Co-create with Youth

By Nodar Tsereteli12 Jan 2017under Project

Co-create with Youth

“Co-create with Youth” was designed to support school teachers to cooperate with youth workers and by this cooperation to create opportunities for school students which would enable them participate in community initiatives, in other words we wanted to bring non-formal and informal learning opportunities in formal education settings. To be sure that this approach would work in practice, our project was divided in two main phases. At the first phase we organized 5 days training course for teachers and youth workers to explore concepts of human rights education and to set up partnerships among participants. By the end of training course we had pairs of youth worker and teacher who had clear plans of how they could work together in the school which was represented by a teacher.

Having teams of youth workers and teachers motivated and empowered to work together on human rights education topics, the second phase included implementing school community activities addressing the challenges school students face in daily life. During the planning of methods and approaches to the activities school students were involved as a main group of initiative leaders. Teams of teacher and youth worker were facilitating the process of their participation. Community activities were a way to put empathy of how one can learn about, for and through human rights and democracy.

Participants of the training were also asked to design their activities putting empathy on the most actual challenges young people face in Georgia such as: social exclusion of minorities including people with disabilities, discrimination and hate speech including school bullying, disrespect towards democratic values: diversity, peacefully coexistence and equality. It is very difficult for teachers to initiate projects like this for school students alone, as they often deal with these initiatives alone without having experiences partners and supporters. By inviting youth workers to work with them in school setting, we were trying to ensure fresh and creative ideas, more space for school students for participation in school life and effective use of different resources existing in the field. (For example Council of Europe manual – Compass etc.)

Aim and objectives:

The project aimed at enabling schools to create a space for participation and active involvement of school students in the school and community life.

Project had following objectives:

  • To improve ability of youth workers and school teachers to work collaboratively and initiate value based school community projects by using non-formal education principles and approaches;
  • To contribute to the development of youth workers’ and teachers’ understanding of human rights education and education for democratic citizenship based on learning to, for and through human rights approach;
  • To support implementation of EDC/HRE charter in Georgia;
  • To design partnership based school projects where school students can be actively engaged;

Target group

The project brought together 20 participants – 10 youth workers and 10 teachers.

Need addressed

From 2003 massive developments has started in schools on Georgian level to support school students for being active on school level and to participate in different school processes. It was priority for Ministry of Education of Georgia and now school students’ access to school governing and development processes, rights and abilities are guaranteed on policy level. Since 2009 civic education classes were introduced to the school curricular that is one of the ways to develop students as socially active citizens, who will know their rights, responsibilities, and civil liability, and thus be able to realize them. It is already years that school students are having chance to attend civic education classes, but surely it is not guarantee that the class itself is very interesting for them. Because of different existing problems and stereotypes even at the class of civic education pupils are not available to practice non-formal education and they are obliged to take civic education as a classical lesson of school curricular, but we all agree that non-formal education approaches are key way to support school students in the process of taking part in democracy. To guarantee implementation of this vision we will bring together youth workers actively involved in non-formal education through their youth organizations and teachers of secondary schools. There are youth organizations which often stay far ahead from cooperating with schools and they prefer to implement their own projects by bringing young people in the centre where youth workers support them to be a part of non-formal and informal learning process, but this damages school’s function to act not only as classroom knowledge resource centre, but also as an institution where young people can participate, gain new skills and develop their vision. We speak about the acceptance of non-formal education in society and in practice, but the challenge is not only the lack of opportunities for youngsters to participate in non-formal education settings, challenge is going way beyond. Because of this it is very difficult to try to make society and especially young people aware of the most important values – diversity, democracy, human rights, tolerance, inclusion and etc. We do believe that if we want to speak up about the values and for human rights, democracy and diversity we need to start processes from the ground, from the schools and starting this highly important process without non-formal education is impossible. So we wanted to tackle the problem of schools concentrating only on teaching and youth workers staying ahead of the schools.

Partners:

  • European Youth Foundation, Council of Europe – financially supported the initiative;
  • Teachers Professional Development Center (TPDC), Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia – supported project with EDC/HRE manuals and tools published by the Council of Europe and translated by the TPDC;
  • iCivic Education Teachers’ Forum Georgia – provided input during the residential seminar;
  • European Wergeland Center – provided support during the online learning phase and input about EDC/HRE during the residential seminar;

This project was supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe. It was based on the principles of Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education. Charter was used as a core document and therefore the program of the training course was built upon approaches described in the document.

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