“Students’ participation: Policy and Practice to Start the Change”

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The Start the Change project activities intend to result in developing inclusive social educational policies on local, national, EU and international level by using a threefold approach – informing policy makers, involving policy makers, and advocating to policy makers.

First step towards the abovementioned goal was taken through the background desk analysis and literature overview on the topic of students’ participation conducted by the partner organization NEPC and SIRIUS as a necessary preparation for the future policy event ‘Policy and Practice to Start the Change’.

As the Consortium agreed to emphasise the importance of students’ voice throughout the project, Professor Jelena Vranješević for NEPC explored the importance of students’ participation on school and education level, and policy analyst Mialy Dermish from SIRIUS explored students’ participation on the level of policy making.

The authors tried to provide answers to the following questions:

•          Why is students’ participation important?

•          What are common obstacles for students’ participation?

•          To what extent can students participate in policy making on educational level?

•          What are the main challenges they are facing?

Main findings are that participation at both the school level and the educational-policy level is a wholly beneficial activity to children and students involved and creates the healthy basis for a democratic and participative society. Not only that it provides developmental continuity because it enables children to acquire competencies that are important for adulthood, from the earliest age, but it also has great transformative potential. It transforms the power relations between children and adults: instead of hierarchical power model in which adults exercise all power, participation advocates for cooperative power relations that are based on dialogue, negotiation and cooperation between children and adults.

To learn more about the topic read the full report here.

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