September 26, 2020 - Elementary and high school students in Montenegro should start the new school year on October 1, which will take place in conditions adapted to the current epidemiological situation. According to the Ministry of Education plan, students in the last three grades of primary and upper secondary school levels will attend classes entirely online, with the organization of examinations at the school. Students in other years will go to school in groups of a maximum of 15 children, with the obligatory wearing of protective masks. Is the decision discriminatory? And what impact will it have on children's psycho-social development at adolescence?
In general, the situation surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic has affected children in different ways, points out pedagogue Dr.Sci Jelena Perunovic Samardzic. In addition to the impact on education, there is also a broad impact on their mental health.
"The children have faced a lot. They've put up with isolation, with the story of the deadly virus, they're bombarded with these things every day, both through the media and from other sources on all sides - they are scared and confused. They've been taught to fear things, in a certain way. What is very unusual for them is that during the isolation, which is still present in a way, is that have been in far less contact with their peers, which leaves a mark on them, both in the socio-emotional and psychological sense. It was especially prevalent during the first wave of the epidemic. And yet it has an impact even now, assuming that we are socially responsible and teach our children such behavior. We have to change our habits and give children an example to follow so that they accept the new reality," says Dr. Perunovic Samardzic.
"I think we will have a problem now that the children need to go to kindergarten and school. School children will face the situation whereby they have to maintain physical distance and not have contact with their friends and teachers. When they are in groups, it will be difficult for them to adhere to the measures, and that will certainly affect them," says Dr. Perunovic Samardzic.
The Ministry of Education has presented the necessary recommendations for the organization of classes in the school year 2020/21. Following the personnel and space capacities, the administrations of each school in Montenegro will have to respond. The summer months were used to review European practices in the organization of online teaching and train 2,000 teachers from all over Montenegro, enabling a better quality of educational process in the coming period. However, the questions without answers do not only affect education and barriers of a technical nature. Seventh, eighth, and ninth-grade students are "condemned" to a lack of interaction with peers, which can have severe consequences for them.
"Online teaching is a useful tool, but I think it is not enough, and is certainly not the best way for students to acquire knowledge, especially when it comes to adolescents. In general, we know how much children at that age behave rebelliously towards imposed situations, so it won't be easy to get and keep their attention. Children at this age learn tolerance, empathy, experience the first disappointments, and fall in love for the first time. The fact that they will not go to school deprives them of a large part of the social space in which all this takes place."
Students in the most sensitive period are discriminated against compared with other children, by being completely denied school desks, and consequences for their psycho-social development can be expected.
"During distance learning, solidarity, empathy is lost; there is no socializing, no establishing new friendships. Therefore, there is no falling in love, which is an integral part of personality formation. Consequently, I think that this type of teaching is hazardous for the socialization of children and, in general, for their functioning later in life, "says Dr. Perunovic Samardzic.
In cooperation with the British Embassy in Montenegro, UNICEF conducted a survey questioning parents' opinions on whether children in the current situation should attend school in the classical way or online. More than 73 percent of parents believe that children should attend school regularly regardless of the epidemiological situation. Dr. Perunovic Samardzic believes their position is completely justified from the pedagogical point of view.
"There were several suggestions and possible models to organize classes. The Ministry of Education has decided on an organization that means that students in the last cycle of primary education, as well as upper grades of high school, attend school entirely online," says Dr. Perunovic Samardzic. As to whether there is a pedagogical justification for such a division of children by age, Dr. Perunovic Samardzic explained:
"I believe that children are discriminated against by age without any pedagogical justification. Especially because of the sensitivity of the age we are talking about and the importance of socialization during adolescence. There is no justification for leaving their developmental interests aside. As parents, and we will do it from the profession's perspective, we should appeal to the Ministry of Education to allow those children to attend classes according to the classical model as much as possible in the current epidemiological situation."
We must enable our children to function normally as far as is possible. Dr. Perunovic Samardzic concludes by emphasizing that the current situation is no excuse not to do our best to provide children with the best conditions for mental, physical, socio-emotional, and psychological development.
September 25, 2020 - The European Union (EU) recognizes Montenegro as a leader in the integration process, stated the Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Oana-Cristina Popa, stating that a significant proportion of the work has already been completed. Today, she was received by the President of the Assembly, Aleksa Becic, who said that he was satisfied with his first meeting with Popa after taking office.
Becic thanked her for the support that the EU has provided to Montenegro so far in the process of reforms and democratization, which, as he said, confirmed that the Western Balkans is still a major focus for the EU.
Becic emphasized that the EU's assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic was far greater than that provided by other international organizations.
"Having in mind the complex socio-economic and epidemiological situation, it is imperative that the new government is constituted as quickly and efficiently as possible." Significantly, minority parties supported my election, and I hope that they will be part of the new Government. Our common goal is to strengthen the civil state," Becic said.
He reiterated that the agreement signed by the representatives of the coalitions in the new parliamentary majority confirms that the new Government will be pro-Montenegrin, pro-European, pro-Western, civil, and conciliatory.
Becic mentioned that he would strengthen cooperation within NATO and accelerate European integration, which unites Montenegrin society.
He emphasized that the Assembly will remain open for project cooperation in the coming period, especially in supervisory and control roles, transparency, and efficiency.
Speaking about Chapters 23 and 24, Becic pointed out that stagnation in the integration process is not an option, that the new model of negotiations will give an additional boost to those who are efficient in implementing reforms, and that victory in the fight against organized crime and corruption is the only guarantee of a prosperous and stable Montenegro.
He pointed out that he sees the future of Montenegro and the Western Balkans as part of the EU and that this path has no alternative for the entire region.
Popa said that she was looking forward to excellent and efficient cooperation with Becic and the Assembly's new convocation to jointly lead Montenegro more swiftly towards EU membership.
Speaking about the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic, she emphasized that the EU has operational mechanisms to support Montenegro.
Popa said that the European Commission would publish two important documents on October 6 - the Enlargement Report for 2020 and the EU Investment Plan.
"The EU recognizes Montenegro as a leader in the integration process. A significant part of the work has already been done. That is why you have a great responsibility as a model for other countries in the region. The issue of integration of the Western Balkans countries is still on the table, and the European perspective is something we take very seriously," Popa emphasized.
She congratulated Becic on his election as President of the Montenegrin Parliament and said she was pleased with the peaceful transition of power.
September 25, 2020 - The National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases (NKT) has decided to follow the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro (IPH) and several municipal crisis headquarters' suggestions to start implementing new restrictive epidemiological measures depending on the epidemiological situation in each local area.
"According to the IPH methodology, the decisions on restrictive measures will be based on monitoring a fourteen-day cumulative incidence (CI). This rate and its movement, which in epidemiology is a measure of disease risk, is divided by the number of new COVID-19 cases per municipality and is expressed per 100,000 inhabitants," announced the NKT.
In local areas where the 14-day rate is less than 400, strict compliance and strict control of the implementation of valid epidemiological measures continue.
In local areas where the 14-day rate is between 400 and 799, in addition to the valid measures, NKT is to restrict the operation of catering facilities after 10 pm.
Limitations on the working conditions of catering facilities:
In local areas where the 14-day rate is between 800 and 1,199, alongside measures already in place:
The operation of catering facilities (restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, hotel restaurants) is prohibited, except for those provided for hotel guests;
Persons who are not members of a joint family household are forbidden from gathering in residential buildings.
In local areas where the 14-day rate is higher than 1,200, alongside measures already in place:
it is forbidden to leave the residential building from 22:00 to 05:00 with defined exceptions that were valid during the previous period: children with autism spectrum disorders; persons using wheelchairs accompanied by one person, for a maximum of 60 minutes a day, persons performing regular work tasks in activities permitted by orders, employees of foreign diplomatic and consular missions, persons providing services of public interest that are deemed indispensable (health, inspection bodies, police, army, security services, fire services, utilities, media - including guests on media shows, agricultural activities on farms, etc.), as evidenced by a certificate issued by the employer; those working for persons who due to illness, condition or consequence of injury are not able to independently perform daily activities - this should be proven by a certificate issued by the chosen doctor of such persons; and persons exercising pets, for a maximum of 60 minutes a day;
The operation of catering facilities (restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, hotel restaurants) is prohibited, except for those provided for hotel guests;
Visits to the homes of persons who are not members of the same household are prohibited.
NKT explained that the CI rate is determined by the IPH and is published on its website once a week, on Saturday mornings.
"The application of restrictions depending on the determined CI rate starts on the third day from the announcement of the specified rate, ie, on Mondays at 00:00. The decision on possible mitigation of measures is made automatically every 14 days, depending on the movement of grades. At the same time, analysis on tightening any restrictions is performed weekly in line with rate changes," the statement said.
According to current data, which does not include new cases that will be detected by the end of today, the strictest measures will be implemented following the situation in Niksic, Berane, and Andrijevica, starting on Monday.
The NKT stated that considering the epidemiological situation and conditions for the upcoming return to school, they have instructed the Ministry of Education to intensify activities and to review and determine all relevant parameters and inform the public in detail about all aspects of the beginning of the school year by next Monday (September 28, 2020).
"Competent inspection bodies, primarily the Sanitary and Health Inspectorate, are in charge of monitoring the fulfillment of conditions for regular teaching in the context of compliance with epidemiological measures by the beginning of the school year. To prevent the spread of coronavirus among children and students, the NKT has decided to change the appropriate order that the obligation to wear protective masks applies to children over five years old," stated the NKT.
Inspection bodies to closely monitor compliance with the measures
The NKT said that inspection bodies, both at the state and local level, were once again called upon to consistently and continuously monitor the implementation of valid epidemiological measures and regularly report to the public on these results.
September 24, 2020 - The epidemiological situation in Montenegro is becoming more complicated every day. The number of new cases of COVID-19 infection is not decreasing. On the contrary, the Institute of Public Health is registering nearly 300 new patients daily, and the problem is the local transmission.
The Institute of Public Health informed yesterday that out of 862 analyzed samples, they registered 290 new COVID-19 cases, and five patients died due to the infection. The day before, PCR analysis of 749 samples reported 296 new patients, and eight people died. There are currently 3549 COVID-19 cases active in Montenegro. Since the beginning of the first wave of the epidemic, the Institute reported 9428 patients.
Montenegro is still in first place in the region in terms of actively infected with COVID-19 per 100 thousand inhabitants - 563, and it has the most infected per million inhabitants - 14,965. With 45 per 100 thousand inhabitants, it also leads in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. In terms of mortality rate, Montenegro's situation, with a percentage of 1.6 percent concerning the number of infected, is the most favorable than the region's states.
"At the moment, the level of local transmission in our country is such that the import of cases from abroad does not represent a significant increase in the epidemiological risk of further spread of the infection," said the assistant director of the Institute of Public Health, Dr. Senad Begic.
"Therefore, it is not justified to expect that measures to ban international travel or a ban on arrivals from Serbia or other countries, will be introduced. Such actions would not affect, because they have no epidemiological meaning ", added Begić for the portal nova.rs.
"Following the experiences from the surrounding countries, Europe and the world and comparative practice, and especially following the available results of scientific studies, including those in the field of social sciences, it is clear that measures to close the country have long-term anti-epidemic effects. They also cause more significant damage to both the economy and many health aspects than the anti-epidemic actions currently in force. Therefore, it is clear and proven that simple measures- wearing masks, keeping physical distance, regular hand hygiene- not only give results but are also sustainable measures that enable society to function, "Begic said.
Closure of cities, restriction of the right of movement for the entire population, and other draconian measures are only the last resort to be resorted to when it is noticed that illness and hospitalization indicators threaten to endanger the normal functioning of society and the health system. For now, such drastic measures are being avoided in Montenegro.
"It is possible that in some cities we will shorten the working hours of catering facilities. Or, eventually, close them. But we hope that with adequate control and insisting on implementing general prevention measures and a high degree of social responsibility, we will be able to avoid this scenario," concluded Begic.
September 23, 2020 - Aleksa Becic, the coalition "Peace is our nation" leader, was elected today the new President of the Parliament of Montenegro, supported by 45 of 81 deputies. The positions within the new majority's coalition partners were harmonized, and a request was sent to the President of the state, Milo Đukanović, to appoint prof. Dr. Zdravko Krivokapic, leader of the coalition "For the Future of Montenegro," the new government's prime minister-designate.
The new Parliament's first session was chaired by the oldest member of the new convocation, Miodrag Lekic, and assisted by the youngest, Maksim Vucinic. Some members of the Democratic Front did not attend the intonation of the national anthem of Montenegro.
At the beginning of the first New Assembly session, the Democratic Front announced support to the Civic Movement URA's proposals. Aleksa Becic to be a candidate for President of the Assembly, and Dr. Zdravko Krivokapic for the position of prime minister-designate, about which they were at least undefined at the yesterdays meeting in the Ostrog Monastery.
"All election activities were conducted following the law. I thank everyone who participated in that. Representatives of international organizations monitored the elections and did not identify major irregularities. There were 35 accredited media," said the President of the State Election Commission Aleksa at the beginning of the session. Ivanovic, after which the mandates of 81 deputies were verified.
The Social Democrats and the Bosniak Party won three seats each, the SDP two, the Black and White four mandates. The Albanian Coalition unanimously one seat, the DPS 30, the For the Future of Montenegro coalition 27, the Albanian List one, and the "Peace is Our Nation" coalition ten.
Forty-five deputies from the coalitions "For the Future of Montenegro," "Peace is our nation," "Black on White," the Bosniak Party (BS), and Nik Djelosaj from the Albanian list voted for the election of Becic. Liberal Party MP Andrija Popovic was against, and MPs from the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), Social Democrats (SD), Social Democratic Party MP Draginja Vuksanovic Stankovic, and Albanian coalition "Unanimously" member Fatmir Djeka abstained.
The President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, who did not attend the first session of the Parliament in which DPS deputies sit in opposition benches for the first time, was sent a request today with the signatures of 41 deputies of the new parliamentary majority to appoint prof. Dr. Zdravko Krivokapić, the government's prime minister-designate.
The holder of the parliamentary list of the coalition "Peace is our nation," Aleksa Becic is the President of Democratic Montenegro, whose deputies boycotted the Montenegrin Parliament after the 2016 elections, demanding changes to the election law and other conditions for the democratization of the election process.
Aleksa Becic started his political career in the Socialist People's Party. He resigned with his supporters in 2015, initiating the Democrats' establishment, of which he has been President since the beginning.
The new President of the Parliament of Montenegro was born in Cetinje on August 4, 1987. After primary and secondary school in Podgorica, he graduated from the Faculty of Economics in July 2010. He received his master's degree from the same faculty in March 2014, majoring in Accounting and Auditing.
In his first address after he is appointed President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Aleksa Becic said that he would "perform his duty according to the Constitution and the law, honestly, responsibly and conscientiously."
He also pointed out that it is an indescribable part and privilege to be elected President of the highest legislative and representative house, and at the same time, to be the first elected public official after the first democratic change of government in Montenegrin history.
"Gratitude for the election to colleagues from coalitions. Special gratitude to colleagues from minority parties, the Bosniak Party and the Albanian Electoral List, for their support and trust. Those who did not vote for me should know that I will fight for them even more. I will not attack, criticize, or declare them opponents of the state. I want the opposition to have a better status than we had," Becic said.
He added that without a quality opposition, there is no parliamentary democracy, saying that his main goal will be to strengthen the Parliament's control role.
"Parliament is the roof of Montenegro, and no one should endanger it. The argument in Parliament will be replaced by tolerance and dialogue. We must respect each other even when we disagree and look to the future."
Becic added that Montenegro must win the war on organized crime.
"Parliament must also strive to reform the electoral legislation so that Montenegro enters the election game in which everyone starts from scratch, and so that every next game would be a true celebration of democracy."
September 18, 2020 - Organized by the Sports and Fishing Club Galeb from Tivat, on Sunday, September 20, the State Championship in Spearfishing will be held, which will gather about 15 most promising competitors from all Montenegrin clubs.
The sports part of the competition will be held on the open sea, from Dobreč Bay to Zagorski Pijesak beach in Donji Grbalj. At the same time, the host of the spearfishing championship is the Ribarsko Selo restaurant in Žanjic Bay.
Underwater fishers from six Montenegrin clubs will take part in the competition. In addition to the hosts, there will be divers from Sports and Fishing Club Deep Blue from Podgorica, Tuna from Budva, Mamula Herceg Novi, Sports and Fishing Club Neptun Ulcinj and Free Divers Bar. They go out to sea with an escort, each in their boat. From 9 to 12.30, when the competition is planned to end, the competitors will dive for their catch up to 200 times. According to the president of Sports and Fishing Club Galeb, Nikša Miljanić, the average depth at which the competitors will hunt is about 20 meters. On this occasion, they will dominantly apply the so-called technique "on the hole," going back to catch the fish hidden in the holes on the sea bottom.
Although the Tivat club organizes the spearfishing championship, it was decided not to dive in the waters of the bay.
"The largest part of the Boka Kotorska submarine is a protected zone in which underwater activities are not allowed. We want to promote a responsible attitude towards nature and our beautiful bay, which is why we decided to hold the spearfishing championship on the high seas. "
Nikša dives for breath and at depths greater than 40 meters. He has been practising this demanding sport since his earliest childhood, thanks to older family members who introduced him to spearfishing very early on. For the last 15 years, he is very active sportsman in spearfishing, in the previous two years trying to help the development of this sport in Tivat by organizing and promoting a local club.
One of the goals of this competition is to contribute to the formation of the Montenegrin Association for Underwater Sport Fishing, which would enable our competitors to perform at international competitions defending the colours of their country. For now, our competitors go to cups and championships individually, representing only the names of their clubs.
Until the formation of such an association, underwater fishers represent the section of the Association for Sport Fishing, so a delegate, Vladimir Vukovic, is coming to the State Championship. Miljanic points out the support of the Sports and Fishing Club Pagar from Tivat, whose president, Tonci Jandric, will judge Sunday's competition.
"This is another successful Tivat story, for which I must thank our faithful friends from Pagar. But also to local people in the business. Besides Ribarsko Selo, with us are the tavern Mala Barka, Montefish, UNA Montenegro, Majestic. But even many other individuals who helped us get the opportunity to host our colleagues from other Montenegrin clubs, "says Nikša Miljanić, President of Sports and Fishing Club Galeb from Tivat.
September 17, 2020 - Local transmission of COVID-19 infection in Montenegro is not waning. After yesterday's 230 new cases, the Institute of Public Health registered another 212 new COVID-19 patients today. In the last two days, six people have died as a result of coronavirus infection. Currently, 2482 cases of COVID-19 are active in Montenegro.
The National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases (NKT) has decided not to introduce new epidemiological rules for the time being, but to initiate additional mechanisms of the strictest control of compliance with the already prescribed counter- COVID-19 measures. Also, the NKT decided to provide direct professional assistance to medical institutions in municipalities with a high level of local coronavirus transmission.
"Competent inspection bodies at the state and local level are obliged to start all available human and technical capacities immediately. All inspection services are engaged in one task: control of compliance with epidemiological measures and sanctioning violations of regulations."
The NKT requires the competent inspection bodies at the state and local level the highest possible efficiency and concrete results immediately.
The National Coordination Body has decided to send members of the Crisis Medical Staff to all municipalities, and first to those that are most endangered by the level of local transmission, to provide professional assistance to health institutions. "
They appealed to the citizens to respect epidemiological measures - first of all, to wear protective masks on every prescribed occasion and to keep physical distance, as well as to practice hand hygiene as often as possible.
"The increase in local transmission must be stopped before the start of the school year, which in itself poses an additional epidemiological challenge. An alternative to insufficient compliance is further restrictions. The only way to avoid this is to discipline each individual."
Epidemiologist and president of the Union of Medical Doctors of Montenegro, Milena Popović Samardžić, said that the epidemiological situation in Montenegro is becoming more complex, going according to an ugly scenario. Still, if we adhere to the measures in force, the problem could improve in two months.
"It's as if there is no National Coordination Body, institutions, as if everything is frozen, that's my feeling. We all need to ask ourselves what we can do to make this situation better, starting with the institutions. The simplest and most effective way to fight COVID-19 is to wear a mask. If we follow all the recommendations, we should improve the situation for two months ", said Dr Popović Samardžić as a guest in "Boje Jutra" on TV Vijesti.
Due to the growing number of sick and hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the doctor points out that it is necessary to introduce more drastic measures as soon as possible.
"We have to close catering facilities, gyms, casinos, to control the public gathering of young people. I ask people to wear masks indoors to make a distance. Young people bring the virus home ", said Dr Popović Samardžić, reports the Vijesti portal.
The epidemiologist points out that it is necessary to create an expert council as soon as possible that knows the strategy, a body that citizens will trust.
Dr Popović Samardžić says that there is no communication between health workers, that the Institute of Public Health keeps information to itself, and that she does not know all the COVID-19 cases in Cetinje where she works as an epidemiologist.
She points out that the strategy must be testing, looking for contacts of patients, isolation.
Dr Popović Samardđić believes that microbiologists are not sufficiently involved in the work, that they only need support in the technical sense, to be able to help their colleagues.