Education

Summer Academy on “Democracy at School”

On 10 July, the official opening ceremony of Summer Academy on “Democracy at School” took place in Education Development Centre’s office in Warsaw in presence of the representatives of the Ministry of National Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Education Development Centre, European Wergeland Centre, embassies and NGO representatives. This year’s edition of Summer Academy on democracy at school is targeted at educators from the countries participating in Eastern Partnership programme.

“Education seems to us the most effective tool to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law in society. A former president of European Commission Jacques Delors said that “choosing a type of education means choosing a type of society”. This statement emphasizes that it is education that builds the culture of mutual respect, understanding and social cohesion based on a common aim to seek peaceful solutions”, said Anna Dakowicz-Nawrocka, a deputy director of General Education Department at the Ministry of National Education.

Gunnar Mandt, the representative of European Wergeland Centre in Oslo, also referred to the statement by Jacques Delors. The centre supports the work of the Council of Europe in the field of education for democratic citizenship, human rights and intercultural education by conducting research and organizing trainings for teachers. Gunnar Mandt stressed that only choosing a type of education is not enough to obtain the expected effect. “We need time and teachers well prepared for their job, teachers who educate themselves continuously and stay open to the students’ needs”, he emphasized.

Summer Academy on democracy at school is a joint project of the Polish Ministry of Education, Centre for Education Development, Council of Europe and European Wergeland Centre. The Academy’s aim is to put the Council of Europe education policy into practice through trainings and workshops based on the Council of Europe’s recommendations and publications. The issues of the trainings held by the experts refer to intercultural education, education for democratic citizenship and human rights education, and aim to prepare educators to use “good experiences” in practice and implement them at their schools.

Moreover, Summer Academy initiates and develops cooperation between the respective countries by exchanging experiences and examples of good practice. The trained participants will promote democratic rules and human rights in activities held in their school and local environments.

The Summer Academy participants are educators (teams which include: a head teacher and teacher from the same school and an NGO or Parents’ Community representative) from the countries participating in Eastern Partnership program, including Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia and also Russia, Sweden and Poland. The total number of participants is forty.

The one week Academy includes workshops, presentations and cultural program such as Warsaw sightseeing or an international evening prepared by the participants, during which they present their countries’ culture and customs.

Summer Academy 2010 – summary of participants’ feedback