Sida-Funded CoE Pilot Schools Start in Albania

Within the framework of the Sida-funded CoE project “Strengthening Democratic Citizenship Education in Albania”, which is implemented by the Council of Europe and funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, it has been foreseen to provide support to 25 pre-selected primary and secondary pilot schools in Albania. The schools, members of the project team and school mentors have now started a series of on-site visits to the pilot schools to establish the schools’ development teams and start the school self-assessment exercise, said a statement released by the Newsroom of the Council of Europe on Tuesday.

These exercises are based on the School Inclusion Index with a specific focus on the culture component. The exercise will help guide the schools through the process of inclusive school development, building supportive communities and fostering high achievement.

The schools were pre-selected as a result of an open call and are based across all four regional pre-university education directories, respectively in Durrës/Tirana Region, Korca Region, in Lezha Region and Fieri Region. In the last two weeks the project team visited 10 Pilot schools in Durrës, and the Lezha Region.

Meetings were held with nominated school development teams, consisting of members with various background - school directors, teachers, school board members, parent council representatives, students representatives. The meetings aimed at learning about and creating strategies for the engagements of students, parents and communities in the democratic school government processes and the challenges that the schools are facing in their everyday work.

The team observed that the schools were highly motivated and eager to be involved in the project. Some good practices were already in place such as: implementation of the individual education plans, inclusion of different ethnical and religious groups in the teaching process, and in some cases the presence of teaching assistants providing support to some students.

All schools raised the question of how to more effectively support and structure their work with student government representatives in order to organize youth- and student-led activities, how to involve more parents in school activities, how to increase the school budget to organize more extracurricular activities and how to learn from similar schools in the Western Balkans Region or other CoE member states. /