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The promotion of the student voice and participation is the key policy focus of the Start the Change project. With that in mind, goal of the first policy activity, Policy Lab „Policy and Practice to Start the Change“ was to introduce and raise awareness of the topic of students’ participation and importance of students’ voices in connection with policy change and to “set the stage” for the future policy activities.

NEPC and SIRIUS prepared a follow-up paper providing the overview of the policies on students’ participation in the project implementing countries, as an introduction into the current situation regarding the topic and preparation for the future policy activities that require the understanding of the issue in the national policy context. Data shows how students’ participation in the implementing countries, both on national/regional and school level is not recognized as a value in the policy and students are usually only informed and consulted in decision making process.

Moreover, practices from The Netherlands and Estonia were also presented as examples of good practice where students participation is highly acknowledged. Students have a lot of autonomy and that is reflected in how much the students participate and how that participation is implemented.

Paper also includes main conclusions and recommendations from the Policy Lab and outlines future policy activities that will contribute to our goal of promoting the students voice and participation.

Main conclusion of the event is that there is lack of awareness about the importance of the students’ participation in the implementing countries, however, participants in this policy event recognized the importance of students’ participation for their work and neglected position it has in their countries. The need for better monitoring and evaluation mechanisms was also pointed out as a necessity as well as teaching democracy and human rights through democratic school governance in schools.

Consortium will continue to raise awareness on the importance of students’ voice and participation trough implementation of the school projects and other project activities on school level. Especially now, in the context of pandemic and distance learning that left significant impact on students’ learning, wellbeing and their ability to participate in the decision-making process. Moreover, intent is also to work on raising interest and involvement of educational stakeholders regarding this topic trough future policy project activities. Next policy activity will be second Policy Lab that will be dedicated to developing national Policy Road Maps which will outline the country specific policy issues and provide recommendation for policy actions.

You can read the paper here.

Author: Iva Perković, NEPC

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