The mission of the Education Development Centre (EDC) is to promote an intelligent and socially active society, which includes not only work with the teachers, but also young people, which is in line with the objectives of the British Council.
Therefore, in 2016, the British Council Latvia started co-operation with the Education Development Centre in the implementation of project “Exploring. Belonging. Acting” to promote youth integration and empowerment, but in 2018 two new projects were launched, one of which will continue till spring 2020.
In 2018, summer school for teachers “21st century skills: participation, co-operation, unity” took place, and in November 2018 a project “Living, Learning and Working TOGETHER” began.
In 2016/2017, project “Exploring. Belonging. Acting”, gave opportunity to 60 participants from 12 schools to develop critical thinking, debating, collaboration skills, as well as to enhance their media literacy level. During the project, school teams – both pupils and teachers - participated in skill-building workshops, field trips and summer camps led by the experts. Later, the participants themselves organised a variety of activities and events in local communities, for example, the local clean-up, White tablecloth celebration, creative workshops and other activities. The project participants involved more than 4000 representatives of local communities in the project.
This project was an excellent example for the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, how the formation of civic society can be promoted by introducing pupils with the cultural activities in Latvia, as a result, using the experience acquired during the project, the Ministry of Culture launched the national “School Bag” project in the autumn of 2018.
In 2018, at the summer school “21st century skills: participation, co-operation, unity” 52 teachers and professionals of school administration from 26 schools of Latvia acquired professional improvement programme by preparing and publishing collection of ideas on civic engagement opportunities available to all schools of Latvia on the EDC website. The objective of this summer school was to enhance teachers’ competencies to allow them promote cognition, critical thinking and information literacy of their pupils across a variety of fields and educational work, environmental awareness, engagement and collaboration skills, in order to encourage the value based 21st century educational process management.
In November 2018, an important co-operation project was initiated “Living, Learning and Working TOGETHER”, which will continue till spring 2020. The objective of this project is to organise series of events in Latvia – seminars, summer schools, experience exchange visits, cultural educational activities, diverse activities for pupils in local communities, exchange of views and co-operation with other schools. This year, seminar for all project participants – 15 school teams, including 30 young people and 16 teachers. During the three intensive seminar days pupils together with teachers got acquainted with the approach of design thinking and potential of culture education in the study process, examined civic engagement opportunities, the role of media in modern society, searched for touch-points of mutual co-operation, studied Latvian traditional values and stories, in order to develop a feeling of belonging, willingness for active involvement and shaping the ongoing processes in the society.
In spring 2019, the schools visited other project partners in different cities of Latvia, jointly engaging in meaningful activities to promote co-operation, to assess the acquired experience, and to understand what can be used in their everyday life. The co-operation of the young people from the participating schools was promoted also by getting acquainted with culture of different regions of Latvia in joint trips. Several schools implemented the so-called election simulation game before European Parliament elections in May 2019, promoting civic engagement of the youth analysing the programmes of the political parties and their leaders, and introducing the young people with the electoral process.
In August 2019, a camp for the participants of the project is planned, while during the autumn period the participants will jointly organise events in local communities, more training for the teachers on the topics defined in the project and a conference.