Project “YOUth Ambassadors of Non-Formal Learning”
Country: North Macedonia
Organization: Center for Intercultural Dialogue
Facilitator: Andrijana Tashevska
Date and location: 18.06.2020 – online
List of questions for Focus Group
- Do you think for NFE is important age, gender, nationality?
The participants agreed that for NFE age, gender and nationality is not important. In the formal educational system, there are rules to be followed for age, gender etc. But in NFE, you have more freedom and anyone can be a part of NFE activities. We are all the same, we are all human beings and we all have to learn something new.
- What does NFE mean to you? Can you define?
To make the focus group more interactive, we used menti.com to try and define non-formal education. The participants were supposed to write two words each, for what does NFE mean to them. Here are their answers:
– non traditional
– way of learning
– education outside school
– no need for school system
– lifelong education
– freedom of speech
– more attractive
– youth mobility
- Have you ever been a participant in an NFE program? If yes – in which one?
All of the participants were familiar with NFE program, and all of them were part of some activities. For example, a group of 4 participants were on a youth exchange in Germany. They talked about how they had more freedom to speak their minds. They liked the way the facilitators explained the program. It was more easy-going. It didn’t feel like a chore, like in the formal educational system, which is a traditional way of learning something new. Another participant shared that the most favorite activity that they were a part of was CID’s team building activity in Mavrovo, it was something new, that they had never experienced before, for example they had a task to build a snowman and sing Despacito at the same time.
- Do you know something about Youth Law / Strategy / Action Plan, as well as other documents related to youth?
The participants were not aware of existence on any Youth Law / Strategy / Action Plan or any other document.
- Have you ever participated in the youth decision-making process? If yes, in which one?
Most of the participants on this focus group were a part of CID’s annual programme called the CID Academy, preparing them to be future leaders of CID. As a part of this programme, they receive a few applications (small projects) from which they select the most suitable ones for regranting. They are the ones who make the selection, so this is an example of a decision-making process that they were a part of.
- 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 agreed that the Government should provide more financial support for non-governmental organizations. NGOs are the main organizers of NFE activities like trainings, youth exchanges etc. Financial support is the main thing that can make a difference.
- Does NFE activities help you for your personal development? If yes, how? If not, why?
Since all the participants were a part of some NFE activity, they shared that these activities help their personal development. Besides the main goal of learning something new, they have improved their socializing and communicating skills. NFE activities help them express themselves and talk before a large group of people.
- For you, why is it important to be involved in activities through non-formal education?
The participants agreed that it is important to be involved in activities through NFE because they learn new things, meet other people coming from different backgrounds, to be more friendly and open-minded. They learn new topics that are not included in the school’s curriculum like human rights, skills for coordination and management of our own schedule etc.
- Does virus Covid19 influence on non-formal education and how in your opinion?
The participants agreed that COVID-19 has a huge impact on NFE activities. For example if it wasn’t the COVID-19 crisis, this focus group could be organized having participants in the same room and they would feel more comfortable to speak, to express their opinions. Having the choice to mute yourself can stop you from being active in an activity. They have fewer opportunities to be a part of NFE activities now. However it has its pros and cons. As a positive outcome of this crisis the participants saw the collaboration between CID and Chicago Young Diplomats – where they had a virtual exchange, met with young people from Chicago and discussed future activities. On the other side they have a lot of time on their hands, and they are free to cancel their participation in an online activity or just not be active. As a part of CID Academy, they should organize a final event where they can present their activities, receive certificates and have a small celebration. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis their final event will be online, and since on all platforms you have the choice to turn off your camera, they can’t be sure that the participants of the final event will even hear their presentations, they cannot see their facial expressions or get their feedback. It is a struggle to invite people to participate in an online activity, engage them and keep them motivated until the very end.