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Belgrade, Topličin venac 11,
Serbia and Montenegro

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e-mail: office@lex.org.rs
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Project Proposal


Author and coordinator:
Prof. dr Jelena Djordjević


Teachings in history and Serbian language in elementary schools are currently burdened by exceeded ideas that are planted into minds of very young children as truths based on which they will build their relation towards the world. These ideas are based on binary classifications that put in the focus of interest the relation “us” and “others” as an unsolvable problem. Insisting on “enemies” who stand in the way of “national independence” is the basic motif of reflecting historical moving and stimulation for cultural development. Uncompromising relation “We” and “They” is interpreted as a historical fate. National history and culture are seen only as a by-product of the national liberation. Whole epochs are excluded from this approach (for example the period of Turkish rule over the Balkan) and by this means a false picture is made about realities of historical movements, possibilities of exceeding crises and significance of individual responsibility in creating events. Similar is notable in literature teachings which disproportionably much deals with the theme of patriotism, so that a huge space in literature is reduced to ideologically acceptable and preferable themes and authors.

The classificatory (and mythical), value wise simplified, model of interpretation has a priority over the analytical model, whereby a firm ground is made in the earliest age for invigoration of prejudices towards other and different. This refers to cultural, religious, ideological and political differences as much as to relations according to gender (female).

This leads to dangerous reductionism that has two dangerous consequences:

1. denial of individual's active role in social life and abetting slavery and social apathy;

2. abetment of unhistorical interpretation of history whereby an ideal of a closed society is affixed.

In conditions of country's real isolation, this way of schooling causes development of an inner isolation attitude with both the nation and the individual. Consequences of this kind of education are far-reaching and multiple on every level of personality building and of defining of his/her role in the society. Thereby, from generation to generation, including of the Serbian society into modern streams is being seriously hampered. Resistances to democratization are in a great degree a consequence of this kind of orientation from the earliest age.

Project Objective

The project refers to very young population of children on primary educational level, who should be prepared for new conditions of life in the modern world. The basic goal of this project is to encourage pupils, future citizens, to analytically interpret and understand social facts and to learn to be open towards the other and the different.

The project should encourage the analytic approach to the reality opposite to the mythological-classificatory that is offered in primary schools as a base for knowledge about history, society and culture. This creates a thorough base for modernization of Serbian cultural unity and integration of Serbia in the European circuits. Unless a drift is made in understanding and interpreting national history and culture, the upcoming generations will necessarily be burdened by current delusions and by that disabled to actively take a part in creating an open, democratic society.

Considering that elementary school is one of the forms of primary socialization , the goal of this project is to encourage thorough changes in habits of thinking. A new approach in learning about the society and culture seems essential for every permanent change of habits in thinking, which stands as a serious obstacle to understanding the reality and contemporaneity.

The project can be done on a narrower or on a wider scale


a) An analysis of existent manuals and ways of presenting the material in social sciences (History and Serbian language and literature, above all)

b) A proposition of the conception of future social sciences manuals


a) A systematical solving of problems and establishing new principles on the level of elementary education

b) An elaboration of methods and approaches to the education that would encourage development of a free and creative personality of the pupil

c) Education of teachers for schooling according to the new principles

Description and contents of the project

Narrower volume of the project:

Analysis of History and Serbian language and literature manuals:

  • Analysis of the contents
  • Methodological analysis
  • Analysis of interpretative models
  • Analysis of postulated values
  • Insight of absent, neglected, and for a certain field relevant themes and methodologies

Analysis of current pedagogic programs and declaring the goals of education:

  • Comparative analysis of manuals and declaring the goals of education
  • Analysis of the “preferable” teacher profile
  • Analysis of preparing the teaching cadre for performing declared demands
  • Analysis of absent, neglected, and for a certain field indispensable goals of education

Wider volume of the project

Based on analysis implied by the narrower volume of the project that concerns the current condition, following should be done:

  • Elaboration of a project concerning History and Serbian language manuals
  • Elaboration of a project that would include pedagogical principles, in elementary school education, that would incite the development of analytical abilities, opposite to the classificatory evaluation
  • Analysis of objective, institutional and other hindrances that enables the development of analytical capabilities of a free creating personality
  • Elaboration of pedagogical methods adjusted to the needs of modern education concerning social sciences (History and Serbian language above all)
  • Education of teachers and professors
Phases of elaboration of the project

The first phase implies analysis of the current condition, on level of the narrower, i.e. wider volume of the project: analysis and interpretation of aforesaid areas (named under Description and contents of the project).

The second phase – elaboration of the proposal for future changes in mentioned areas. This also relates the two variants of the project:

  • The narrower project – a proposition of changes in approaching the presentation of knowledge's in History and Serbian language
  • The wider project that would include a thorough reformation of the approach to teaching social sciences in elementary education.

The third phase – solving of concrete, institutional problems that resist eventual changes in approaching the material. During this phase, there would be an interaction with other projects that are relevant for this area.

The fourth phase – education of teachers and professors according to aforesaid demands.


The narrower volume of the project requires participation of experts, who would analytically and interpretatively treat current manuals that are being used in elementary schools (historians, sociologist's theoreticians and literature historians, ________ critics). Based on that, a project of new conception of the manuals would be proposed. The classificatory, traditionalistic, often nationalistic approach to the material would be replaced with an analytical, modern, open approach. It is necessary to consult for opinion a pedagogue and psychologist, who would participate in elaboration of methodology and ways of presenting the material in the possible suggestion of a new type of manual.

The wider volume of the project includes not only a greater number of associates but also involvement of experts of different profiles, especially lawyers. It is necessary to realize the project in collaboration and consultations with experienced teachers and professors.

Education would be performed by competent associates on the project with instruction of psychologist and pedagogues.

The field of operation and users

A project proposed in this way implies as users primarily elementary school pupils. However, concerning the importance of elementary education, users are extended on society in whole. A change in the type of education would have a great significance in building an open, modern, democratically oriented citizen, and this makes the field of operation wide.

Expected results

Consequences of the changes proposed by this project are not momentary, but

long-range. Elementary education affects children from the most different social environments as well as from economically and culturally different regions of Serbia. Concerning that, changes in the access of understanding one's own history and culture would mean changing in the old, tribal, ethnocentric and myth-creating model with a model that offers a possibility of understanding the other and the different, on a horizontal as well as on a vertical level. Without changes in perception of history and national culture, in our environment, it is impossible to expect changes in perception of the reality and contemporaneity.

Positive results can be expected in the direction of developing a future citizen for a democratic and multicultural society, which is necessary for realization of the integration of future Yugoslavia in basic, European and global trends.

Duration of the project: in the narrower volume, the project would last for 12 months, and in the wider volume 24-30 months.

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