The importance and role of the CSO sector is recognized in the Adult Education Strategy for Montenegro 2015-2025, which states that in order to increase the social inclusion of adult citizens through lifelong learning and education, it is necessary to use the potential of the NGO sector in adult education for civil democracy, protection of life environment, sustainable development, energy efficiency, gender equality, media literacy, etc. Also, appreciating the role and contribution of non-governmental organizations in the development of institutional and non-institutional education, the Ministry of Education, in accordance with the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations, annually allocates funds for financing projects and programs of NGOs in these fields.
There is no precise data on the total number of CSOs active in the field of education and learning, but it is evident that a large number of NGOs, in the framework of their project activities supported by national, EU and other foreign funds, implement public interest programs to strengthen the capacities and skills of different target groups (persons with disabilities, youth, members of the Roma and Egyptian communities, women and children victims of violence, civil servants, politicians, journalists, representatives of the civil sector, etc.).
The Law on Education of Adults recognizes CSOs as one of key actors in providing informal education programs, which are defined as following: training, retraining, further qualification, specialization and professional development; acquisition and improvement of key skills and key competences (foreign languages; Montenegrin language for foreigners, use of information and communication technologies; entrepreneurship, etc.); acquiring knowledge and skills for civil democracy, environmental protection, sustainable development, family life, successful social integration, raising the quality of life, health; education, social skills, third age, etc.
The procedure for accreditation of non-formal education programs is regulated by this law and non-governmental organizations have the same rights and obligations in this regard as other entities envisaged by the law. However, most educational programs implemented by NGOs in practice have not undergone program accreditation procedures in accordance with applicable legislation. In most cases, non-governmental organizations implement programs of non-formal education, without obtaining a license.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
According to the 2019 Analysis of Adult Education Programs implemented during 2018, conducted by the Centre for Vocational Education, there were 18 accredited informal education programs of 10 CSOs. This analysis indicates that the largest number of accredited CSO programs are vocational qualification education programs and education programs for the acquisition and improvement of key skills and key competences. Fewer accredited programs belong to the third group of non-formal education programs for acquiring knowledge and skills for civil democracy, environmental protection, sustainable development, family life, successful social integration, raising the quality of life, health education, social skills, third age, etc.
On the other hand, the largest number of activities and programs implemented by NGOs in practice, without formal accreditation, are activities and programs that belong to the aforementioned third group of non-formal education programs. For instance, organizations such as the Center for Civic Education, Prima, ADP ZID, Active zone, Association of Youth with Disabilities, Prona, etc., organize many schools and trainings for youth and adults on different topics. CRNVO regularly organizes trainings on writing projects, civil society, strategic planning, advocacy, etc.
In addition, the Youth Strategy 2017 – 2021 recognizes the importance of informal and non-formal education programs provided by CSOs as one of key measures are participation of youth in these programs and internships and vocational training programs within CSOs.
When it comes to civic education in formal education system, until 2017, Civic Education was a mandatory subject in elementary schools and elective subject in high schools. However, the new Education Reform proposed that Civic Education should be an elective in elementary schools, as well. The program of the subject stated that through Civic education children will be prepared for life in multicultural community through learning about democracy, human rights and other cultures. Many CSOs appealed against this reform, as through the reform children will lose the opportunity to learn about the aforementioned areas and civic concept.
At universities, these topics are studied at faculties of law, political science, state and European studies, etc. More precisely, these subjects are planned in the curriculum of study programs in the field of social studies. There are no such themes in programs of STEM education faculties.
When it comes to internships and fellowships, some Faculties have them as part of the curriculum (for instance Faculty of Political Science, Faculty of Philology, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality, Faculty of Maritime Studies, etc.) Although some high schools do recognize volunteering as important part of non-formal education, none of them has them as mandatory part of the curriculum.