Schools for Democracy – impressions of the national trainers

Values are changing school by school, person by person. Schools for Democracy is creating a democratic snowball effect, according to the network of national trainers carrying out EWC’s programme in education for democratic citizenship in Ukraine.


EWC completed the second training of trainers for Schools for Democracy outside Kyiv, August 15-20. In September, this network of national trainers will return to the participating schools to help them implement their democratic schools projects.
 
We asked some of the national trainers participating in the training of trainers about their experience in the programme so far. What has the “School for Democracy” meant for them personally? How do the participating schools benefit from the programme?
 
“It is a process of mutual enrichment. I have developed my trainer competences by working with the schools, and the schools have developed through our cooperation. This is how we change our secondary education - by bringing the values of democracy, human rights and rule of law into the schools and our work environment. School by school, person by person start sharing these values and join the snowball of democratization. This snowball should reach every part of Ukraine, says Tetyana Filipenko from the Donetsk Region and herself a teacher at Kurakhove gymnasium “Prestige”.
 
Another member of the network of trainers is Anatoliy Kovtonyuk. He is a teacher at Vatslavpilska gymnasium in Zhytomyr. He says that the participating schools are very different.
 
“They have different levels of democratic development. Some schools have partially worked by democratic rules, while some are still governed with an authoritarian approach”.
 
But they also have one thing in common:
 
“Every school selected for the programme has got a chance for change they shouldn’t waste. If we want to install the rule of law in our country, we need to start from democratic school governance. Both parent, student and teacher self-governance bodies should have a say in school”.
 
Olha Boyarchuk is head of department of extracurricular activities at the Academy of Life Long Education in Bila Tserkva, Kyiv region. She feels that being a trainer in the programme makes her feel she can contribute to changes in the education system:
 
“Our education now needs changes, it is as critical as breathing. I am very glad to have this opportunity to learn, develop and help others to change”, she says.

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