REC hosts Second SEEDLING Steering Committee Meeting
The Second SEELING Steering Committee Meeting, held in Szentendre, Hungary, on October 17, 2017, brought together representatives from project beneficiary countries Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, and Serbia.
In addition to REC project staff and management personnel, more than 15 high-level representatives from the national governments, such as SEEDLING Focal Points from the Ministry of Education and project contact persons from the Ministry of Environment, met to discuss project-related progress and results in each beneficiary country.
The specific objectives of the meeting were to:
- present the latest developments of SEEDLING project activities;
- showcase the latest results in educational reforms per country;
- stimulate discussion on the TEEN Pack educational tool currently under development;
- facilitate the sharing of experiences and networking with stakeholders for further cooperation; and
- promote education for sustainable development.
The opening session, chaired by REC Advisor Gordana Kozhuharova, featured opening remarks from Mihail Dimovski, REC Executive Director, and Monika Tortschanoff, Programme Manager at the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). Afterwards, SEEDLING Project Manager from the REC, Kornelija Radovanovikj, introduced the project activities and summarised activities related to the SEEDLING Monitoring and Evaluation Plan.
“For an organisation that has considerable expertise in education for sustainable development [ESD], SEEDLING is one of the REC’s flagship projects,” said the REC Executive Director. “The UN Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] can only be achieved through educational reforms, and SEEDLING is a regional project that aims to increase awareness of the SDGs through educational curricula. This is extremely important when considering that the SDGs are embedded in policy development for EU accession. So, I’m very pleased that this project is running well and generously reported."
“Austria and the REC have a long-standing partnership that is not limited to funding, but also involves promoting environmental and sustainable solutions,” said Tortschanoff from the ADA. “This meeting marks an occasion to continue dialogue on experiences and achievements thus far. The SDGs are ambitious goals, and it’s up to all countries to monitor progress so that we can all learn from each other.
“Austria highly values education,” Tortschanoff continued, “and it’s important that the SDGs are in place to guide future generations. I would furthermore like to highlight the importance of the aspect of coordination between stakeholders—to know who is doing what and to stay focused on developing synergies.”
“The SDGs are the reason we are all here,” Radovanovikj stated in her introduction and summary. “I’d like to thank all the national coordinators and country Focal Points, because it’s not easy to coordinate a project involving seven countries when each, to some extent, has different activities.”
The REC project manager then outlined the major work being carried out in three clusters, namely: institutional strengthening and educational reforms; development of an online tool (i.e. the TEEN Pack); and awareness raising of job opportunities through a small grants programme to be implemented in 2018.
Kozhuharova noted that it is a pleasure to be involved and associated with a project that has the capability to work real change on a systemic level—namely, through educational reform.
The late morning and early afternoon portions of the meeting were dedicated to updates from each of the seven participating countries, with presentations from focal points and project coordinators. The country Focal Points were all very supportive of the SEEDLING activities, emphasising that all the activities are complementary with their current plans for educational reforms and teacher trainings. The SEEDLING project can also take credit for increased communication and improved cooperation between the participating national-level institutions.
TEEN Pack presentation
REC Webmaster Daniel Mirea and Senior Graphic Designer Sylvia Magyar gave a visual presentation of the TEEN Pack tool currently under development. They began with a brief review of similar toolkit websites—i.e. the Air Pack and Green Pack.
At this stage, only the image content has been uploaded, Mirea explained. The toolkit will not be developed for mobile phone, but is iPad and tablet-friendly. The design is “playful and colourful”, and every SDG has its own colour scheme. The goals themselves are divided into subsections, such as goals and targets. Each country will have its own content, and country-specific targets will be described for each country.
Activities will be a key feature of the TEEN Pack, under such headings as: Role Play, Research, Brainstorm, Watch, Debate, Visit, Solve and others, and there are connected activities for each SDG. Tests are included in the toolkit as well, which teachers can hide on the website if they choose. A glossary will be added to explain terminology, and global links will be provided for cross-referencing.
To conclude the meeting, Kornelija Radovanovikj summarised the SEEDLING project's "small grants" phase. A total of 30 grants will be awarded in six countries (all beneficiary countries except Moldova) from a total amount of approximately EUR 200,000. Awards will be divided according to the size of the participating countries.
After the selection of the grantees , there will be a winners’ meeting and short training organised in each country. Grant recipients will have approximately six months for grant implementation (January to June 2018). A final regional conference will take place in September or October 2018.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.