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Interdisciplinary pilot programme At the School of Open Cohesion comes to classrooms

The Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development, in collaboration with PiNA – Association for Culture and Education, has initiated a pilot project called At the School of Open Cohesion. The project involves eight secondary schools from various regions of Slovenia. It is an interdisciplinary educational programme that combines civic education, digital and statistical skills acquisition, and data journalism competencies.
Dijaki in dijakinje se v razredu spoznavajo z evropsko kohezijsko politiko

At the School of Open Cohesion School in practice | Author PiNA – Association for Culture and Education

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The pilot project at the School of Open Cohesion (ASOC) has a two-fold objective. Firstly, it aims to increase awareness among young people regarding the significance of cohesion policy. Secondly, the project seeks to demonstrate the positive impact of cohesion policy on the development of local areas by showcasing tangible projects. ASOC also intends to equip young people with the necessary tools to actively participate in the design, implementation, and monitoring of cohesion policy in Slovenia.

“Too often, concepts such as cohesion are presented as complex. We should bring such content closer to young people to encourage their involvement. We believe that, as with other areas, inclusion is the key to success. In the frame of the project, young people will not only gain in-depth knowledge about cohesion policy but also develop competencies in critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and interpersonal and communication skills,” said Nena Bibica, PiNE assistant, on the importance of involving young people in project activities.

Dr Aleksander Jevšek, Minister of Cohesion and Regional Development, underlined the importance of the project: “I think it is essential that we bring European Cohesion Policy, which is the main investment policy of the EU, closer to the people, and especially young people. Slovenia has been eligible to European Cohesion funding since 2004. With the help of EU funding, we have implemented more than 10,000 projects, designing numerous success stories of individuals, companies, municipalities, NGOs and other organisations. We encounter EU-funded projects at every turn, whether they’re related to drinking water or wastewater treatment, getting small and medium-sized enterprises up and running faster, investing in sustainable mobility or better use of energy, caring for vulnerable groups, the elderly and youth, or better e-services for all citizens.”

Eight Slovenian secondary schools have joined the project.

The project At the School of Open Cohesion is open to all types of secondary schools. For the 2023/2024 school year, eight secondary schools from different regions of Slovenia are participating in the project, namely Secondary School of Economics and Business Koper, Secondary Technical School Koper, Biotechnical School Šempeter, Gimnazija Nova Gorica, Gimnazija Ormož, Secondary Preschool Teacher Training School, Gimnazija and Gimnazija of Arts Ljubljana, Technical Education Centre Ljubljana, and Education Centre Piramida Maribor, Secondary School for Food and Nutrition.

“The project is very innovative and, above all, reflects what the mentor-teachers of the Interdisciplinary Thematic Set (ITS) course are most concentrated on, namely on students becoming more self-initiative, reflective, curious, and learning about ways and methods of dealing with various challenges in society today. As a librarian and a teacher, I speak in favour of students learning how to search various sources and, of course, broaden their horizons on as many different topics as possible through searching for information,” said the mentor of Gimnazija Nova Gorica when applying for the project.

Using public data and information on European Cohesion Policy-funded projects in their local area, students develop a civil-society monitoring project to learn about the effectiveness and efficiency of European Cohesion Policy investments, publish the research results and actively involve citizens in their research work.

The programme includes fieldwork and research, the production of a creative product, the organisation of showcase events for the participating teams and a final event for all participating students.

The winning team will go on an excursion to a capital in Europe.

At the closing event in May 2024, the 2023/2024 school year winning team will be announced. The winning team will go on a 3-day excursion to one of the European capitals.

The project At the School of Open Cohesion (ASOC) has been successfully implemented in Italy, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Portugal and Croatia. In total, approximately 35,000 students from more than 1,500 classes, who are supported by approximately 3,200 teachers, are participating in the project.