Students spending lockdown in extra-curricular classes in North Macedonia

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Students spending lockdown in extra-curricular classes in North Macedonia

May 11th, 2020

In April 2020 almost 200 students in North Macedonia logged in to online sessions empowering them be active members of the academic community and society. Due to the measures to protect against COVID-19 in the country, students were among the first groups to change their lives with the closing down of schools and universities mid-March. Teaching and learning moved online, proving difficult for both students and professors. In this setting, extracurricular content dedicated to the students’ personal growth and development is almost non-existent.

Young people in North Macedonia will not be spared from the effects of the health and economic crisis. Students are facing the challenge of improvised online learning and being isolated from their peers. Youth with an already high unemployment rate are expected to drop even lower on the ladder of employability. Those who are employed are frequently exposed to abuse of workers’ rights. Prolonged isolation is starting to show its negative effect on mental health and psychological wellbeing. This can result in disappointment, revolt or apathy.

So, WFD and our partner organization Youth Educational Forum launched a series of online workshops titled “The New Everyday Life for Students” aiming to help students learn and stay well during the pandemic.

The first two workshops were a success, with students showing enthusiasm and interest in the topics. Psychologist Ana Poprizova held a workshop on Psychological and Emotional Fitness, providing a safe space to talk about the mental implications of the crisis, prolonged isolation and fear and concerns about the pandemic. Students got tips on how to deal with their changing environment – with many of them having moved back home – as well as the pressures (and the inability) to stay productive and the stigma attached to talking about emotional wellbeing in their communities.  

Professor Ivan Damjanovski hosted a workshop on Academic writing, a topic unfortunately not present as a subject at most faculties and a skill most students are not supported to develop. The workshop was created to help and motivate students to use the lockdown to work on their academic papers.

Several more lectures will follow to support students learning and well-being during curfew. In the May 2020 and beyond, they will attend lectures on topics such as: how to manage personal savings in a time of crisis, the impact of a pandemic on global democracy, the role of technology and the planning of public spaces in a post-COVID world.

These workshops are a small step to address some of these issues that are anticipated, create a safe space for discussion and learning and support the wellbeing of youth in North Macedonia.

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