The kick off meeting, on 9-11 June in Vienna brought together 12 policy makers, 27 members of civil society, 3 members of Academia and 2 participants from intergovernmental organisations working in the Western Balkans to establish a public-private partnership for the development of history education and innovative pedagogical methodologies. Members of the Special Working Groups met for the first time to set an Agenda for cooperation activities planned for the next three years within the ePACT project.
It was agreed that ‘development of education’, was a much more appropriate wording than ‘reform’ taking into account that the project wants to build on existing best practice and complement approaches that can address remaining gaps.
The meeting was organised into two specialist working groups. A regional working group that will focus on strengthening the implementation of learner centered teaching/learning approaches that, despite endorsed by all countries on the policy level, still can rarely been identified in classrooms of the region. And the second group that will focus exclusively on history education and conduct a wide-ranging needs assessment that will shed light and increase understanding on areas and ways of making history teaching more relevant and constructive.
The meeting started with a key note address by Prof. Andreas Demetriou from Cyprus on “Learning how to think, learn, and reason“, about how intelligence is measured and how it can be nurtured in primary and secondary schools. An expert panel, comprised of Janet Looney from the Institute of Education and Social Policy and John Hamer from the Council of Europe gave an overview of the wider international context before the working groups started with discussions in their specific areas.
As a result of the meeting, a Partnership Memorandum will be crafted between participants, which will outline details of the public-private partnership and set common agendas. A common area on “Basecamp” a platform that enables cost-efficient and effective online cooperation has been opened. Materials, ideas and experiences can be shared and close cooperation can take place virtually on a daily basis via chats and other communication tools.
The next steps are a preparatory meeting in Montenegro for the Needs Assessment and the planning of accredited Pilot Seminars for building capacities amongst school directors, inspectors and curriculum designers for a more committed implementation of learner centered teaching/learning approaches in schools.