Bringing policy to practice

An external evaluation report concludes that the Regional Summer Academies are important examples of how Council of Europe educational policies, like the Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education, can be implemented in practice.

“The programme succeeded in showing how CoE policies, initiatives, campaigns and materials (…) can be introduced to teachers, school leaders and community actors (…) that enables school teams to understand how they can be used to help address ‘real issues’ concerning EDC/HRE in their schools and communities.”

The evaluation was carried out by professor David Kerr. In the evaluation, Prof. Kerr highlights the programme's wide outreach. By 2016, the programme consisted of four Regional Summer Academies and two national Academies. All in all, 457 school heads, teachers, students, NGO representatives, parents and representatives of local authorities took part in the Academies, in turn involving approx. 50 000 beneficiaries in 26 countries across Europe. Due to its emphasis on a whole school approach and participants as multipliers, the Academies have involved a large number of beneficiaries through concrete actions such as classes, trainings and community projects.

Places at the academies are in great demand, with the number of applications far outstripping available places. In 2016, only 11 per cent of applicants could take part in an Academy training.

The European Wergeland Centre

According to the evaluation report, the programme had impact on individuals, schools, civil society and policy level:

• Teachers were trained in EDC/HRE and reported greater confidence to apply those approaches in the classroom.
• School leaders/teachers gained an increased awareness about the importance of teamwork.
• Young people have a greater interest and motivation to participate in classes and school life, including low-achieving students.
• Civil society organizations collaborated with schools to address issues of concern in the community.
• Schools reported a more positive climate, with openness and willingness to listen to each other.
• Schools reported improved relations among students-students, teacher-students, etc.
• Academies are referred to as a model of good practices in EDC/ HRE by practitioners and policy makers e.g. CoE Charter review 2016, Eurydice report 2016.
• Increased awareness at ministry level to connect policies and practices concerning teaching & learning, school culture and community partnership.

EWC organizes the Regional Summer Academies programme in cooperation with several national ministries of education and other national educational institutions who consider the Academies as valuable arenas for addressing issues high on the agenda, such as inclusion of refugees and other marginalized groups. The evaluation report emphasizes that “the programme has underlined the appetite and capacity for regions and countries in Europe to promote democracy and human rights through education as a means to address pressing societal issues and concerns. It has proved very flexible and adaptable in addressing a range of societal issues and concerns across regions and countries.”

Download the full evaluation here:

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