The first Summer Academy, ’Democracy at School’
, ended after an intense week on July 17, in Sulejówek, Poland. Eleven teams of educators from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine joined the Academy. Each team consisting of a teacher, a head teacher and an NGO representative coming from the same school/local community.
The Academy aimed at training educators to be multipliers and to help
them incorporate the principles of human rights and democracy into
their daily work. It is meant to put the Council of Europe (CoE)
policy into practice through trainings based on recommendations and publications.
An experienced team of trainers was carrying out the training: Ms
Felisa Tibbitts (USA), Ms Olena Styslavska (Poland), Mr Andrey Ioffe
(Russia), Mr Milosz Czerniejewski (Poland), Ms Malgorzata Tur (Poland),
Ms Leah Davcheva (Bulgaria).
The official opening ceremony (view guests and program
in Russian/ English) on 12 of July took place at the Centre for Education Development (ORE) in Warsaw, where the participants and trainers were joined by representatives of the Polish Ministry of National Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Education Development Centre, European Wergeland Centre (EWC), embassies and NGO representatives.
The speakers all underlined the importance of initiatives like the Summer Academy and welcomed the plans of making it an annual event. Mr. Mandt, the EWC Special Adviser emphasized: "If you want to have a democratic society, this must be reflected in the schools. Human rights, democracy and intercultural understanding do not come automatically. The history of Europe clearly tells us so. You must work for those ideas every day. Once you have them, they must be protected."
The Polish Ministry of National Education was applauded for making the initial proposal at the EWC Inauguration in May 2009, and all organizing bodies were acknowledged for their contributions in making the first Summer Academy a reality within a year of the proposal.
To translate the CoE policy into educational practice, the Summer Academy's program was based on two CoE manuals: Democratic
, How can all teachers can support citizenship and
human rights education: A framework for the development of competences
. In accordance with the manuals, the training addressed multiple levels of HRE/EDC work, ranging from the individual teachers, the classroom, and the school to the community.
The week was packed with activities, and the enthusiasm and high motivation of participants indicated that the program served its purpose well. Participants gave very positive feedback, stressing the space given for sharing and building on their own personal experiences, and the opportunity to have a closer look at their whole school development.
The Summer Academy was organized by the Ministry of National Education
, Poland, the Centre for Education Development
, Poland, The Council of Europe,
and the EWC.