Students in Stavropol used movie making to put there own issues on the agenda

Setting the agenda with movie making

Students in the Russian city of Stavropol are setting their own agenda through making movies about issues that concern them.

Eight schools in Stavropol joined forces with the 45th Parallel Film Studio, Peace Foundation in the South and North Caucasus and North Caucasus Federal University. Their aim was to identify youth’s needs, present the most pressing issues to the public through short documentaries and finally to find ways to address these issues together with school administration, teachers, parents and the local community.

Opinion polling revealed the following problems the young people were most concerned about:

  • How to overcome the generation gap and lack of understanding
  • How to respect and defend human rights
  • How to choose a profession
  • How to improve the public health and fight alcohol, drug and cigarette addiction.

“Around 250 students helped make documentaries that addressed these issues. The movies were shown at 22 screenings at 22 schools in Stavropol followed by discussions. In this way the project reached more than 3000 students, parents, school administration and teachers as well as local NGO representatives”, Iryna Sabor, advisor at the European Wergeland Centre (EWC), said.

The project was one of 17 carried out within the 3-year educational program “Promotion of Civic Education in the regions of the Russian Federation 2013-2015” implemented by the EWC and the Moscow School of Civic Education, supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The biggest challenge the students faced was to advance from the identification of the problems they faced, to propose possible solutions. According to local education experts in Stavropol, school students were lacking experience of participation in the local public life, the main obstacle being lack of institutional organization of student initiatives. The project leaders helped the students overcome the barrier of passive criticism and move to taking action.

As the head of the 45th Parallel Film Studio Olga Krivulina said:

“The project gave the school students the feeling that making a difference is possible”.

Synopsis Film #3: Students' rights at school:

Masha, a student -You have to know your rights in order to stand up for them. There are many tricky situations at school demanding your knowledge of your rights.

-Situation1. What to do if there is a conflict between you and your teacher? What do you do if your teacher was disrespectful and rude to you?

Convention on Children's Rights says, that states have to take all the necessary measures to provide for a respectful environment at school.

-Situation 2. Can your school administration or teachers make you clean up at school?

According to the Law on Education of the Russian Federation, any kind of physical activities beyond the school academic program is not allowed at school.

-Situation 3. You broke your leg at school, if you came there beyond your regular school hours. Is the school administration responsible for what has happened to you?

The school administration takes all the responsibility for your safety during regular school hours. But if you showed up at school beyond those hours, during your free time or a day off, the school administration is not responsible for anything that might happen to you.

-Situation 4. Your director wants to expell you from your school. Does he have the right to do that?

You may be expelled from school only after turning 14, and only if you committed a crime or repeatedly broke the school rules (Law on Education of the Russian Federation).

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