“I was climbing a mountain and I barely managed to do it. Just as I reached the top, I noticed another top that I had to conquer. I continued climbing and finally reached the end.” - My father would tell me this dream again and again.
I am Biljana Dabeska and even though I graduated in Public Administration and obtained a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy, I searched for a job for many years and couldn’t find one. As I was getting more and more disappointed, at one point I decided to move and work in the USA. But soon after I realised that I wanted to go back to my birth place, to try and build a career there and make a contribution to my country and society.
My father worked at the Workers University “Brakja Miladinovci” in Gostivar his entire life. He would say - “My dear daughter, you have brought me the greatest happiness in this world – on the very same day when you were born, I was invited to work at the Workers’ University”.
One day he told me that a very good project, funded by the EU, is about to be launched, titled Enhancing Lifelong Learning through Modernising the Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education Systems, implemented by the British Council, DVV International and the Lifelong Learning Centre. One of the goals of the project was to help the worker’s universities modernise and update their working methods to meet the current demands of the labour market. I realised that my true vocation was in the area of lifelong learning, so I followed my father’s footsteps and even though I was inexperienced, I got involved in the project’s activities and attended every training and every workshop from the very beginning.
Unfortunately, in that time my father’s health got worsened, and as I was struggling with his illness, I had to build up the strength to continue to follow my determination and attend the trainings. The project and the team of experts that implemented it, have opened new horizons for my future. They helped me understand the importance of the Workers’ Universities, as well as my need to continue learning and becoming better and better in my area of work.
In the course of the project, I had the opportunity to be trained to become a professional adult trainer, for which I obtained a verified certificate. I also learned about management of adult education organisations, methodology and didactics, as well as about monitoring and lifelong learning evaluation skills. During the trainings I met representatives of worker’s universities from around the country, representatives of the business sector and the local self-government, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science and the Adult Education Centre, and I realised how important it is for everyone, from each of the above mentioned sectors, to work together to achieve the shared goal – strong and results oriented lifelong learning system.
The undertakings of the project were so creative and inspiring, that made a complete change in my life and my career. Despite having a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy, I decided to continue my education in the area of adult education; thence, I enrolled for a second round of post-graduate studies at the Faculty of Philosophy, the Andragogy Department.
I lost my father in September of last year. But, I was fit to fill in his shoes and applied for a position at the Workers’ University “Brakja Miladinovci” in Gostivar. I know he would be very proud of me.
The Workers’ University “Brakja Miladinovci” was established under the Decision of the People’s Board of the Municipality of Gostivar in 1960. In accordance with the Law on Open Civic Universities, on 11 of May 2017, it was transformed into Open Civic University for Lifelong Learning “Gostivar” and thus it became a public municipal institution. The scope of work of the University comprises the formal and non-formal education of youth and adults. The various project components enabled the strengthening of OCULL “Gostivar” by means of trainings aimed at acquiring knowledge and skills for various profiles of employees in the institution.
From the very re-registration of the university, we have completely renovated it with modern instruction tools, e-schoolbooks, e-boards, a library with foreign literature, etc. We also began preparing special adult education programmes, whereby we accomplished four solutions for verified programmes, and now we offer certified courses for: Pastry chef, Hairdresser, Drywall-installer and Basic apparel designs and bedding maker.
I would like to take this opportunity to extent my utmost gratitude to the project team for their support and help in continuing my father’s dream and for providing me with a possibility for professional improvement so that I could do my best for the OCULL “Gostivar”, as well as for all the citizens of Gostivar and the surrounding areas.
“One learns as long as one lives, or one lives as long as one learns” – Stane Dabeski, my father said.
Ms. Biljana Dabeska
Open Civic University for Lifelong Learning “Gostivar”