Training for keeping and integrating in schools students who are at risk of leaving their education

Training for the development and application of student-centered models and approaches in the process of building an inclusive school environment was conducted from 30 September until 2 October 2019 in Skopje. This training is a continuation of the program for support of the teachers and the school support staff members within the Project for Inclusion of Out-of-School Children in the Educational System supported by the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation. Through the training, the participants gained skills for creation of appropriate conditions for acceptance and keeping the children who are out of the educational system in the schools.

The training was attended by 29 teachers in the lower grades and school support staff members from 8 primary schools included in the project – “Gjorgji Sugarev” from Bitola, “Dobre Jovanovski” from Prilep, “Marsal Tito” from Strumica, “Vanco Prke”, “Goce Delchev” and “Dimitar Vlahov” from Stip, “Rade Kratovce” from Kocani and “Goce Delcev” from Skopje. Through experiential learning methods, the focus of this training was put on building an inclusive relationship of the teacher with the children who are at risk of leaving their education, building an inclusive classroom environment and developing strategies and interventions for individual development of students under risk.

During the training, many challenges were shared that schools face on a daily basis in terms of the inclusion of students who were out of the educational system and who mainly come from extremely socially disadvantaged families – students with late enrolment, students returning from asylum, students continuing their education after a pause, etc.

The participants in the training actively participated in workshops and exercises for identification of the at-risk students and the factors for leaving school, and they analyzed the problems that arise during the communication with the families. They also worked on the creation of models and strategies for creation of inclusive classrooms and inclusive schools. Special attention was paid to the role of the teacher in creating a safe classroom environment and building an atmosphere of acceptance and motivation of the at-risk students so that they would become more actively involved in the activities and more successfully integrated in the educational process.

“The training topics were presented in a creative and positive way, and the trainers were open to every question and ready for every answer. The facilitators were comprehensible and presented the respective topics in a creative way,” said some of the participants in the training.

The training was conducted by the trainers Radmila Zivanovic – psychologist and psychotherapist and Ivana Marinchek – psychologist and psychotherapist. In the upcoming period, such training will also be conducted for the representatives of the other 10 schools involved in the project.

The training for teachers and support staff members is part of the project “Inclusion of Out-of-School Children in the Educational System” implemented by the Macedonian Civic Education Center (MCEC) in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES), and financially supported by the Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation (PCF).