Workshop in Brussels: different EU stakeholders sharing experiences on student voice

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On the 24th of May, the STC partner SIRIUS Network organised an EU level meeting in Brussels, in a hybrid format. During this meeting, there were various stakeholders present from OBESSU, Don Bosco International and Lifelong Learning Platform, ESHA (European School Heads Association) as well as partners from the project and policy makers associated with the project from Croatia, Portugal and North Macedonia.

Discussions focused around the benefits of students’ voice and ensuring the inclusive environment at schools for the participation of students of different backgrounds. The participants from the project shared what they recognized as the most important changes that need to happen on school and national policy level and how the national policy roadmaps to be developed in three countries will provide platform for this changes to take place.  

The stakeholders present in the room provided some feedback as well as posed some interesting questions. They shared their relevant experience and projects they are working on and opened the discussion for future collaboration and dissemination of STC project results. From Don Bosco International, Alessandra shared an interesting experience attending a ministerial conference for the implementation of the child guarantee, in which 27 Member States Ministers were present. They managed to bring 15 young children from vulnerable contexts, to talk about school engagement and more. They were between 8-17 years old and a diverse group. On the other hand, Juanma  from OBESSU (The Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions), shared how they organized an event in 2019, in which they were supposed to have three Members of European Parliament, with students from all over Europe. The MEPs stayed just for few minutes and then left, so the students ended up having a conversation just among themselves and they did not feel heard.

In the follow up discussion, the participants shared different obstacles for the students not being heard and listened to, including the lack of teachers’ competences for student participation and not being able to support the voice of those who belong to the marginalized groups. With those experiences, we observed how important it is to provide children with the experiences and, how difficult it can be in some situations. The project team will keep working on it for its improvement and to achieve the goals of our project and with the support of partners and participants of this workshop, the statement for the EU level policy makers will be drawn in order to emphasise all benefits of the student participation and importance of its mainstreaming in educational system.

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