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Start of job shadowings in Poland and Slovakia

On May 13, a pre-departure meeting took place in Lviv for representatives of formal and non-formal education before a two-week job shadowing in Poland and Slovakia. This is the first group of trainees who go to discover experiences of making synergies between formal and non-formal education in the area of ​​civic competences development. The job shadowings are possible due to support of the EU Erasmus+ Youth KA2 project "Development of competences for Democratic citizenship through formal, non-formal and informal learning".

The importance of developing civic competences was discussed at the meeting, in particular through a whole school approach and the democratization of the school environment. Andriy Donets introduced the resent developments in civic education in Ukraine and the ongoing educational reform, particularly recognising non-formal and informal education along with conventional formal.  Participants recognise the importance of the reform and looking forward to learn from experiences in Slovakia and Poland. Natalia Nyshta, principle of Lviv School No. 69, is convinced that democratisation of the school environment mobilises and make active the school staff. So, thanks to the participation in Schools for Democracy Programme and democratization of the school environment, Ms. Natalia was able to take a leave for the first time in five years and go for the job shadowing. Olga Slobodyan, teacher of Ternopil Secondary School # 28, confirmed that similar changes have taken place in their school: the headmaster of the school can "breathe out with a relief", because teachers and students became active and responsible.

Vitaliy Kostyuk, the director of the Pidyatsky school located in the Carpathian region, took the opinion of his colleagues and continued that this is the essence of a democratic school: processes at school should not depend solely on the principal, as is often the case in Ukrainian realities. It is necessary to move away from the model by which the "democratic" director came and allowed to do something. He does not have to come up with all the ideas and appoint responsible executors. The principal's task is to facilitate processes in the school in which ideas and initiatives are put forward by all participants in the educational process. All participants are open for cooperation with NGOs and youth workers as they became aware of the value of non-formal education and looking forward to learn how to integrate it into formal school educational process.

According to the project design all participants will conduct a series of activities in Ukraine to disseminate the experience gained during job shadowings. The plans also include the development of exercises and lessons for the development of civic competences in cooperation with youth workers that will be available in the online toolbox, a moderated depository of various teaching and learning tools which is a continuation of the experience started with Civic Responsibility: 80 Exercises… the manual developed under the Schools for Democracy Programme. The materials proposed and developed for the project participants will, in particular, focus on synergies between formal and non-formal education in civic competences development. 

The next internship cycle in Slovakia and Poland will take place in late May and June. The participants will get acquainted with the experience of the Regional Youth Center in Kosice and the activities of the Civis Polonus Foundation (Warsaw).

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