Education Partnership for Advocacy, Capacity-Building and Transformation

The CDRSEE is partnering with EUROCLIO (European Association of History Educators) for a three-year project on education reform in Southeast Europe, called ePACT. With this project, both organisations want to contribute to sustaining the democratisation process and enhancing conflict sensitivity in the Western Balkans, by intensifying democratic education in the formal schooling system.

Specifically, ePACT strives to achieve that education authorities and civil society jointly reform education and schools in the region to enhance critical-thinking and active citizenship. These two competencies we believe to be key drivers of all forms of development, but particularly of the development of a vibrant civil society that is ready to protect and defend democratic values, gender mainstreaming, environmental protection and a culture of non-violent conflict resolution.

To achieve this specific objective, the project relies on three inter-related strands:

Training and supporting teachers in becoming familiar with, and comfortable using,  the new methodologies is of central importance. Teachers are the primary drivers of change in introducing and encouraging critical thinking in the classroom and it is vital that they are not only equipped with the skills to carry out these new methods, but are also confident and feel properly backed up in their efforts by school directors, ministries and the project team. It is therefore central to the project that effective training workshops take place that are not only informative, but also participant-centred and attuned to the needs, concerns and interests of the teachers.

Training workshops are designed to be adaptable, reactive to the differing needs of the participants and also models of the critical thinking and multi-perspective methodologies being taught.

Two training sessions took place in Montenegro in December 2016, two more were carried out in Kosovo in March 2017 and two took place in Serbia in April 2017.  The Assistant Minister of Education opened the workshop in Belgrade and participants at all of the workshops stated their hope that more workshops in the series could be carried out.  Following these successful events, the first workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place in Mostar in May 2017, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Science and with the presence of ministry officials as expert trainers.

In July 2017, a summer school as part of EuroClio’s ‘Connecting the Balkans’ series, in cooperation with ePACT, was held in Albania. Entitled ‘Going beyond pride and pain?  History that connects the Balkans’, the event brought together 80 history educators, NGO representatives and officials from Ministries of Education from the region, and celebrated the diversity of the region while sharing ideas on how to teach sensitive history.

Two 'Teaching for Learning' Seminars were organised in Albania in April 2018, and two more in Skopje in September 2018, whereas the last Seminar of the series was held in October 2018 in Republika Srpska all with large attendance and very positive feedback received by the participants.

A needs assessment survey was conducted throughout the Western Balkans among history educators, after an inclusive process of creating a questionnaire and then peer testing it at 6 training seminars. Once finalised, the questionnaire was publicised and more than 800 history educators from across the Western Balkans responded. The results have been analysed and published in a needs assessment report available in English here.

Utilising the CDRSEE’s unique media project ‘Vicinities’ – a regional television talk show – a special episode dedicated to ePACT was filmed in September 2017. It will be broadcast to all of the countries of the Western Balkans during the Autumn/Winter of 2017.

ePACT runs from 01 November 2015 to 31 January 2019.

CSO Partners are:

Albanian History Teachers Association (ALBNA)
Kosovar History Teachers Association (SHMHK)
Macedonian History Teachers Association (ANIM)
Montenegrin History Teachers Association (HIPMONT)
Serbian Association for Social History (UDI)

Supporting Ministries and International Organisations are:

Ministry of Education and Sports, Tirana
Federal Ministry of Education and Science, Sarajevo
Pedagogical Institute, Ministry of Education and Culture, Banja Luka
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Pristina
Bureau for Education Services, Ministry of Education, Podgorica
Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Belgrade
Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)

The project is implemented with the financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation as part of the initiative “NETUCATE - Networked education creating a skills web for participation and sensitivity”.