Serbian Government
Belgrade, 17 November 2006

Serbian Minister of Education and Sport Slobodan Vuksanovic and Greek Ambassador to Serbia Christos Panagopoulos visited today “Sveti Sava” elementary school in Belgrade, where they promoted the pilot project of introducing Greek language as an additional optional subject.

Vuksanovic said on the occasion that “Sveti Sava” is just one school among many throughout Serbia, where due to major interest shown by parents, the project of introducing Greek language as an optional subject is being implemented.

He stated that it is more than just learning a foreign language because it links our country to various other countries, considering the fact that through learning a language students have a chance to learn about history and culture and make other connections, which is useful for children and adults.

The Minister pointed out that learning the language of a country also implies cooperation between schools, mutual excursions, easier nostrification of diplomas where secondary schools are concerned, and most importantly, the country whose language is in question helps in further education.

Panagopoulos said that the present pilot project should pave the way for learning the Greek language as an optional subject in Serbia, and added that he is surprised that children have displayed such great interest in learning Greek.

He said that there is no better way than learning a language to develop close and friendly relations between two countries, and it also promotes regional political, economic and cultural cooperation.

The Greek Ambassador confirmed that the Greek Ministry of Education is willing to provide children with textbooks and teaching aids.

The “Sveti Sava’ elementary school earlier introduced the Greek language as an optional subject at is own initiative, and some 20 students from the third to eighth grade attended the course, but due to lack of funds, the project was not continued during this school year.

Director of the school Vukosava Stanojevic pointed to the fact that owing to the pilot project of the Serbian government which was initiated by the Serbian Ministry of Education and Sport, some 70 students will learn the Greek language as an optional subject from the second half of the school year.

Serbian Assistant Minister of Education and Sport for international cooperation Vesna Fila explained that, if the joint commission of the two countries assesses at the end of the year that this pilot project was successful, it will be proposed that the Greek language is permanently included in the elementary education system of Serbia as an optional subject.

Minister Vuksanovic presented the school an icon of the Saint Sava, and the icon White Angel to Panagopoulos who promised the students that the most successful students of Greek language will be given an opportunity to visit Greece.

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