To strengthen students’ self-governance | eDruva

Students of Straupe elementary school Jānis Everts, Elisa Kārkliņa and Matīss Vanags together with teacher Elita Pakalni. Photo: from the album

Students of the 7th and 8th grades of Straupe elementary school acquire skills and knowledge that will help to further strengthen student self-governance.

The school is involved in the initiative for the development of self-governments of educational institutions “Contact”, the purpose of which is to strengthen the development of self-governments of educational institutions, to promote the active civic participation of students, through the implementation of students’ initiative projects. “This year, the promotion of active and systemic self-governance activities in schools was supported, including awareness-raising about young people with limited opportunities and their involvement in the project, as well as communication between school self-governances,” says Elita Pakalne, deputy principal of Straupe elementary school in teaching and teacher of Latvian language and literature.

The competition to participate in the project was great. After evaluating 240 questionnaires, the student self-government of Straupe elementary school was chosen to implement the project. “We are glad that we were among the 119 educational institutions,” says E. Pakalne.

Participation in “Contact” started with three days of training, in which the students gained knowledge that will help them to develop and implement the project. Straupe elementary school was represented by the head of the municipality Jānis Ekerts, 7th grade student Elisa Kārkliņa, 8th grade student Matīss Vanags and teacher E. Pakalne . “The learning days were very intense, fulfilling, thought-provoking. They talked about communication and other problems that affect the everyday life of young people, including inclusion, which does not mean only people with disabilities, but also a different perception or even different clothes. Experience shows that young people sometimes have difficulty accepting both those who are equal to them and those who are completely different.”

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There were a total of seven schools in the training that took place in Priekuly in mid-March: Kocēni Primary School, Cesvaine Secondary School, Lielvārde Primary School, Lizum Primary School, Gulbīš Primary School, Valmiera State Gymnasium. The representatives of the schools whose educational institutions had participated in “Contact” in previous years told about their experience.

“They shared benefits and failures, about aspects that the project did not support and finance, about misunderstandings, about what was later acceptable to the students from the implemented project, what was not. We got valuable information about how to build this project. At the beginning, I also had a vision of something else, but after the exchange of opinions it became clear that the educators had one idea, but the children came to solving completely different problems in their discussions. It was a great opportunity for children and educators to cooperate,” says E. Pakalne.

On the other hand, the educational institutions participating in “Contact” for the first time have told what measures to promote inclusion and participation are being implemented in their school, how student self-government works.
E. Pakalne says that the students have many ideas that could be implemented in their school. “They thought they should get home sooner so they can start working on these ideas right away,” adds the teacher with a smile.

Now the students are given time to prepare the project, the idea should be developed this school year, but it will be implemented in the first semester of the next school year. That is why 7th and 8th grade students are involved in the project, not ninth graders, who will finish school very soon.

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Ina Mieze, a specialist from Cēsi region, has been attached to the Straupe elementary school team in the project. “We hope that it will help to understand the deadlines for the development of the work, because it is supposed to be examined in several commissions, committees, in order to receive approval from the Cēsu County Council as well,” said E. Pakalne.

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