Civic еducation in аctionWe kick-started the year with an expert meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Education, university professors, civil society activists and teachers, trying to wrap our heads around how best to test the civic education school curricula that are about to be introduced in 2020 across the whole of Bulgaria in the 11th and 12th grades of high-school. We paired experts with teachers and built modules that correspond to the curricula and launched the big journey across the country. Between March and December 2018 each of the 9 expert teams had to travel 4 times to the respective teacher and his class and using non-formal methods, tackled civic education topics with classes of the size of 20-25 students. We expect the final evaluation from the students in 2019 and really look forward to seeing what our visits meant for them.
Trainings on methods of teaching civics for high school teachersFurther, we met with over 100 teachers at 6 trainings across the country on how to teach civics using non-formal methods. As a number of teachers put it: “This has been the best training I have ever been to and I really don’t want to go home.” We are now an officially certified teacher training organization.
Citizens’ voice: what does democracy mean to us?We organized few more town-hall meetings across Bulgaria, using different methods to discuss what democracy means to us today.
The role of civil society – the fate of Bulgarian Jews during the HolocaustIn a series of lectures between March and May in 8 schools around Bulgaria, we discussed with students the importance of the active role of civil society while elaborating on the complex historical context and events of the Holocaust and World War II in Bulgaria and the region. We developed a methodology using elements of existing approaches of organizations like Facing History and Ourselves and Yad Vashem. Associate Prof. Albena Taneva helped us get the structure right and train a group of her students to visit some of the schools with us. We wrapped the campaign by co-organizing an award ceremony with the Ministry of Education with students nominated for their research projects on “Places and memory”, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the rescue of Bulgarian Jews. their work was rich, creative and compassionate with video materials, oral history, and work with archives. The students gathered around the conclusion that remembering means constant efforts in memory work and that history lessons should never be taken for granted.
Summer SchoolIn June we organized the first ever summer school on memory and democracy in Belene, the achingly beautiful town on the Danube river where the largest communist concentration camp was located on the island of Persin. Some 24 youngsters aged 18 to 24 joined us for an intense week of lectures, conversations, reflections, site and archival work, wrapped up by developing own memory projects.
Teaching our neighbours‘ communist historyBetween October and November we carried out 5 open lessons across Bulgaria on the communist history of Central and Eastern Europe. From our work we know that not only do young people not know the own national history of communism, they also know little to nothing about the history of their neighbors. In this 2-year long project supported by Erasmus plus our partners from Bosnia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and we develop innovative set of new communism-focused history teaching materials across borders.
- Test the civic education curricula at another 6 schools
- Train at least another 100 teachers on methods of teaching civic education
- Our summer school on memory and democracy is aimed at becoming a tradition
- 13 exciting discussions in Bulgarian cities and towns, culminating with an event in Sofia on November 10th, all marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of communism in Bulgaria. The citizens’ discussions are aimed as venues for stories and ideas about how Bulgarians identify themselves 30 years post 1989.
If you want to support our work, get in touch with us, we are always looking for politically and civically engaged volunteers as well as financial support.
SOFIA PLATFORM FOUNDATION
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