School parliament and increased parent engagement
The Model School in Pristina, Kosovo*, wanted to get parents more involved. The solution was to give students a say in how the school was run.
“The Student Council and Parliament discuss the needs we have towards teachers and the school. We explore ideas. It feels democratic”, Anita Shala from 7th grade tells us.
Qamile Gashi, also from 7th grade adds:
“In the student parliament we are free to talk about everything we wish. We have changed small things. We now have water cans inside classrooms. We are represented with a parlament and a council. We are 700 hundred students. Not everyone can go and tell their ideas and needs”
Headmaster Liridon Maliqi took part at the 2015 Kosovo Academy together with a teacher and a parent representative. The aim with their school project was to empower the students to increase parent participation. The establishment of a student parliament was the first step to make that happen.
The team also carried out an exercise from the Council of Europe manual Compass. Student, parent and teachers divided into separate groups to identify two things they wanted from the other groups. The team from the academy facilitated the group work.
“I will definitely continue with this. Parents want to have this activity every semester. The aim is to build a triangle teachers-students-parents. Children report home what happened in class and parents call to say that the difference is being felt”, says Liridon Maliqi.
Parent representative Avni Gashi says that students have really succeeded in getting parents more involved in school life.
“Children come back to their parents and say they have expressed their opinion. When your kids say they think they need this or that at school, it is impossible for parents to ignore it”, Avni Gashi says.
Parents have painted the underground outside the school, contributed with flowers and plants and also volunteered to accompany the kids on excursion, even during work hours.