Encouraging civic participation in Lithuania
The Lithuanian NGO ‘School of Success’ works to increase civic participation in the country by engaging with pupils.
According to the Civil Society Institute in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, around 40 percent of Lithuanians do not participate in any kind of civic activities. To help improve this situation, ‘School of Success’ is receiving more than €44 000 in support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Lithuanian NGO programme to promote so-called democratic education in five schools in Lithuania. Democratic education means actively engaging with the pupils and letting them have a real say in what is going on in their school. The purpose of this is two-fold. It aims to create a better learning environment for the pupils involved in the project and making them more motivated for school while at the same time spurring civic engagement that will carry on outside the classroom.
One of the schools that participates in the project is the Kauno Kazio Griniaus progymnasium in the city of Kaunas in the southern part of Lithuania. An important part of the project has been to start an open conversation between pupils, teachers and administrators about various issues relevant to the school and its pupils. This was a positive experience for everyone involved, particularly for the pupils who for the first time felt they were given an opportunity to engage with their teachers and the school management as equals.
The dialogue was partly facilitated through a series of school-wide meetings where each class was represented by two pupils and a class teacher. In total, around 150 people participated in the meetings, including parents.
Project manager Donata Norkiene at ‘School of Success’ says that so far, the project has exceeded expectations:
“To be honest, we are quite surprised by the results of the project. To be able to watch a traditional Lithuanian school break with tradition and engage with the students in this way is something we have never seen before in our work.”
Norkiene adds that ‘School of Success’ hopes to be able to share the results of the project with other schools in Lithuania:
“We hope that through this project we can inspire other schools in Lithuania, and that this can have positive effects both on our pupils and our civil society.”
Strengthening the capacity and role of NGOs in introducing the democratic principles in educational system
Public Institution 'School of Success'
Type of Institution:
Other type of NGO
Research indicates that Civil Empowerment Index of Lithuanian society remains low, at the same time it is evident that students are the group with the biggest potential in this area. The project aims at fostering active citizenship through mobilising local communities and developing their participatory role strengthened on the grassroots level. This shall be achieved by introducing democracy education principles into school curriculum and providing space and opportunities for school communities to test democracy in practice. Independent mentors and experts shall guide 5 schools through process of development of democracy education. 400 children shall directly participate in project activities, and the rest shall benefit indirectly from change brought by project. Full methodology for introduction of democracy education into schools shall be prepared and national application advocated with the Ministry of Education. Target groups: children, school communities; decision makers in education. Indirect beneficiaries: families of students; society at large.