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SIAE Awards 2001
Janez Mrak from Medvode

SIAE awards for learning and knowledge promotion 2009

Awards to individuals for outstanding achievements in lifelong learning 

Marjan Čenar from Murska Sobota

retired director of the Adult Education Centre, study group mentor, amateur astronomer
Proposed by: The Adult Education Centre and the Murska Sobota University of the Third Age Education Society


‘Study groups have been my preferred way of working for 15 years and will probably remain so for the rest of my life.'

Marjan Čenar comes from a family that has been involved in teaching and education for a century - so it is probably no surprise that he too was drawn to the education profession. He is an extremely versatile person. People know him, among other things, as a teacher, mentor, amateur astronomer and photographer. After studying philosophy, he returned to his home town of Murska Sobota to teach secondary school students, but was soon drawn to adult teaching programmes. He liked working with them, since he already treated grammar school students as adults, as people following their goals. He realised that he simply had to help people who knew what they wanted to achieve their goals. He soon decided to devote himself entirely to adult education and took a job at the Adult Education Centre, where he served three terms as director.

He has taken pioneering steps in many areas - introducing the early learning of foreign languages and training in computer use, for example. He has helped to draw up programmes aimed at the labour market, and was also one of the first in the region to train as a study group mentor. He says: ‘I don't like routines, so I welcomed the study groups. They meant something fresh and encouraged cooperation between the participants themselves and with the mentor and the environment.'

A number of the groups have won awards under his mentorship; two of them became societies in their own right and are still successfully operating today. These are the Kmica Astronomy Society and the Murska Sobota University of the Third Age Education Society.

What is it that attracts him the most about study groups? They offer a chance to experiment, and make it possible to devote oneself to an activity on an entirely amateur basis, without the need to invest a great deal of money but with great pleasure and a ‘voluntary' approach. One can choose a subject that is of no interest to the market and for which it would be difficult to obtain start-up funds, is attractive to people and can occasionally mean precious added value for the wider community as well.

Alojz Sraka, advisor at Murska Sobota Advisory Centre and representative of the proposing organisation, summed up his thoughts on his professional colleague: ‘I believe that Marjan Čenar has promoted lifelong learning at every stage of his professional and personal career, responded to the needs for new knowledge and been able to transfer the knowledge of the profession to the local environment. Above all else, he has done everything in his power to ensure that the local environment accepts this new knowledge and puts it to practical use.'

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