Spreading education for democracy to other schools
Regional Summer Academy alumni in Armenia decided to involve other schools in their project to help students build competence and confidence to be active citizens. “I am democracy and democracy is me”, was the way one pupil described the experience.
Vanadzor High School 11 and the Armenian Association of Civic Educator implemented their project “Student leadership in rural areas” following their participation at the 2015 Regional Summer Academy Democracy at School in Poland. The project had three aims:
- To strengthen the role of civil society in promoting active citizenship
- To enable and serve as an example for teachers from rural areas to prepare their pupils to actively carry out their role as citizens
- To develop pupils skills such as leadership, analytical thinking and team work.
The project involved vice-directors, teachers and pupils in grades 9-11 from a total of six schools. Among the activities carried out were teacher trainings, interactive sessions with students and meetings between pupils and community leaders. The project based its methods on Council of Europe manuals Compass, Compasito, Living in Democracy, Taking part in Democracy and Teaching Democracy.
Some rural school directors were reluctant to give up teaching time for the project, which therefore had to carry out activities with the pupils on Saturdays and meetings with local community leaders after class. Some students were skeptical, but when they witnessed the success of their peers, they got interested as well and expressed interest in participating in future events.
Students are now more eager to have their voice heard on community issues and they are generally more active. The project organizers plan to continue their project next year, involving new schools and starting new partnership based projects in the Lori region.