The Network of Democratic Citizenship Schools project, supported by ERASMUS + Programme, was the result of a partnership between 3 schools and 3 civil society organizations from Poland, Portugal and Slovenia aiming to promote active citizenship through the creation of a quality referral (the Scale of Reference For Participatory Citizenship Schools) and an European Network of Democratic Citizenship Schools. It consisted of various activities – research, sharing of best practices, and experimentation of different approaches of school participation, local seminars, a training course and the International Conference Participatory Schools 4 Better Democracy that took place in April 2017, in Faro, Portugal.
With project circle (as well as funding) coming to an end, individuals, schools and civil society organizations that created this Network feel the relevance of continuing to nurture the established relations and open space to all those who believe in the central role that schools can play in promoting a culture of active participation, stimulating experiences of citizenship in a safe and nurturing environment and effectively contributing to the democratic construction of society.
The Network of Democratic Citizenship Schools (NDCS) aims to be the space for regular public schools that intend to start their path to become Democratic Citizenship Schools, by enhancing Participation of students, parents, teachers and other staff in the decision-making process in all school dimensions (learning, governance and relations with the community) while ensuring full inclusion of all. The Network main goals are to raise awareness, promote the dissemination of good practices, enhance the professional development of teachers, promote school actors’ voice, support capacity building in schools and promote schools and educational systems re-structuring and re-culturing processes for Democratic Participation.
But not only schools can be part of this Network. Civil Society Organizations (CSO) working in youth and citizen Participation, using non-formal education and other alternative experiential learning methodologies, are also full members, providing technical support, inspiration, out-of-the-box ideas, room for experimenting, flexibility and lots of energy! Following our rich experience, we vividly recommend the creation of schools-CSO local partnerships for the promotion of School Democracy. Additionally, we intent to crate a curator group, composed by experts, practitioners, trainers and scholars that can serve as catalysers of school and CSO members experiences and support the Network in advocacy and awareness raising activities.
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