Teachers at work in Braila, Romania

Building a school for future citizens

Regional Summer Academy Alumni from Braila in Romania are in the midst of an ambitious project to make Colegiul National “Nicolae Balcescu” into a school which does not only promote academic excellence but also a true sense of citizenship.

The school is widely recognized for its academic results, but there is room for improvement. Many subjects are taught in a very traditional way where teachers present lessons in front of the class and the students take notes without interacting or giving feedback. Teaching can be very theoretical, focused on transmission of knowledge more than skills and attitudes, and a genuinely interdisciplinary approach has been lacking.

Regional Summer Academy alumni Aurelia Serban, Corina Roberta Pavel and Camelia Vechiu have set out to change this with the project “A school for future citizens”. Through informing their colleagues about tools for education for democratic citizenship and human rights (EDC/HRE) so that they can apply them in their lessons and curricula, they hope that the students in turn will become more cooperative and more active during lessons and more interested in community issues.

Following their action plan from the Regional Summer Academy in Montenegro, Aurelia, Corina and Camelia held meetings with fellow teachers and principals in September last year to inform them about the project and set up the project team. Teachers of various subjects identified parts of their curriculum where they could apply EDC/HRE. Small workshops helped decide what and how things should be done and who should be involved.

In October the parents were informed as well and there were class activities in the subjects English, Arts, Religion and History. The project team also organized the activity “Advertise your rights” where students made posters about Children’s rights.

The project team has also tried to involve other schools in Romania and abroad, first by including a human rights section in the schools translation competition. In all they received 220 entries from over 20 schools in Romania and one in Moldova. Later, the project team launched an international human rights competition dedicated to the Human Rights Day December 10. Students were invited to participate individually in different sections for primary, lower secondary and upper secondary. You can learn more about the competition on http://www.cnnb.ro/alte/HUMAN_RIGHTS.pdf

The school received entries from Albania, Turkey, Romania, Poland, Greece, Cyprus, Georgia and Moldova and they are now being evaluated.

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