In March 2021, a network of professional teachers, TeacherNet, was established within the framework of the Sida funded project Strengthening Democratic Citizenship Education in Albania*. The first 125 teachers were welcomed by the Minister of Education, Ms Evis Kushi, in a launching event held in Elbasan, a city with a long history of educating teachers going back to 1909.
Throughout the year, the TeacherNet members held regular exchanges on good practices that provide innovative solutions and ideas on how to best promote democracy in and through education. The first cohort of teachers were trained on the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture and International School Development, as well as on several LEMON** courses: Key to Understanding Social Media, Democracy and Human Rights, The Key to Teaching Democratic Competences for Social Media, and The Key to Using Social Media as an Educational Tool for Democracy. They were also supported with education materials, engagement in selected project activities and participation in targeted trainings, i.e., on inclusive and democratic teaching and learning.
TeacherNet also brings additional sustainability to the action undertaken by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with the project pilot schools through encouraging their continued engagement within the network and beyond.
As a result of the project’s action and of the participants’ engagement, TeacherNet continues gaining momentum and welcoming new members, increasing the network’s capacity to 250 active members at the beginning of 2022. Nominated by their school management, new teachers are coming from project pilot schools which are competitively selected through yearly open call. It is envisioned that by the end of project TeacherNet will expand to over 375 education practitioners in Albania.
*The project is implemented by Council of Europe and funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
**LEMON (Learning Modules Online) is the Council of Europe’s Education Department online learning platform offering practical teaching and training resources for education professionals across Europe.