“We want to help youth find their place”
The “Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Youth Policy” conference was organized in Yerevan on 13-14 November.
The conference is within the scope of the Armenian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe and was held within the framework of the partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the youth sector. During the conference, the participants discussed the role of youth work in supporting cross-cultural cooperation between youth, the role of new technologies in the formation of a democratic society and the participation factor in the promotion of education, as well as the establishment of a relationship between education of democratic citizenship and participation in the youth policy and youth work sectors and the strengthening of that relationship from the angles of policy research and practice. To find out whether the youth in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus share the same issues or not and if there are ways to solve those issues, Eritasard.am’s correspondent sat down for an interview with EU CoE Youth Cooperation Coordinator Marta Medlinska. Eritasard.am: What is the main purpose of organizing such conferences? Marta Medlinska: We want to help youth find their place. The European Commission and the Council of Europe have been organizing such events for several years now. The events are mainly targeted at youth policies. Our focus is on youth in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Eritasard.am: Which issues are common for youth in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus and what solutions do you suggest? M. M.: Our studies have shown that employment is the major issue concerning youth in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. It’s also a major issue in Armenia. Our experience has shown that one of the effective ways of solving the problem is teamwork. Youth must acquire skills to work as a team and communicate with each other. That will help them express their thoughts and ideas correctly, and this will benefit employers as well. The government must also be interested in doing everything possible to support such programs. Eritasard.am: How would you assess the level of the youth’s participation in democratic life in Armenia? M. M.: Based on the information that we received during this conference, we can consider the methods of the youth’s participation in democratic life as a little outdated. But just the fact that the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia is interested in organizing such conferences is already very positive. The important thing is for other ministries to become involved in the process and show interest in organizing such conferences. Eritasard.am: Which countries do you think Armenia is compatible with in terms of quality of education and youth employment in our region? M. M.: There’s always a danger in making comparisons. But what I can say is that there are phenomena that are similar to those in Georgia. We can also compare with Moldova and Ukraine. Eritasard.am: Can there be any relationship between tuition and the quality of education? M. M.: Of course not. The only thing that matters is the system of education. High tuition can’t ensure quality. High tuition hurts the society since many people can’t afford education. Everyone has the right to receive an education. Measures have to be taken to allow everyone to receive an education. Hrachuhi Almastyan