The aim of the program:
One of the project's main goals is to make participants analyze how education contributes to their knowledge about their own region. During the program participants searched for local resources and possibilities and found some ideas of what could be done to improve the quality of teaching methods and the syllabus. This program helped students become responsible, open minded young persons who care about their region; they are prepared to give their contribution for the development of their region.
Background and reasons for project:
In the three European countries only a few reforms were made in education after the fell of the communist regime. The school does not offer young people enough knowledge about their own possibilities given by their region. Knowledge of the local historical background, the potentials of local economy and the protection of cultural heritage is a lack of present Romanian education system. That is why the Csiki Foundation in Romania initiated an international study program for students for experience change and to put in practice in Romania the positive results of the Hungarian and Serbian education methods in these fields.
Description of the program:
This program brought together students from three countries, Romania, Hungary and Serbia & Montenegro for debates, workshops, working site visits on the theme of education on the frame of local resources. Based on the information received during three-week study visits, this program inspired new ideas for education reform and contributed to experience exchange between youth of the three countries. These workshops focused on how history, geography, economy, religion teaching and optional activities contribute to learn about our region? What students can learn in school about the possibilities, the potential (economic, cultural, traditional, social) of the region where they live and what are the resources that can support them in their future plans, in their future activity and work?
In order to organize this project the Csiki Foundation contacted its partner organization, the Open Prospects in Serbia and Montenegro, and the volunteers of the Foundation was looking for a partner school in Hungary, and decided to contact the Lazarista Szent László High School from Szob. The volunteers of the Csiki Foundation were planning every detail of this project and were hosting the guestd coming from Hungary and Serbia & Montenegro.
The project has three main parts:
1) Three one-week workshops in Romania, Hungary and Serbia & Montenegro
2) Evaluation meeting in Romania
3) Editing a report of the program and creating a website
1) Three one-week visit tour in Romania, Hungary and Serbia & Montenegro:
36 pupils had the opportunity to visit each school. The first visit took place in Romania and was organized by the Csiki Foundation. The other two visits took place in Hungary and in Serbia & Montenegro, organized by our partner schools in Szob and in Subotica.
In the mornings pupils visited different schools, organizations and institutions in the area, meeting and discussing with the representatives and opinion players of the region. During the afternoon workshops, based on the gathered information, pupils, together with their teachers found practical solutions on how teaching should contribute to a better understanding and knowing our own region and our own possibilities, also weaknesses.
2) Evaluation meeting:
After the three visits we organized an evaluation meeting of 3 days in Romania participating three representatives of each partner organization (the one teacher and the two program-coordinators). During this meeting we discussed the quantitative and qualitative results of the program.
3) Editing a project report and website:
The moderator of each workshop wrote a report on the groups activity. Based on these reports there was written a final report of the whole project. We want this report to be edited and distributed among the pupils of the participating schools in each country. The language of the report is in English.
For pupils networking and making this project known we created a website. (this one =)
The participants filled out a form each afternoon specific to the topic of the workshops held that day. They wrote in those forms what they observed on that day's program, and they deduced the final lesson learned on the workshop of that day and made suggestions of how education could be reformed. Each day we chose three moderators who made report of the afternoon workshops.
We keep contact with our partners after the program, to organize further visiting tours for other groups and other schools, to keep and improve the website continuously.
The suggestions and observations made by the working groups during the workshops was presented to the board of directors of the schools and for the local school inspectors.
Based on the experiences and lessons learned during the project, the cooperating schools' directorate and the local educational administration are presented our report and proposal for improving the education system in schools.
Students formulated suggestions regarding how Romanian language could be thought for national minorities, whose native language is different. Being a common issue the participants were interested to find out how the Serbian language is thought in schools for students belonging to minority communities. Based on the experiences accumulated in Serbia, Romanian students realized that in Romania the ministry of education puts too much pressure on the Romanian language teaching, and the curricula is very much agglomerated, but the results are far away from what Serbian students can achieve.
An other idea was formulated regarding the tourism potential of these regions that could represent a future carrier and possibility for the now-day students too. We could find good practices and examples in Hungary. Students also realized that there are many "hidden treasures" in our neighborhoods, which they don't even know or never heard about it. This program was also good to "explore" these already forgotten or rarely visited places, monuments, traditions. Unfortunately students can learn about these potentials just through extra school activities, there is no any place in the full school curricula to reach these region related information.
During the three visits students decided that they would like to make a research about interethnic relations and tolerance in Serbia & Montenegro, Hungary and Romania. Our partner organization in Subotica had already organized an interethnic event in their country, inviting representatives of all kind of minorities living in Voivodina in order to promote the value of diversity, the beauty of different cultures and traditions.
Even the Romanian students become very much interested in organizing other similar projects in the future and to keep the contact with the other members of the "team".
Many thanks to the Open Society Foundation Bucharest, East East program's financial support, that made possible the project to come true.
We also have to thank you for the partners and their effective cooperation, also for the participants, being active members of this program. It is also necessary to emphasize on the great and unselfish work, that Bálint Emese and Fazakas Réka, and other volunteers of the Csiki Foundation did during this program.