Generation of a Special State Concern: Portraying educational and job search experiences of youth in Vukovar-Syrmium County
After more than ten years of promoting intercultural education in Vukovar-Syrmium County in Eastern Croatia, Nansen Dialogue Center Osijek decided to explore what is happening with the young people in this County once they exit the education system and enter the labor market. Thinking about this task in the context of the recent history of the County and ethnically divided categories in which the everyday life sphere functions, portraying the educational and job search experiences of young people become complex. In a situation where, within the education system, there is little space (in temporal, spatial and symbolic sense) provided for joint learning and growing up, we posed broader questions – what is the interaction between schooling in Serbian language and the employment possibilities of Serbian minority youth in Vukovar-Syrmium County?; what are job search experiences of Serbian minority youth educated in Serbian language program in comparison to their peers educated in Croatian language program?; and what are the important factors for getting employment that are identified by the young people in Vukovar-Syrmium?
In order to explore the answers to this question, we have decided to conduct a small-scale qualitative research – using the methods of literature review, interviews with experts and practitioners and, finally, and interviews with young individuals who have entered the labor market, but who have different educational experiences in terms of language of schooling. The research resulted in a broad portray of the County seen through the eyes of those on whom the community one day will depend on – youth. On the other hand, within the County, this research is mainly focused on the town of Vukovar due to the significant number of members of Serbian minority and interethnic divide And despite of the political, societal and historical factors of divide, it seems that young people in Vukovar share some similar views on the context and dynamics of relations in which they live, as well as the vision of the future and the interests.