parents' council, school union) • organizes discussions in the classroom on specific issues / problems (on their own initiative or at the initiative of other students); • provides information, messages and suggestions from the school authorities to the students; • Collaborates with permanent and temporary bodies in the classroom community on specific issues Dismissal of the president/ vice president of the classroom community: • At its own request; • Due to prolonged absence from classes • At the request of a group of students (at least 10% of the total number of students in the class) • Due to transfer to another school 2. Permanent working groups of the classroom community

At least 1 male and 1 female student in each of the working groups for:


• Celebrations and events • Excursions • Discipline and hygiene • Collecting donations and other financial duties • Environmental patrol • Sports complaints and appeals:

initiatives and proposals:

class master

responsible teacher

specific responsible

class master

teacher

parents’ council

school staff

teachers' council

teachers' council

school principle

school principle

school board

school board

school union

president / vice president of a classroom community

permanent bodies of a

temporary classroom

classroom community

community

The classroom community (all students in the class)


3. Temporary working groups of the classroom community Are formed as needed for different issues (for example: changing uniforms, making a board, helping a student in learning etc.) Each of these working groups should have at least 1 male and 1 female student. (ii) Communication ladder (iii) Election Procedures 1. The class master announces one week in advance that there will be elections for president and vice president of the classroom community bodies, as well as members of the permanent bodies of the classroom community with the exact time of elections, while introducing the students orally and in writing (a copy of the bodies in the classroom community and the communication ladder is pasted in each classroom in A3 format) with the selection criteria and their tasks so that they have time to think. 2. Elections (per classroom) Materials: • Chalk and blackboard • Box with lid opening • Ballots - A4 paper cut into eight parts; as many sections as there are students • writing utensils - as many as there are students • A4 paper • A3 copy of bodies in the classroom community and Student Union with a ladder of communication • Adhesive tape 2.1. Procedure for election of president and vice president of a classroom community:

• The criteria for selection of president / vice president of the classroom community and their tasks are re-passed


• it is emphasized that they must be of a different gender (after the counting of votes he/she will be the president with the largest number of votes, and the next in terms of the number of votes, but of a different gender from the president will be vice president) • Candidates are nominated (they apply themselves or other students nominate them, but not the teacher; there must be at least one male and one female candidate in order to have a general selection procedure; the names with ordinal numbers are written on the board) • After the previous phase is exhausted, each candidate says whether or not he / she wants to be elected without pressure from the side; he who does not want - is deleted from the list • A three-member commission is elected for selection by the students themselves (gender mixed, and who are not candidates) • The selection committee sits in a part of the classroom and the teacher gives her an empty ballot box and empty ballots and says that she is now responsible for conducting fair, democratic and secret elections • The selection commission gives one blank ballot to all students who then have to copy the candidates from the board in order, and then each returns the ballot to the selection commission which checks them, mixes them and indicates that in the next step each will receive a ballot on which only one candidate can be rounded • one by one, a student comes to the selection committee, receives one ballot, secretly circles the person he / she is voting for, folds the ballot and puts it in the box • After all students have voted, the selection committee publicly counts the votes only on valid ballots (if no one is rounded / more than one is rounded up / there are registered candidates / the ballot is crossed out - it is considered invalid; if 51% or more of the ballots are invalid - selection is invalid)


• the one with the most votes is declared by the election commission as president, and the next by number of votes, but from the opposite sex, the class principle declares him / her the vice-president of the class / community, writes their names on a list which he / she submits to: teacher council, school principal, school board and parent council • The students are briefly introduced to what a school union is (orally and in writing by sticking in the classroom A3 a copy with the bodies in the School union and the communication ladder), so the students are informed that elections for the functions in this body will follow soon (for the primary school: Only those from the subject classes will participate in the selection, and the students from the grade classes are instructed that in order to solve certain problems / take initiatives they may in the future ask for help from those older students who will be elected in the presidency of the school union) 2.2. Procedure for election of members in the permanent bodies of the classroom community:(The same procedure is carried out when electing members in the temporary bodies of the classroom community, but only when necessary) • The class teacher introduces the students to the types of permanent bodies of the class / community, their tasks in general, as well as the fact that each body must have at least two members with a mixed gender composition • Each student (except the president and vice-president of the classroom community) voluntarily decides which body he / she wants to be a member of, but each student must be a member of at least one body • The president and vice president of the classroom community enroll the members in each body and keep the list


1.Assembly of the School Union (i)

Bodies of the School Union (have one-year term with the right to another reelection)

Election Procedures The Assembly of the School Union represents the total number of all presidents and vice-presidents of classrooms of certain high school. Tasks: • elects the presidency of a school union • summarizes the work from the previous period • adopts a code of conduct in the school (after a public debate in the school) • discusses the situation in the school and takes a position on issues of interest to all students Way of work: • Meets obligatorily at least twice a year in predetermined terms, and when needed • At least half of the members must attend the meeting • decides by simple majority (most of those present) • It is managed by the presidency of the School Union Dismissal of a member of the Assembly of the School Union: • At their own request • Because he / she has been relieved of duty in their classroom community • At the request of a group of students (at least 10% of the total number of students in the school union) *An Assembly of a School Union with16 or less members act also as a presidency of that School Union. 2. Presidency of the School Union (1 male and 1 female from each generation and from each language of education) Way of work:


• It is obligatory to meet at least once a month in predetermined terms, and when there is a need • At least half of the members must attend the meeting • decides by simple majority (most of those present) • It is chaired by the chairman of the School Union Presidency Tasks: • presents and represents the opinions of students • Participates in making decisions that are important to students • Helps in resolving conflicts • Participates in activities that improve relations between students and other structures in the school • creates conditions for communication and cooperation between students from different ethnic and religious communities • Initiates and implements activities and changes in the school • initiates and supports projects • initiates, organizes and actively participates in various actions and events • conducts petitions and campaigns on certain issues • receives and reviews information from students about various initiatives, suggestions and problems • informs students • develops and proposes the code of conduct in the school together with the teachers • Makes contacts with the school administration, teachers and parents regarding various issues • prepares reports and opinions which he / she submits to the School Union, the teachers 'council, the parents' council, the school board, and to the school principal


2.1. Chairman of the presidency of the School Union (It is the oldest member by date of birth in the presidency regardless of gender and language of education) Tasks: • convenes a meeting of the Assembly of the School Union on predetermined dates (at least twice a year), and when needed • convenes a meeting of the School Union Presidency at pre-determined dates (at least once a month), and additionally at the initiative of at least two members of the presidency, but also when needed II Communication ladder

teachers' council school principle

Presidency of the School Union

School Union

school board parents’ council

Elections procedures of the Presidency of the School Union Materials needed for organizing elections: • Chalk and blackboard • Box with lid opening • Ballots - A4 paper cut into eight parts; as many sections as there are students • writing utensils - as many as there are students • A4 paper • A3 copy of bodies in the UC with a ladder of communication • Adhesive tape


1. The teacher/coordinator of the elections informs all the presidents and vicepresidents from all classrooms’ communities of the School Union, at least one week before elections for a meeting in a specific room and time in the school; The list of elected bodies for each classroom community can be obtained from the school principal. 2. The meeting is chaired by the teacher/coordinator who starts with ascertain whether at least 51% of the total number of presidents and vice-presidents of the classroom communities of the invited are present, and then lead the meeting in the educational language of the school in the following order (step by step)

The election day of the Presidency of the School Union • The attendees are introduced to the tasks and the way of work of the bodies of the school union (orally and in writing: a copy of the bodies in the school union and the communication ladder is put up in the walls of the classroom in A3 format) • 15 min are given time for all present to form groups, separately for each educational language and for each generation (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior) and in each of them to nominate candidates (nominated by themselves or others) for members of the Presidency of the School Union (at least 1 male + 1 female candidate), and then they are written on the board - separately for each generation and for each educational language • from those who will not be on the list of candidates, a selection committee is formed (age, gender and ethnically mixed) which sits in a designated part of the classroom and it is responsible for conducting fair, democratic and secret elections and gives one blank ballot to all students who then only need to write down the candidates listed in the classroom board (each only from their generation and educational language), and then each returns the ballot to the selection committee which checks and mixes them ( separately from each generation and educational language) and points out that in the next step everyone will receive a ballot paper on which they will have to circle only one male and one female candidate from their generation and educational language.


• one by one, students go to the selection committee, receives one ballot, secretly circles the person he / she is voting for, folds the ballot and puts it in the ballot box • After all students have voted, the selection committee publicly counts the votes only from the valid ballots (if the ballot is empty or it has more than one person circled from the registered candidates / the ballot is crossed out - it is considered invalid; if 51% or more of the ballots are invalid - the selection procedure is not valid, so a selection is made by drawing lots from all the names of those present previously on separate ballots for each generation and each educational language separately) • The position of a member of the Presidency of the School Union is given to one student from each generation and from each language of education who won the most votes as candidates for that position • The selection committee writes the names of the selected persons on a list which it submits to: the parents 'council, the teachers' council, the school principal and the school board, and publishes them on a bulletin board in the school in all languages of education.

In monolingual schools that have a significant number of students that are members of the Roma community: in addition to the above procedure, the teacher/coordinator the elections convince a meeting of all Roma students and organizes elections for their representatives in the School Union according to the same procedure, i.e.: • All present students are divided into groups according to their generation and propose candidates for members of the School Union (regardless of gender) - at least one from each year • Candidates enroll on blank ballots for each generation separately • Secret elections are held; everyone votes for only one candidate of their generation (same school year)


• those with the most votes (one from each generation), regardless of gender, enter as members of the School Union, and of them - those who are in the last two generations (Junior and Senior) become members of the presidency of the School Union. • The selection committee writes the names of the selected persons on a list which it submits to: the parents 'council, the teachers' council, the school principal, the school board, and to the presidency of the UC, and publishes them on a bulletin board in the school.

Monitoring check list for following the work of the School Union Name of the School: Responsible NGO/ Group for mentoring: Date: Legend - each of the squares is filled in according to the monitoring activity: 🗹 - checked and implemented 🗷 - check and not implemented c

- still not checked (not monitored)

1.The coordination team of coordinating teacher in the school:  is formed  the team members are: 1 school staff + 2 teachers  in multilingual schools there are representatives of each instruction language program 2. Each classroom:  Has elected president and vice-president of the classroom community  during their election, the envisaged democratic procedures are followed  the president and vice president are of different sexes


 It has voluntarily elected members for all permanent working groups of the classroom community  all students are members of at least one of the permanent working groups (except the president and the vice president) permanent working groups have gender mixed composition  Temporary working groups of the classroom are created as needed  the temporary working groups have gender mixed composition 3. School Union  Has elected a presidency of the SC  Consists of 1 male + 1 female from each generation (school year). And from each instruction language of a school program  has appointed a chair regardless of gender  He / she is the oldest member of the presidency on the calendar  He / she leads the meetings  He / she signs the minutes of the meetings Meetings of the School Union  at least twice a year in predetermined terms  Meetings are organized by the presidency of the School Union  The team is assisted by a team of teachers-coordinator  a list of attendees is kept  At least half of the members of the School Union are present Meetings of the Presidency of the School Union  It has at least once a month meeting in predetermined terms  Meetings are organized by the chairman of the UC presidency  The team is assisted by a team of teacher-coordinators  a list of attendees is kept  At least half of the student body is present


Functioning of the School Union:  the list of all members is submitted to all bodies in the school (teachers’ council, parents’ council, school principal, school board)  ideas for action come from the students themselves  the team of teacher-coordinators do not give ideas  All decisions are made by the students themselves  The teacher-coordinator team does not participate in decision making  The School Union undertakes activities for change in the school itself  The School Union undertakes activities for cooperation with another school  The School Union undertakes activities for cooperation with the municipality  The School Union is involved in the work of other school bodies

4. The election of the presidency of the School Union:  The elections happened  previously scheduled election and published in written form in the designated informative areas of the school  Teacher coordinators schedule the day, place and time of selection at least one week in advance  Written material with criterias, tasks, selection procedures are placed in visible places before the start of the elections  Elections are attended by at least 51% of the total membership in the School Union  The teacher-coordinators introduce the attendees to the selection procedure with the tasks and the way of work of the School Union through written materials  Special groups are formed from the attendees for each generation and for each language of education


 Each group proposes at least 1 male + 1 female candidate from their generation and program of instruction language for a candidate of the School Union presidency  All candidates are summarized in a prominent place from all school years and languages of instruction  Each proposed candidate agrees to his / her participation in elections  A commission is formed for the selection of three members from non-candidate students  The group is age, gender and ethnically mixed  Candidates are registered in alphabetical order on ballots (separately for each generation and language of education)  All School Union members receive one ballot only for their generation and language of education  Each individually and in secret marks only 1 male and 1 female candidate from the ballot  Ballots are collected in a ballot box  The election commission publicly counts the votes and publicly announces the selected candidates 1 male + 1 female are elected as members of the presidency of the School Union from each generation and instruction language  The elected are the ones who won the most votes  The list of elected members of the Presidency of the School Union of all instruction languages of the school and is signed by the election commission and is submitted to: teachers’ council, parents’ council, school principal, school board  List of elected members of the Presidency UC of all instruction languages in the school and signed by the election commission is prominently displayed for all students in the school


Election of Roma representatives in the School Union in schools with significant number of Roma students (min. 5% of the total number of students in the school):  The election process is completed  Elections are previously scheduled in writing  The teacher-coordinators schedules the day, place and time of the election at least one week in advance with all Roma students  It is attended by at least 51% of the total number of Roma students in the school  The teacher-coordinators introduce the attendees to the selection with the tasks and the way of work of the School Union through written material  Special groups are formed from the attendees for each generation  Each group proposes at least one candidate from their generation for a member of the SC regardless of their gender  The candidates are summarized in a prominent place from all generations  each proposed candidate agrees to his / her selection to participate in elections  A commission is formed for the selection of three members from noncandidate students  The group is age, gender and ethnically mixed  Candidates are registered in alphabetical order on ballots (separately for each generation)  Everyone presents receives one ballot with candidates from their generation  Each vote individually and secretly by rounding off only one candidate  Ballots are collected in a ballot box  The election commission publicly counts the votes and publicly announces the selected candidates  One member of School Union is elected for each generation regardless of their gender  The elected are the ones who won the most votes


 The elected candidates from the last two generations also become members of the presidency of the School Union  The list of the elected members of the School Union and the presidency of the School Union is signed by the election commission and the same is submitted to the: teachers 'council, parents' council, school principal, school board, presidency of the School Union  List of elected members of the Presidency UC of all instruction languages in the school are signed by the election commission is prominently displayed for all students in the school Information board within the school: c

There is an information board for the needs of students  The board is placed in a prominent place in the school  It has minimum dimension is 100X70cm.  Half of it is used only for the needs of the School Union  News and information are placed on it  All the information is displayed in all languages of instruction at the school  Next to it there are schemes with bodies, communication ladder, selection procedure for classroom community and School Union  The list of School Union members is highlighted on it  The list of members of the School Union presidency is highlighted on it  The presidency chairman of the School Union is highlighted

7. Templates for official communication of the students for each school authority and body is:  Templates are Developed c

There are examples in the instruction languages of the school

c

They are available in the school secretariat

c

The information are displayed in a prominent places in the school


High School Student Council This organization is an umbrella organization of High School Communities in certain Town or City. It has a representation role with an aim to advocate student problems in front of the Local City Council as decision makers or any other National institution that affects the life and development of young people that are of age between 14 and 19 years old. The organization is developed by the members of the Presidencies of High School Unions or any other member of High School Unions. This process starts with an initiative board which transforms into a Councils Assembly which is led by the elected board members. The Imitative Board A local Ngo or a group of teacher/coordinator can initiate the process of creating a High School Student Council together with members of School Unions. Open call for initiative board members is drafted by the mentors and published in the local media, youth portals and sent to all school staff to be distributed further to the students. Depending of the local reality of the youth participation in the schools young people are invited to become members of the General Assembly of the Student Council. Ideally members of this body should be nominated representatives of from each high school union presidencies. But in places and cases where there are not developed or functioning high school unions, any interested student that is at least a president or a vice of a classroom community.


Once the team is created develops materials and information on the council. At this stage the initial criteria’s will be defined depending on the local reality of young people and general elections will be called in order to invite the interested parties. General Assembly of the Council of the High Schools The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the council which elects its board and other working groups to ensure proper functionality. The constitutive assembly is chaired by the members of the initiative board which present the draft documents for constituting the council. It adopts the statute of the council and other necessary documents such as rule books and commissions of the assembly. Governing Board of the High School Council The governing board is the decision-making body between two general assemblies. Its members are elected during the General Assembly and it can consist between 5 and 9 members. Elections for Governing board members should be conducted in a democratic and participatory manner with secret ballots. international level to other organizations and networks, allowing the activities and practices to be repeated and adapted within the local communities. Obligations of the Council To represent the interests of its members; To follow and participate in local and national policy development; To be a youth voice in town; Not to affiliate itself with a political party or other political entity; To be part of Local Youth Council;



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National Youth Strategy (2016 - 2025), Agency of Youth and Sport, North Macedonia on Youth Participation and Youth Organizing, Parliament of North Macedonia 3https://www.voicesofyouth.org/understanding-youth-participation 4Have Your Say! - Manual on the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (New Edition) (2015) 5 . Lauritzen, P., keynote speech on participation presented at the Training Course on the development and implementation of participation projects at local and regional level, the European Youth Centre, Strasbourg, June 2006. 6https://www.voicesofyouth.org/youthadvocacy 7 UNICEF’s Youth Advocacy Guide 8https://www.youthdoit.org/themes/meaningful-youthparticipation/#:~:text=Meaningful%20Youth%20Participation%20(MYP)%20means,the%20involve ment%20of%20youth%20voices. 9https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/human-rights 10https://www.youthdoit.org/themes/meaningful-youth-participation/ 11https://web.archive.org/web/20200509140102/https://www.childrightscampaign.org/what-is-thecrc/ 12"Public Policy Decision Making ." Pollution A to Z. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Jun. 2021 13 E. Lagerspetz, in Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics (Second Edition), 2012 14 https://chrcr.org.mk/en/ 2Law


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