NATIONAL “START THE CHANGE” CONFERENCE HELD IN ZAGREB
On 5th and 6th of July 2022 Forum for Freedom in Education held a two-day national conference in Zagreb where we have presented the results of the project “Start the Change”. The main focus of the conference was the student voice presented by various lectures, presentations of projects, talks, discussions and panels. The conference was opened on both days with dynamic panels with prominent educational experts from Croatia: scientists, university professors, principals, directors of educational programs and a special guest – student Ema Kovačević, who presented her vision of an inclusive school and the importance of children and youth participation.
The central point of the conference was the presentation of students’ school projects by students themselves. Students in the project “Start the change!” together with their teachers have been improving the voice of students in their schools for the last two years, despite numerous challenges, especially the pandemic. Students of Ivan Meštrović Elementary School from Zagreb, then Bjelovar Commercial and Trade School and Vrapče Nursing High School with their mentors presented their initiatives – analysing and improving the school curricula, school policies and documents; but also improving premises and physical space in which they find themselves every day; then also the initiation of school projects in which they stood up for what is truly important to them – good mental health, mutual respect and understanding of students and teachers, improving the school environment, increasing the sense of belonging to the school community, etc. Valuable publications of the project were also presented, promoted and disseminated to over 70 participants of the conference.