Joint Project on “Strengthening Democratic Culture in Basic Education”
The European Union – Council of Europe Joint Project “Strengthening Democratic Culture in Basic Education” aims to integrate a democratic school culture that corresponds with universal core values as well as fundamental rights and freedoms into the Turkish national education system. The specific objectives of the Project are:
- Strengthening democratic values and practices in schools and school communities,
- Strengthening the capacity of stakeholders including policy makers, education administrators both at the Ministry of National Education and at provincial level, inspectors, school principals, teachers, parents, and local civil society organisations (CSO) on democratic school culture,
- Raising awareness on democratic school culture in and beyond schools.
Duration: 36 months (3 August 2018 – 2 August 2021)
Budget: 4.000.000 €
Funding: The Project is co-financed by the European Union (90%) and the Council of Europe (10%)
End beneficiary: Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Turkey (MoNE)
Target groups: Schools, their administrative staff and school community, teachers, students and their parents, education policy-makers and education authorities
The methodology for achieving the objectives will be carried out in three parallel phases. The first two will consist of strengthening democratic culture in schools, based upon the Democratic School Culture handbook, and at the same time training teachers who will be teaching the newly-introduced compulsory course at 4th grade “Human rights, citizenship and democracy” (developed with the support of the Council of Europe). In parallel, an awareness raising campaign will be launched to promote the values of democracy and human rights, using social networking techniques, media, etc. Networks of teachers and schools will also be established.
Below is an overview of the activities to be carried out under the Project and the methodology to be used:
Expert advice will be provided by short-term consultants with national and international knowledge and experience, selected according to their specific fields of competence through an open call for their expression of interest during the inception phase of the Project. Following this open call, a list of consultants to be engaged during implementation of the Project will be established according to procurement rules of the CoE. These consultants will also be utilised to convey specialised and/or in-depth knowledge and to develop the capacity of teacher-trainers to deliver cascade trainings.
Working groups/expert meetings will bring representatives of the beneficiary institution together with consultants from specific fields for carrying out the needs analysis, reviewing curricula and materials, as well as for developing training programmes and materials and developing a whole school approach in the scope of democratic school culture. There will be four groups corresponding to the four relevant outcomes of the Project. The working groups will also define target groups for training sessions for which they will produce tailor-made training programmes and material. As explained under the “training-of-trainers” entry, the candidate trainers, who would work in training sessions of the Project, will be invited to the working groups in developing training programmes and materials.
Strategic Planning Meetings will bring together decision makers from the beneficiary institution to prepare the road-map for the policy recommendations. These decision makers will convene twice during the project life time. The first meeting will be dedicated to the preparation of the road-map and the second one will be essential to ensure the draft policy recommendations have been developed in line with the road-map. In addition, these meetings will contribute to the ownership of the project outputs and sustainability of the outcomes.
Focus group meetings will allow the members of the beneficiary institution to discuss key issues with stakeholders and target groups of the Project, including representatives from the relevant departments of the MoNE, CSOs, academia, and their peers from other European countries through exchanges of information and experiences. They will be used as an instrument to involve project partners in the review process.
Study visits to CoE member states and to the CoE headquarters will provide first-hand experience which will complement theoretical knowledge, facilitate exchange of information, and help individuals to establish inter-personal relations with colleagues from countries with similar systems and/or similar concerns in developing, teaching, and integrating competences for democratic culture into their education systems. Specific topics will be defined for each visit and visits will be designed to provide participants with multi-dimensional perspectives and discussions.
Domestic study visits to Ankara will provide an opportunity for students from pilot cities to come to the capital city and establish partnerships and networks with each other. They will exchange experience and good practices about the implementation of the whole school approach in their schools. These visits will also serve as an instrument to contribute to the visibility of the activities implemented in pilot provinces.
Training-of-trainers will create a pool of trainers for certain target groups and enhance the sustainability of the results by supporting beneficiary institutions to develop their capacities through experienced and knowledgeable trainers with adequate training programmes and materials.
Cascade training sessions will be a tool to disseminate the information, raise awareness and develop competences for democratic culture among teachers, school principals, and policy makers. To ensure a strong impact, cascade trainings will be designed based on duo-teaching, and the teacher trainers will be supported by a short-term consultant during a certain part of the training. They will allow teacher trainers to develop their skills further through interaction with qualified peer trainers.
Regional workshops will serve as a forum for schools to present their work and discuss specific common issues, share best practices concerning the whole school approach. The regional approach is meant to support school partnerships and increase the local impact of the Project.
Translation, publication, and dissemination will make essential texts and information accessible in Turkish and ensure that the accumulated experience of the CoE and other relevant organisations is made available to the authorities, communities, academics, and wider circles.
Visibility and public awareness measures will be a part of the detailed Communication Strategy which will be developed during the Inception Phase and guide the project team and partners throughout the implementation of the Project. All the activities of the Project shall be made visible, and key results of the Project will be communicated to all stakeholders. They will also be published on the CoE’s website, as well as in the various visibility materials of the CoE and EU. All the reports and publications made in the framework of the Project shall be widely disseminated after the approval of MoNE. Public awareness activities will consist mainly of regular press conferences/press releases, project newsletters, publications, and broadcasts in the mass media, publication, and dissemination of the main working papers, translated CoE documents, and project reports.
Audio-Visual materials, including the documentary/Publication and dissemination of texts and/or audio-visual materials/CD-ROMs will ensure that expertise and/or knowledge are made available to the widest possible audience.
Conference(s) will serve as a forum to present the results of the school activities and facilitate raising awareness about the challenges, main concerns and new methodology in the teaching and promotion of competences for democratic culture, distributing specific information to a broader audience on a specific topic, and contribute to the visibility of the Project outputs.
The following results are expected to be achieved through this Project:
- Policy recommendations for a strategic action plan for the integration of competences for democratic culture with awareness of human rights and democracy into the basic education system and school practices are developed.
- Education materials based on human rights, democracy and universal core values are developed for basic education institutions.
- Basic education school teachers and education practitioners are equipped with competences for democratic culture.
- Basic education institutions as well as school community and general public have an increased awareness and better understanding of democratic school culture.
Within the Implementation of the Project on Strengthening Democratic Culture in Basic Education in Turkey, First Draft of the Whole School Model Was Presented for Feedback during the Working Group Meeting