WESTERN BALKANS – On the occasion of the International Day of Education with the topic “Changing course, transforming education”, sixty secondary schools from the Western Balkans are selected to participate in the Regional Youth Cooperation Office’s (RYCO) Superschools programme. Students and teachers will have a chance to implement school-to-school exchanges as well as to participate in activities dedicated to their capacity building, networking and cooperation.
This year’s marking of the International Day of Education underlines that education is the key to charting the course towards more justice and sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing education crisis. Without remedial action, better support to teachers and increased financing, learning losses and school dropout will continue to rise, reversing progress towards all the Sustainable Development Goals and depriving youth of a future of dignity and opportunity. This is why RYCO and GIZ on behalf of the EU and Germany want to contribute to building more sustainable, inclusive and peaceful futures by investing in young people and their education.
During the first Superschools open call, RYCO received 127 exchange proposals while more than 412 schools from the Western Balkans used the online platform www.superschools.net for networking with other schools. The selection committee had the difficult task of selecting 30 best projects aimed at supporting the peacebuilding and reconciliation processes and intercultural learning and dialogue among schools, students and their communities.
The implementation of the projects will take place from February to May 2022 when each partner school will organize one exchange visit to the partnering one lasting between six and ten days with a group of up to twenty students and one to two teachers. Through the exchange scheme, students and teachers will have a chance to travel, present themselves, their schools and customs to their hosts and learn new things about local communities in different parts of our region.
About the Superschools programme
Superschools is a programme for school exchanges in the Western Balkans 6 with the objectives to support the peacebuilding and reconciliation processes and intercultural learning and dialogue. The programme is being implemented for three years and is part of a multi donor project “Western Balkans School Exchange Scheme” co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) together with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO). The project has a total budget of €5.5 million and contributes to the overall objective of increasing skills and knowledge of young people in the Western Balkans by enhancing education systems and promoting cooperation in the region, through establishing a regional school exchange scheme.
RYCO is an intergovernmental organisation that stewards and promotes regional and intercultural cooperation of young people within and among six Western Balkans societies. RYCO’s programmes focus on creating opportunities for young people to engage in activities that build mutual understanding and reconciliation in the civic, social, educational, cultural and sports domains. RYCO initiates and participates in policy making and advocates for reform. It supports the development of a political and social environment that empowers and facilitates youth exchange.
RYCO puts young people at the centre of its work and believes that they should be creating a culture of mobility, intercultural exchange and reconciliation. Young people should also be active contributors to democratic development, social and economic prosperity, and European integration in an increasingly open Western Balkans region. Six Western Balkans societies should be providing proactive support to youth exchange and youth engagement within the region and across the region.