School inclusion and solidarity projects in secondary schools

Economic and Tourism School in Daruvar – Croatia: School Inclusion and Solidarity Project Together for Inclusive Society – Zajedno za uključivo društvo

In the beginning school year 2017/2018, Economic and Tourism School in Daruvar, a partner organization in the GEAR project, launched a school project of solidarity „Zajedno za uključivo društvo“(„Together for inclusive society“) which aims at promoting solidarity and social inclusion in school and local community, and developing the civic and social competence in order to actively and efficiently confront the problem of social exclusion. In planning project activities, students teamed up with their teachers. The activities were conducted as extracurricular activity and carried out by Humanitarna družina – Humanitarian Team, a group they formed and that gathers students-educators engaged in peer to peer civic education.

First, Humanitarian Team started with their own education about democracy and active citizenship solidarity, combating prejudices and discrimination and non-violent conflict resolution.

Besides education, the Humanitarian Team started needs assessment. They conducted a preliminary survey research among their fellow-students on social differences and forms of discrimination in school and society, and a research on the issue of social inequality and social exclusion of individuals and groups in school and local community. Having conducted the needs analyses in order to define the scope of problems that needed to be addressed, students presented the problem to other participants involved in project. They also organized workshop/educational seminar for teachers and fellow-students respectively.

Humanitarian Team together with other interested students was also included in the activities of social and emotional skills education of primary school students in Daruvar.

As a part of the school project „Zajedno za uključivo društvo“ school cooperated with  Civil Society Organizations, namely GONG, but also  with other organizations: Forum za slobodu odgoja (Forum for Freedom in Education) in the project “Start the Change”, HERMES in Human Rights Education  and Centar za mir, nenasilje i ljudska prava (Centre for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights) in the project of Schools for Peace.

For the next semester, students plan to continue with their activities and develop them more for more inclusive society.

Activities:

  • Formation of a group of students included in the extracurricular activity Humanitarna družinaengaged in civic education
  • Organization of workshops/educational seminars for teachers and students
  • Participation in conference „From Global Challenges to Global CitizenshipOd globalnih izazova do globalnih državljana“ in Ljubljana
  • Needs assessment through survey on the social inequality and social exclusion, analyses of the results, definition and presentation of the problem
  • Preparation of student-educators for the independent implementation of workshops with other students
  • Participation in youth training, exchange and workshops in Jezerčica, Gostivar – Skopje and Osijek
  • High school students engaged in peer to peer education and education of primary school students
  • Final assessment of knowledge and attitudes of fellow-students
  • Participation in GEAR conference in Madrid and workshop in which activities were presented and experiences shared

Powerpoint presentation: “Daruvar voli život”

School Inclusion and Intercultural Project of Municipal Secondary Vocational School ‘’Gostivar”  – Macedonia

In the project developed by Municipal Secondary Vocational School ‘’Gostivar”, a partner school in the GEAR project, special attention was brought to the carefully planned and thoroughly organized needs-assessment conducted by students. Needs-assessment, they found, not only fulfills its primary purpose by providing vital information but that it also can bring youth and community members more into the decision-making process. The opportunity to express their ideas and opinion of the matters of shared interest empowers students to take initiative and create expectations. 

The results of the needs-analysis showed that, given the fact that the Albanian students and students of Macedonian, Turkish and Roma ethnic background study in different classrooms and in separate shifts according to their native language, they rarely have the opportunity to meet and socialize with students of other ethnic background. According to the conducted survey, the only available extracurricular activities students had so far were the sports activities. Focus of the project was then placed on organizing joint extracurricular activities that would bring together students from different ethnic background in order to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation. 

Project activities included:

  • Needs-assessment
  • Organizing extracurricular activities (Intercultural English Club, Arts’n’Crafts, Peer Mediation)

In the course of the project, three extracurricular activities were organized. The activities of the Intercultural English Club, that incorporates ITC, multimedia, movie nights, visits, field trips, etc., address issues such as discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes, xenophobia, and at the same time promote intercultural dialogue and understanding. The aim of the English Club is to improve language skills as well as communication, problem-solving and critical thinking. Students with disabilities are encouraged to participate as well.

The aim of the Arts’n’Crafts club is to nurture artistic talent in students as well as encourage the use of creativity, innovation, critical thinking and optimal use of resources. The activities comprise visiting museums, galleries and exhibitions, organizing exhibitions and fundraising events, recycling, raising awareness on environmental issues, as well as other issues concerning youth.

The main objective of the Peer Mediation clubis to train youth mediators and promoters of human values, peace and interculturalism. Some of the  topics addressed in the English club, such as discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes, xenophobia, promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding, will be reviewed more thoroughly and in-depth in students’ mother tongue in Peer Mediation club.

A number of students participate in multiple clubs and activities, and cooperation and coordination between the activities of these clubs as well as other formal and informal activities in the school is promoted and encouraged through project.

In multicultural schools in Macedonia youth that is included in education for national minorities on their own language and script often do not have chance to spend time with youth of different ethnical and national background which sometimes contributes to social distance. Activities of GEAR project are important because they are multilingual and they included different youth from different ethnical background (Macedonians, Turks, Roma and Albanians) which provide a safe space for intercultural dialog and understanding.

The GEAR project is co-founded by EU Erasmus+ program. More information about the project and the activities can be found on the GEAR  web page.