Fostering a democratic climate in schools through online workshops

During June 2020, online workshops for fostering a democratic climate in schools were organized as a part of the USAID Youth Ethnic Integration Project, in collaboration with the Bureau for Development of Education and Youth Educational Forum. More than 300 Civic Education teachers, support staff and directors of 120 project primary schools, which in the school year 2020/2021 will implement student initiatives and organize Open Days for Civic Education for the first time, took part in the workshops.

The participants discussed the new Concept for Civic Education as a base for the development of a democratic climate and the role of the school management and student support staff in encouraging a democratic climate and cooperation with the local community. Special attention was paid to the importance of organizing student initiatives. Therefore, the participants got introduced to the phases that one student initiative should go through in order to be able to contribute to the development of the students’ civic competences. Also, they shared ideas for the implementation of various digital tools as an addition or alternative to the traditional methods for organizing student initiatives.

Although the workshops happened online, we managed to have an effective discussion with previously-thought-out questions and appropriate techniques for interacting, revising and enriching current knowledge (i.e. brainstorming, stop technique, question and answer and similar). The participants actively listened and engaged in the discussions,” says Lidija Kondinska, an adviser from the Bureau for Development of Education.

During the workshops, the attendees gained skills, knowledge and materials for implementing successful student initiatives and building school policies, which are aimed at forming and developing an even more democratic school. Most of the participants think that trainings like these are especially useful for gaining new skills and assigning contemporary goals that will lead to improving the democratic climate in the schools they work in.

After they got introduced to the aspects of democratic school climate in detail, the workshops’ participants will work on implementing student initiatives and organizing Open Days for Civic Education through digital tools in the school year 2020/2021.

This activity is part of the Youth Ethnic Integration Project, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of MCEC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United States Government.