Irpin school No 2 has been engaging with topics about democracy and human rights for a long time, but it was the Schools for Democracy programme that triggered the shift of the focus from teachers to students and parents, who now are the key target groups.
Since September 2016, the school team has started to introduce changes into their everyday life. Integration of the EDC/HRE content into the teaching and learning process has been the main focus of the school’s action plan. Teachers organize regular meetings divided by subjects where the possibilities of using Council of Europe materials as part of the existing curricula are discussed and lesson plans are tested. The EDC/HRE content is widely used in Math’s and foreign language classes, and it is also touched upon by history teachers.
In October, School for Democracy trainers had a chance to conduct a training with students at the school. “They had no problems with understanding the Roger Hart’s Ladder of participation exercise or providing examples of their participation at each stage”, noted Olga Boyarchuk and Liudmyla Mykytiuk – mentors of the Irpin School.
“This year the cooperation with parents has improved dramatically, they are more eager to take part in things related to school”, says school head Iryna Belova. Important issues are discussed together with parents who are not indifferent anymore, they give advice and suggestions and even vote when it comes to some controversial points. The head master considers this very beneficial for the school as a whole.
Yet, the Irpin school is not just developing itself, but it is also helping others –as a regional hub educational institution on "Implementation of the principles of democracy in secondary schools." This idea has emerged during the work in the Schools for Democracy programme. Thus, the Irpin school will be offering trainings and practical tasks for other educational professionals from the whole Kyiv region.
This year, the Irpin city conducted a first call for proposals under the public budget. School No 2 has submitted four projects to the contest. In addition, they also organized a campaign to support their initiatives, which was actively supported by the students. Students over 16 years old could even vote for their school’s project. This is a vivid example of democracy in action and successful public participation. Hopefully, such initiatives of an active school community will bring additional resources to the school so that more valuable ideas can be implemented.