Motive for Social Justice and Macedonian Students Activism
Eleonora Serafimovska, PhD,
Senior research Associate
University Ss.Cyril and Methodius
Institute for Sociological, Political and Juridical research
Marijana Markovikj, PhD,
Senior research Associate
University Ss.Cyril and Methodius
Institute for Sociological, Political and Juridical research
Education is one of the major agents of the democracy, so opportunities of students to be proactive on problems that matter to them at some point in their lives are the heart of that agent. Student organizations exist and should exist to protect the rights and interests of their members. Therefore, if they are organized into representative student governments, students can be a very influential agent who shapes the policy of higher education, and build themselves as democratic force in society.
The interest of this research is to put motive for social justice in the context of student activism, which is understood broadly as civic activism.
The Institute for Sociological, Political and Juridical Research (ISPJR) – Skopje in May 2017 conducted research on 669 students from the State University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius). The research was conducted with quota sample in the first phase and convenience sampling in the second. The measuring instruments used included Questionnaire with 25 questions designed for the purpose of the research to examine students’ attitude toward their organization and Subscale for Social Justice Motive, part of the Moralism Scale (Sheikh, 2014).
The data show several important findings: on the motivation scale for social justice UCIM students show that although they have a tendency to behave in a socially desirable and moral way, they still do not adopt the concept of social responsibility; personal motivation according to them is the main reason for them to be involved in a formal association such as the student organization and because of that most of the students are not involved neither in the activities of the Student Organization, nor in the selection and operation of its bodies/organs; most of the students are uninformed about all events and activities related to the work of their representative organization and as the biggest obstacles for entering the decision-making process they indicate internal factors like lack of interest and the ignorance about the possibilities and ways of acting.
Key words: Student activism, Student Organization, Motive for Social Justice, Social Responsibility
In the most general and broadest sense, student activism or movements is student’s involvement in processes with the purpose, desire and need for restricted or wider political, economic, or social change. Students, and youths in general have been involved in protests and movements for hundreds of years, organizing their peers and communities for progressive social change in a variety of areas around the world (Fletcher, 2005; Atlanic, 2015).
Student activism is also a highly complex, multi-faceted phenomenon (Altabach, 1989 according Moyo, 2018), so modern student activist movements vary widely in subject, size, and success, with all kinds of students in all kinds of educational settings, and all races, socio-economic backgrounds, and political perspectives (Revoly, Atlantic International University). There are many examples which clearly illustrate that youth voice is not just for middle-class white teens (Fletcher, 2006). And more broadly, a variety of global youth movements are coalescing to create a worldwide youth movement, built around information technology, political and social action, and other platforms (Fletcher, 2005).
Education is the great engine of our democracy, and the fuel for that engine is the opportunities students have to engage in activism on issues that are important to them. It is the job of adult allies to nurture and support students in this endeavor (Department of Education, us n.d.).
Student organizations represent only one kind, more precisely a segment of student activism and student organization whose primary goal is to represent and defend the interests of the collective student body (Duke Law, n.d.).
In the same broadest sense, social justice is distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society (Social Justice, n.d.), and can be broadly understood as the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth (The International Forum for Social Development, 2006). The concept, no matter scientific aspect always include relations between individual and society; always refers to the overall fairness of a society in its divisions and distributions of rewards and burdens (Sociology Guide, n.d); always means respect the human rights, recognizes the dignity of every human being, and is based on the principles of equality and solidarity (Zajda et all, 2006); always encompasses economic justice and imposes on each of us a personal responsibility to collaborate with others (CESJ, n.d.).
Today social justice is been seeking through the process of globalization (Kitching, 2001), although the question: Social Justice and Globalization: Are they Compatible? is still relevant (Gindin, 2002).
The application of social justice requires a geographical, sociological, political and cultural framework within which relations between individuals and groups can be understood, assessed, and characterized as just or unjust. In that sense, the country typically represents the context and framework in which various aspects of social justice are observed, measured and discussed (The International Forum for Social Development, 2006).
This concept of social justice also seek for interdisciplinary interests and expertise, and what is most important without cross-disciplinary work, many of the central problems in this concept of social justice can hardly be addressed (Banai et all, 2011).
By the 1970s, considerable evidence pointed to a “justice motive” as a distinct source of motivation and influence in people’s lives. Approximately 30 years later, however, in spite of the rather auspicious beginning, and after a considerable amount of published research, the general consensus is that people’s desire for justice is neither distinct from self-interest nor of great motivational importance. Most contemporary social psychologists assume that people employ justice as a personal and social device to promote their acquisition of commonly desired resources. The authors of equity theory anticipated that conclusion when they proposed: “So long as individuals perceive that they can maximize their outcomes by behaving equitably, they will do so. Should they perceive that they can maximize their outcomes by behaving inequitably, they will do so” (Lerner, 2003).
The interest of this research is to put motive for social justice in the context of student activism, which is understood broadly as civic activism. Therefore, since civic engagement is important for the individual and the communal well-being (Hope and Jagers, 2014), since civic engagement maintains the viability of democratic society and promotes positive outcomes for those who participate, and since there is a relationship between socio-political beliefs and some forms of civic engagement (Moore, Hope, Eisman, and Zimmerman, 2016), the focus was placed on the relationship between social justice motive and involvement of students in their students organization in Republic of Macedonia.
The Institute for Sociological, Political and Juridical Research (ISPJR) – Skopje in May 2017 conducted research on 669 students from the State University “Ss Cyril and Methodius” (UCIM). The research was conducted with quota sample in the first phase and convenience sampling in the second. Male students were 33.2% and female were 61.8%. The measuring instruments used included Questionnaire with 25 questions designed for the purpose of the research to examine students’ attitude toward their organization and Subscale for Social Justice Motive, part of the Moralism Scale (Sheikh, 2014). The research team was interdisciplinary and consisted of 6 researchers. This research was part of the broader project entitled “UCIM Students Perception of Their Organization and Representation”. This University-funded project was intended to hear students’ thoughts on current situations, problems, needs, as well as modalities and solutions related to student organization in UCIM.
Motive for social justice as part of moral motivation
An essential distinction in motivation is the distinction between two tendencies: the tendency of approach and the tendency of avoidance; in the motivation of approach, behavior is directed by a positive or desirable event or outcome, while in the motivation for avoidance, behavior is directed by a negative or unwanted event or outcome.
Positive outcomes in the domain of morality are those moral behaviors that an individual should apply, while negative outcomes are immoral behaviors that the individual should not apply. The key to self-regulation is to activate positive, moral behaviors – to do what is moral, despite the inhibition of negative, immoral behaviors – not to do what is immoral. If an individual has self-regulation, then he/she will be motivated to behave morally, and he/she will avoid being immoral. (Janoff-Bulman and Sheikh, 2006).The next distinction in motivation is the distinction between the self and the others, more precisely, personal and social responsibility. Individuals who have perceived the concept of responsibility will be able to understand which behavior means personal responsibility, and which social responsibility.
By combining these two concepts: the concept of self-regulation and the concept of responsibility we come to the 2 x 2 Model of Moral Motivation, which consists of 4 cells that are referred to as: Self-Restraint, Self-Reliance, Social Order, and Social Justice. Although all these four motives are present to some degree in the moral system of each individual, the unique socializing history and life experience created a greater focus on one or more motives in each individual.
Graph no.1 2 x 2 Model of moral motivation
Self-Restraint and Self-Reliance reflect the differences between the self-regulation orientations of activation and the inhibition in the domain of personal responsibility, whereas Social Order and Social Justice represent these regulatory orientations in the realm of social responsibility.
The Self-Restraint motive can be best understood in terms of general self-protection, and in particular, as self-control and restraint in the face of threatening temptations. Reliance is essentially a matter of providing for the self; the focus is on one’s own advancement and achievement – positive outcomes – and involves willingness to depend on the self, as well as a sense of personal industry.
In the social responsibility domain, the Social Order motive involves the application of restraint motives to other people, particularly one’s larger community. Given that the focus is on preventing and avoiding dangers in the moral realm, this protect-based, social responsibility orientation involves the desire to restrain and control others’ behaviors in an effort to maximize a sense of security through homogeneity and conformity. Attunement to negative outcomes creates a need for explicit boundaries for right and wrong, and for knowing what is not permitted or acceptable, so that it can be avoided and dangerous consequences averted. To some extent, virtually all members of a community invoke Social Order, for we have societal rules all are expected to follow (e.g., criminal law).
The Social Justice motive involves a very different set of communal obligations involving the motivation to provide for others and to help others in the community advance, and is associated with efforts to insure greater economic and material support, often involving matters of opportunity, income and equity.
Moral behavior from a Social Justice perspective is equivalent to contributing to the social welfare of others, and individuals expect to be rewarded for good behavior, but do not expect to be punished in the absence of this behavior. In contrast to the Social Order motive, Social Justice is associated with political liberalism and low scores on right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance (Janoff-Bulman and Sheikh, 2006; Janoff-Bulman, 2009). Both involve beliefs in social responsibility; however, Social Order is focused primarily on what we should not do and inhibitory behaviors so as to maintain a moral, ordered community, whereas Social Justice focuses primarily on what we should do and activation behaviors in promoting a moral, just society. It was this motive that was the subject of analysis in this research, because we believe that this motive should be associated with students’ activism, or more precisely, students’ active participation in their organization.
Student activism at the university level
One of the dimensions of student activism is that at university level and this kind of activism is nearly as old as the university itself (Revoly, Atlantic International University). The first breakthroughs in student organization can be perceived in the Middle Ages when the University of Bologna developed a model of “University of Students”, where students organized in the so-called guilds (Klemen?i?, 2012) had control over their studies. There was a “rector student” who together with the pro-rectors decided on the level of fees, sanctions for professors who had not completed their duties on time such as disregarding the lectures timetable (Živkovi?, Mirchevska, Galevski, Božovi?, and Aleksoski, 2015).
This demonstrates that students have been fighting for student organization hundreds of years ago, participating in decision making and advocating for their rights. In XIX and XX century, student movements became more frequent and they were an expression of student autonomous critical thought, which meant interest in issues of political and social-economic character. Many of these student movements merged into formal student organizations later, including parliaments. Today some of them represent a symbol of student organization with the main goal of struggle for defending, protecting and expanding students’ rights and interests (Youth Educational Forum, 2016).
As a member of the academic community, today the student has the opportunity to be active and participate in all governing bodies of the University and be responsible for making decisions on important matters in higher education, such as curriculums, financing, research projects, etc. Students should be relevant partners in the academic community and with their constructive ideas and solutions contribute to the promotion of the higher education institution and the University in accordance with the Bologna Declaration. With the help of student organization, the student develops a critical and democratic thought; he is better aware of the democratic mechanisms and thus forms himself as an active and responsible citizen of his own country (Youth Educational Forum, 2016).
There are many modalities of student participation and many arguments why the inclusion of students in management is justified (Luescher-Mamshela, 2011), but regardless of their versatility and number and systematization in different ways, nevertheless the ultimate goal of student participation in the decision-making processes through the student organization should be the influence in making decisions primarily on issues and topics of their interest, that is, influence in the process of creating University policies (Youth Educational Forum, 2014).
If one starts from the fact that the essence of developing democracy is the increasing participation of citizens in the decision-making processes at all levels (Council of Europe, n.d.), then it can be said, or more precisely, the current research indicates that we are in a period of crisis of participation (Saurugger, 2004), including that of the young (Bruter, 2016) and more specifically, of students (Boland, 2010).
Research on student participation in decision-making processes in Macedonia is part of the research of more general youth participation in decision-making processes (the research that has been done in the previous period mostly covers people aged between 15 and 24), youth activism in the Republic Macedonia, and more specifically, student organization (as a specific form of association of young people in order to achieve concrete influence during the student period (Youth Educational Forum, 2014).
And, since student organization is important for the democratic processes in the country, the research interest moved around the questions: “How many students are involved in the activities of the student organization (work of bodies/commissions, participation in elections)?” and “How developed is the motive of social justice of students and how is it related to the involvement, the inclusion of students in the student organization? Moreover, the assumption moves towards the motive for social justice as a predictor of the participation in the student organization.
This research used the Subscale for Social Justice Motive as part of Moralism Scale. Moralism Scale is a 24-item scale that incorporates items representing each of the four cells of the proposed model of moral motivations: Self-Restraint, Self-Reliance, Social Order and Social Justice (see Graph.1). Each item consists of a scenario in which the target person decides whether to engage in a particular behavior. Participants are asked to make two types of ratings: first, they rate the extent to which they view the scenario to be a matter of personal preference, from 1 (“not at all a matter of personal preference”) to 9 (“completely a matter of personal preference”). Second, participants rate the extent to which they believe the subject in the scenario should or should not perform the behavior, from 1 (“feel very strongly he/she should not”) to 9 (“feel very strongly he/she should”), where 5 is the midpoint (“neutral”). These are called the Moralism Preference subscale and the Moralism Evaluation subscale, respectively. Since we predict that the motive for social justice is the one in relation with student’s activism, we extract only those 6 scenarios which examine what we should do and activation behaviors in promoting a moral, just society.
The questionnaire on student activism (which was actually part of a larger questionnaire on students’ perceptions of student organization), more precisely the involvement in the Student Organization at the University “Ss Cyril and Methodius”, consisted of 18 questions distributed in areas, with the first area referring to the participation of students in the activities and bodies of the Student Organization, the second area referring to the reasons for activity, i.e. inactivity of students, and the third one concerning the perception by students of the ways, possibilities and obstacles for student participation in the Student Organization. The first area covered questions about participation (inclusion) of students in the activities organized by the Student Parliament of the Faculty (SPF) or the Student Parliament of UCIM (SPUCIM), participation in the work of some SPF or SPUCIM body, participation in voting for representatives in SPF, participation in SPF and SPUCIM presidential polls, addressing of students to SPF or SPUCIM representatives regarding some problem or issue of interest to students, participation in other formal or informal domestic and international student associations.
The results on the Scale for the Social Justice Motive are shown in the following table.
Table no.1 Descriptive analysis of Moralism Preference subscale and the Moralism Evaluation subscale
As it can be seen from Table no.1, the theoretical and the obtained range of the sum of scale which presents the first type of ratings about the matter of personal preference (Moralism Preference) is from 6 to 54, and M is 46.16; the theoretical and the obtained range of the sum of second type of rating (Moralism Evaluation) is from 6 to 54, and the arithmetic mean is 38.58. If the theoretical mean is 30, than it can be seen that in both ratings the respondents are above that score, and the first rating (about the extent to which a person views the scenario to be a matter of personal preference) is more extreme.
The Cronbach Alpha coefficient for the first type of ratings (Moralism Preference) was 0.846, and the Cronbach coefficient for the second ratings was 0.701.
This is the graphical presentation of the theoretical model of Social Justice coordinate system.
Graph no.2 Graphical presentation of for social justice motive
Since the respondents first rate the extent to which they view the scenario to be a matter of personal preference (from “not at all a matter of personal preference” to “completely a matter of personal preference”), the horizontal axis divides the respondents into those on the left side (up and down) who understand the social responsibility and those on the right side of the coordinate system (up and down) who do not understand social responsibility. Afterwards the respondents rate the extent to which they believe the subject in the scenario should or should not perform the behavior, (from “feel very strongly he/she should not” to “feel very strongly he/she should”), so that the vertical axis divides the respondents into those who are below (left and right) and who haven’t got a tendency to do what is good and socially desirable and those who are above (left and right) who do have a tendency to do what is good and sociallydesirable.
According to this coordinate system, the desirable moral motivation is placed on the left upper side, which presents people who have a tendency to do what is good and socially desirable and they understand the concept of social responsibility (they know that their action affects the other). But where are UCIM students positioned on this coordinate system?
Graph no.3 Score distribution on Moral Justice subscaleAs can it be seen from this graph, the respondents are grouped in the right upper side, which is the place for those who do have a tendency to do what is good and socially desirable, but they still do not understand the concept of social responsibility, and think that doing things, such as giving charity or helping the old lady in the supermarket, is a matter a personal preferencGraph no.4 Frequencies and percentages of respondents in the coordinate system
Graph no. 4 again presents the fact that majority of students belong in the right upper corner. However, this graph illustrates another important fact – more than a quarter of students are in the neutral zone, zone somewhat in the middle of the coordinate system, zone with no extreme preferences and attitudes.
Student involvement in a student organization
As regards the participation (inclusion) of students in the Student Organization, or, more specifically, the first area regarding the participation of students in the activities and bodies of the Student Organization and how much this involvement is determined by the Moralism Preference and Moralism Evaluation, the following results were obtained.
Table no.2 Beta value of how strongly each predictor variable influences the student’s behaviors
The Moralism Preference dimension is a predictor of student participation in the work of some of the SPF bodies, addressing of students to SPF representatives about a problem or a matter of interest to students, as well as membership in informal associations of students, however not in the foreseen direction. Namely, it was assumed that individuals who understand the concept of social responsibility are more likely to pursue and be involved in the Student Organization and thus contribute to the realization of the rights of all students. But the data show exactly the opposite: individuals who do not have completely adopt the concept of social responsibility for certain procedures and are more self-oriented than others – are more active and involved in the Student Organization.
As for the dimension Moralism Evaluation, it can be said that it is the predictor of voting for the SPF representatives, the students’ addressing to SPF representatives regarding a problem or a matter of interest to students, and membership in other formal associations of students from UCIM. In addition, the desire to do what is socially desirable is a predictor of the vote for representatives in the SPF, while the absence of such an aspiration is a predictor of students’ addressing to SPF representatives, as well as a predictor of membership in some other formal home-based student organizations, outside the formal Sudden organization at UCIM.
Reasons for participation and non-participation
In the research, apart from the participation or non-participation of the students, it was interesting to see the reasons students indicate for non-participation, as well as participation in the Student Organization, and what is their relation to the two dimensions of the motive for social justice separately.
Table no. 3 Beta value of how strongly each predictor variable influences the student’s reasons for non-participation
If we disregard the percentage of students who didn’t have a student status when elections were held, then it is clear that the main reason for not voting is the lack of information on the election date. Students simply did not have information on when specific elections took place. But it is interesting to see how the two detereminant of the social justice motive separately is related to certain reasons. Individuals who understand the concept of social responsibility will be those who do not want to go to the polls because they think they will change nothing. Students who do not have the tendency to do what is socially desirable and morally expected are the same people who knew that they would not vote even if they knew there would be voting. Lastly, it is also expected that those students with a tendency to behave in a socially desirable manner are those who would vote if they knew about the voting.
The table below presents the main reasons for participating in the Student Organization. It shows clearly what reasons the students point to.
Table no.4 Beta value of how strongly the predictor variable influences the student’s perception of student’s participation
Students from UCIM think that personal motivation is the main reason for their participation in the decision-making processes on issues important for student life, followed by the manner in which they are organized, as well as the party affiliation. Regarding whether the dimensions of the motive of social justice determine the perception of the reasons for participation in the Student Organization, it can be said that only the dimension of Moral Preference is related, and only when it comes to personal motivation as a reason for participation. Namely, as expected, those students who have not adopted the concept of social responsibility will more often emphasize personal motivation as the main reason for participation in the Student Organization.
Obstacles, ways and opportunities for participation
In this part concerning the perception of students about the ways, opportunities and obstacles for participation in the Student Organization, several questions were posed. The first concerned the students’ perception of the legal possibility of starting student initiatives, petitions and requests, regardless of the students’ representatives in SPF or SPUCIM. The second question was about the students’ perception of the degree in which they view their participation in the decision-making process at the faculty/university. And, the third question was about the perception of what constitutes an obstacle for students to enter the decision-making process at the faculty/university level. The following table demonstrates how the perception of obstacles, ways and opportunities for participation is related to both the Moral Preference and the Moral Evaluation dimensions.
Table 5 Correlation coefficient for Moral Preference/Evaluation and student’s perception
The Moralism Preference dimension (which is an indication of the acceptance of the social responsibility concept) is related to the perception of students about the legal possibility of starting student initiatives, petitions, requests independently from SPF or SPUCIM representatives in direction that students more focused on themselves and not having adopted the concept of social responsibility are those who think they should have this legal possibility. The Moralism Preference dimension is also related to the perception of the degree in which students participate in the decision-making process at the faculty/university: socially responsible are those who consider that students do not participate at all in the decision-making process at the faculty/university. Furthermore, both dimensions that determine the motive for social justice are in relation to the perception of obstacles for students to enter the decision-making process: the focus on oneself (and not toward others), as well as the tendency to do what is socially desirable are related to the perception that internal factors, such as the lack of interest by students and the ignorance of the ways of acting, and not the external ones (such as revanchism of professors, lack of results, involvement of political parties…) being considered obstacles for the participation in the decision-making processes at faculties/universities.
There were several reasons for beginning a research on students’ motives for their activism at university level. First, there is no doubt about the actuality of the student organization in the Republic of Macedonia. In the past year, there have been several events that brought to light many problems, but also many reasons for discussion and debate of specific steps in the field of student organization. Second, the fact that the “Ss Cyril and Methodius” University, Skopje (UCIM) is the largest and leading educational institution in the country, only supports the thesis of the great importance UCIM student organization might have.
The third reason comes from the fact that student organizations exist and should exist to protect the rights and interests of their members. Students, if organized into representative student governments or movements, can be a highly influential agency shaping higher education policy. If some of the research data is correct, we are faced with the fact that more than 80% of students are not members of any student organization (Youth Educational Forum, 2014), which makes the situation worrying and, certainly, calls for appropriate ways to be found for it to change. Even if that percentage were not so high, however, the fact remains that there needs to be constant investment in good student organization, because investing in it signifies a literal investment in the democratic future of the Republic of Macedonia (Klemen?i? Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, United [email protected], 2014).
Another reason are experiences which show that membership in student organizations helps develop critical thinking about processes occurring in higher education institutions in the state, and wider, in society (Tsui, 2000). It also influences the process of identification with the peer group, as well as encourages the motivation to undertake coordinated action for the realization of their own rights and needs. Membership in student organizations should also influence the development of skills that imply the improvement of personal and professional self, such as moral judgement, non-violent communication and conflict resolution (Cole and Stewart, 1996).
The next very important reason for this research is that students’ civic engagement is important for the individual and the community well-being (Hope and Jagers 2014), as it maintains the viability of democratic society and promotes positive outcomes for those who participate. On the other hand, research literature shows that there is significant positive relation between social responsibility and civic activism and political activism (Armstrong, 2011).
All these facts were precursors to research the involvement of students in their organization and its relation with the social justice motive.
The data show several important findings, some more general and other relational. General distributions show that: on the motivation scale for social justice UCIM students show that although they have a tendency to behave in a socially desirable and moral way, they still do not adopt the concept of social responsibility and do not realize that socially desirable behavior does not concern only them; most of the students are not involved neither in the activities of the Student Organization, nor in the selection and operation of its bodies/organs; most of the students are uninformed about all events and activities related to the work of their representative organization and they point it as the main reason for their inactivity and non-involvement; personal motivation according to them is the main reason for them to be involved in a formal association such as the student organization and, they are aware of their inactivity and non-involvement, and as the biggest obstacles for entering the decision-making process they indicate internal factors like lack of interest and the ignorance about the possibilities and ways of acting.
The findings touch upon adults, society, educational systems: schools, universities because the motive for social justice is primarily socially conditioned (Janoff-Bulman and Sheikh, 2006). Although students tend to behave in a socially desirable and moral way, they still cannot realize that socially desirable behavior does not concern only them, and this is a concept which should be encouraged in childhood by all persons who are in position to be adults, teachers and educators. But perhaps we cannot just assign everything to adults and to the processes of socialization in childhood. The process of developing the motive for social justice has not been completed in childhood especially that researches show that students engaged in activism reap educational benefits such as developing an inclination to continue their political participation well into mid-life and acquiring a greater sense of social responsibility and identity consciousness (Cole and Stewart, 1996; Stewart, Settles, and Winter, 1998). For this reasons, higher education researchers stress that activism should be viewed as a developmental component of student learning, and that involvement in UCIM Students Organization must be understood in the context of civic engagement.
But, the findings touch also the students directly. They are not active, they are aware of their inactivity and non-involvement but they still remain uninformed about all events and activities related to the work of their representative organization. They have to adopt the model of civic activism, which understands the civic activism as a process rather than a condition and is defined by three dimensions as civic responsiveness, activity and information. If individual wants to be bearer of social changes than he has to be community oriented, active and well informed (Youth Educational Forum, 2015).The data on the relation and the predictability of the motive for social justice in terms of student involvement presented several expected, but also unexpected ones. The relation between the Moralism Preference dimension and the activity in the bodies and the organs of the student organization was unexpected. Notwithstanding the fact that individuals who understand the concept of social responsibility were expected to more tend and be involved in the Student Organization and thus contribute to the realization of the rights of all students, however, the data showed exactly the opposite: individuals who do not fully understand the concept of social responsibility for certain procedures and are more self-oriented rather than oriented towards others – they were more active and involved in the Student Organization, and, as expected, more often emphasize personal motivation as the main reason for participating in deciding on issues important for student life. In fact, here the equity theory of motivation was proved (Guerrero et al., 2005). Individuals seek to maintain equity between the inputs that they bring to activity (here-activity in Students Organization) and the outcomes that they receive from it against the perceived input and outcomes of others.
The conclusion from these research findings will be as follows: the educational system of the country has to invest in its students because good student organization, in addition to exercising rights, freedoms and needs, and engaging in improving students’ standard and their well-being, means investing in an efficient, motivated and democratic youth.
According to all previous experiences around the world, it can be said that one of the basic goals of universities and society in general should be investing in providing a suitable ground for student parliaments to become true temples of democracy, tolerance, understanding, a sense of community and, of course, desire, motive, vision, but also knowledge for a better university as a better educational environment and a better society in general. And, more general, if democratic societies are to survive as true democracies, they need citizens who are informed, concerned and active. How such citizens develop from childhood into adults is crucial information for educators, psychologists, young people, parents, politicians and many, many others (Sherrod, 2006).
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