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Social Inclusion and New Technologies in Education 2018

Dragana Malidžan VinkićWritten by: Dragana Malidžan Vinkić, Education Coordinator, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia once again this year provided support for one of the most popular international conferences “New Technologies in Education”. The conference was organized for the fifth year in a row by the British Council in cooperation with partners.

This year we had the opportunity to hear over 100 international and local lecturers and practitioners, with around 70 presentations, 13 workshops, 3 panel discussions followed by over 3000 visitors during the two-day Conference.

Innovations have been presented in the world of information-communication technologies (ICT) aimed at improving the “development of teaching and non-teaching staff in preschool institutions, schools, universities and other organizations working in education in any form, in order to support creativity and innovation, modernize the learning process and best utilize the opportunities offered by new technologies.” In addition to the lectures, the visitors had the opportunity of visiting the very diverse fair content.

The venue’s four halls hosted excellent examples from practice related to the improvement of curricula for computer science, the use of gamification in education, gender (non)representation in digital professions, the opportunities for programming, the use of smartphones in teaching, as well as digital toys, the use of 3D holograms and artificial intelligence in teaching, coding with and without computers, and many other interesting topics regarding the use of ICT in education.

In addition to the fair, this year the inclusive aspect of this conference covered lectures that were not presented in a separate segment, but shown instead with other examples from the practice of regular schools. Thus the conference sent a strong message that inclusive education represents a part of the regular teaching process and covers all students, not only students from vulnerable groups.

Visitors could learn about the application for children with communication impairments – Lako s Markom developed by the staff of PS “Miloje Pavlović” from Belgrade introducing children to everyday situations in a simple, interesting and educational way (riding a bus, celebrating a birthday, going to the park…). In addition to being intended for children with communication impairments, it is very useful for the development of communication from the earliest age, i.e. from the moment the child starts to put together sentences. The application is free of charge and available through the Google Play store.

The staff of PSS “Vukašin Marković” from Kragujevac have shown us how apps can help overcome fear. Their app is primarily intended for children with autism, but it is also useful for all children, i.e. for situations every child is afraid of – going to the dentist or doctor. This app covers other everyday visits, such as going to the shop or to the hairdressers. This makes it easier for parents to prepare their children, and children know what awaits them. The application simulates a day in the life of a child from getting up, through breakfast, getting dressed, being driven to, for example, a doctor, and receiving a vaccine. The app has proven to be very useful as a means of learning about everyday situations, since children like to play games, and this app lets them play and thus ease tense situations.

The next rather interesting example of the use of ICT to overcome learning difficulties is the dyslexia software lexPad developed by the Inclusive Network. The software is downloadable free of charge from their website, and all interested persons can take part in improving the software in cooperation with its authors.

The “Dr Dragan Hercog” Primary School organizes distance learning for students on medical home and hospital treatments, as well as for students with severe forms of physical disability. As part of the Serbian language classes, i.e. the literary section, students were provided with a virtual field trip and visit to the National Museum in Niš. The students presented their experiences from the field trip on a board created through the free application linoit.

The lecture that left the greatest impression on me was a lecture from Finland. Namely, their history teachers have come up with an idea about how to make their subject more interesting, their students more active, and teaching more modern – they used a very popular form of entertainment called Escape Rooms in teaching. This type of game, also interesting for adults, requires participants to solve riddles and tasks through various clues and strategies. The game requires teamwork, contains an air of mystery, involves various challenges and is limited in time. In addition to the students playing, it stimulates collaborative learning, interaction, the exchange of ideas, and everyone can participate in the process of learning and playing, showing its inclusivity. It requires a well-designed preparation, networking with other teachers, provides for the use of various technologies, from low to high tech, develops 21st century skills (creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem learning in teaching, information-technology literacy). The entire presentation can be downloaded here.

The above examples from practice have also shown how much we still need to invest in teaching staff, in creating equal opportunities for all and increasing investments in education.

The status of Serbian education regarding the use of information-communication technologies in education was perhaps best illustrated by the staff of PS “Mihajlo Pupin” from Zemun:


Learning about technology

Learning from technology

Learning with technology



Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit Support for Youth with Disabilities

The Association of Students with Disabilities celebrated 18 years of its existence on 6 July. A panel discussion was organized on this occasion on the topic “Status of Youth with Disabilities”. The regular programme activity of the Association provides assistance and supports for its 723 members, among them 542 persons with disabilities, mainly faculty students, as well as secondary school students. Approximately 340 members are active making use of the Association’s support, and 31 members participate in the implementation of activities.

The panel organized as part of the celebration of the anniversary of this association was attended by representatives of the Secretariat for Social Protection, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the Ombudsman and the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.

Jovana Đinđić, Coordinator for Gender Equality and Human Rights of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia spoke about the status of youth with disabilities, emphasizing that youth face various problems, that they are exposed to discrimination, and frequently excluded from political, social, economic and cultural life. Jovana noted that accessibility is a precondition for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in society, therefore the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, in cooperation with the Ombudsman and Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities established last year an award for local self-government units for developing all forms of accessibility, to raise awareness of the importance of this topic, promote good practice examples and formulate recommendations for improving accessibility. Furthermore, Jovana Đinđić announced that the Unit will continue implementing trainings for representatives of local self-government units regarding accessibility and provide support to municipalities to prepare applications for funds intended for the improvement of all forms of accessibility in their environments.

Another area important for the social and economic status of youth with disabilities and their equal participation in society, as Jovana said, is employment. To improve the employment and employability of youth with disabilities, the Unit, as part of their grant scheme “Support for innovative approaches to increasing youth employment and employability”, provided support for the project of the Forum of Youth with Disabilities aimed at improving the employability of youth with disabilities through the development and implementation of working practice programmes. Thus 15 youth with disabilities completed training for the development of professional skills and attended working practice in various companies.

The Unit, in cooperation with the Association of Students with Disabilities, as well as other associations working on similar topics, will continue cooperation and efforts to work further on the improvement of the status of persons with disabilities in all key areas of life and work.


Cooperation with Local Authorities and Support to the Implementation of the Project Enter! Recommendations (Deadline: 31/8/2018)
Open Call for Short-Term Research Grants in France – Gender Equality and Gender Studies (Deadline: 6/9/2018)
Competition for the Selection of the Most Gender Sensitive Companies in Serbia (Deadline: 1/10/2018)
Open Call for the European Green Capital Award 2021 and the European Green Leaf Award for 2020 (Deadline: 18/10/2018)
You may follow the news on open calls regularly at:


Contracts for the Development of Local Youth Policy Signed
More than 40 Local Self-Governments and 100 Civil Society Organisations Introduced to the Calls for Proposals for Socially Innovative Projects
Rulebook on Determining the Required Number of Education Inspectors
Films for the 16th International Festival “Seize the Film” Selected
You may follow the news on social inclusion and poverty reduction regularly at:


STEFAN LAZAREVIĆ: Things I am Good at

(…) As a very young boy, I learned all the letters on my own, Latin and Cyrillic. My parents say that I was able to read when I was three, maybe even sooner, which was quite unusual considering I started to talk rather late. Letters were always interesting to me, and I learned them with the help of newspapers and by watching shows and commercials on the TV. (…) I often flipped through my mother’s books, and I always used to read the imprint on the back of the book, because it reminded me of the closing credits of television shows.

I guess I learned the numbers the same way. I remember one situation that happened at the Institute for Psychophysiological Disorders when, during my speech therapy, I managed to read all the numbers from 1 to 20 written on some machine. The strange thing was that before that, I hardly ever spoke, and that was the moment my parents realized I could count, even though they never taught me how. I can’t explain exactly why numbers and letters were so important to me, but I remember the kids from my class when I started school, and how surprised they were that I was reading so quickly while they were just starting to learn letters. (…)

Ever since I can remember, I enjoyed studying the map of Belgrade. I had one printed edition which included one large map of the entire city and one for each municipality. I learned quite quickly where each street was and which municipality it belonged to. Afterwards, we bought a CD with the map of Belgrade, which also included all public transport lines, and for fun, I used to imagine riding around on buses and trams memorising their routes (…) I still find looking at Google maps amusing and very useful when I need to go somewhere I’ve never been before, so I can find my way faster and I don’t get lost. Apart from Belgrade, by using Google maps I study other cities some of them I have already visited and would like to visit again.

One of the things I am good at is calculating dates. When someone asks me which day will be on a specific date several years in the future or in the past, I can answer it correctly and people often can’t believe someone is able to calculate it so quickly. When they ask me how I can do that, I explain that I can add and subtract days and dates in my head. (…) Apart from being able to calculate dates, I remember events really well – when exactly something happened, exact date and day of the week, who was present, what kind of haircut they had and other similar things. If my parents can’t remember something, instead of looking it up, they always ask me first, because they know I have a good memory. (…)

I wrote several times about how I love music and how I started learning to play the keyboard. Some of the things I learned from one of my friends, and others I am learning on my own, by watching tutorials on the Internet. When I hear a song, I instantly know which key is used by the singer. Also, if it is a cover, I immediately say what the original was like, for example originally it was in D sharp minor, and the cover is in E minor. I always thought other people could do this too, but now I can see this is not the case. People find this talent I have quite interesting, and they often ask me how I do it, but I don’t know how to explain. I can also recognise the type of rhythm used as soon as the song starts if it is rhumba, or disco, or something else. Moreover, while learning to play a song, if the original is too high or too low, I can easily change the key, so it is easier for me to sing it. (…)

Some of the things I can do well are useful, and some are just fun; however, what I would like you to know is that people with autism can have talents too, and they can sometimes be more successful at them that you.

The text in its entirety can be found on the Social Inclusion Blog.

Other texts by our bloggers can be found at:



The year is 2005, the month is May. I am looking at a several-day-old email account

There are only two emails in the Sent folder, both marked “TESTING” and sent so I can check if the email with my name is functioning. Create a new message.

I click on this field for the first time with the intention of sending a memo to the employees in the Junior Achievement Serbia (JASerbia) office. Like everything else you do for the first time in your life, it is sloppy. Outside of rules and logic, the first thing I write is my signature.

Nemanja Glavinić
Head of the Student Company ORION
Grammar School in Ivanjica

To whom should you send a message where you are announcing the establishment of a student company in Ivanjica; that you are the Head of that company and that you have a serious intention to conduct business successfully? Well, to your entire email address book, of course, provided the person was involved in educational programmes for junior achievement in Serbia. (…)

Subject? At least that’s easy. “Greetings” and the message was sent. (…)

The same year, 2005, Orion won the third place at the competition for the best student companies in Serbia, and in 2006, it was the most successful student company in Serbia.

After two and a half years of working in Orion, I came to Belgrade to study and once again I sent an email with the same “Greetings” subject to the Junior Achievement Serbia employees. In the email, I wrote that I was in Belgrade and that I would like to stay involved somehow. My Greetings was followed by a meeting, which was followed by the inclination of everyone to do good things together. Together we established the Alumni club of JASerbia, and for a couple of years we assisted schools in Serbia with the implementation of the programme, and again I met hundreds of entrepreneurial students and almost as many entrepreneurial teachers.

So now, since 2012, every morning I go into the JASerbia office, as an employee in the programming department, I say “Greetings” to my colleagues, and so together we greet and meet this parallel world, a world in which young people in Serbia have the energy and space to believe in their ideas. A world where you can voluntarily stay in school after classes are over and work on weekends.

After all these years meeting with JASerbia (…), I have participated in almost a hundred competitions, and I have met thousands of young people who had the opportunity to experience what success really means. Every one of them succeeded in what they were doing, and even when they did not win prizes, they were winners. I have also met several hundred entrepreneurial teachers, true heroes of the society, who genuinely dedicate themselves to their work, thus making a better future for everyone. (…)

Today, my Sent folder has a lot more emails, but more importantly, now I have my Inbox full of messages form students who want to do something. (…)

The text in its entirety can be found here.

More success stories can be found at
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Government of the Republic of Serbia
Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit
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