The BRAVEdu project - “Breaking the Poverty Taboo: Roles and Responsibilities of Education” - had its premises in the fact that poverty and social exclusion limit opportunities of individuals to achieve their full potential by affecting their wellbeing and lowering educational outcomes.
The overall objective of BRAVEdu was to strengthen the capacity of schools to support disadvantaged learners from low socioeconomic status (SES) in active participation in school life and in achieving better learning outcomes through exploring and analysing policies and practices implemented in Estonia that enabled it to severely reduce the effect of low SES on student achievement. Within the frame of the project, an analytical report on the Estonian policies and the Hand Book Breaking the Poverty Taboo – Creative ideas for mitigating the effects of poverty: school-based activities were issued.
As stated in the handbook, «students can contribute to school life and create a positive school climate by participating in various extracurricular activities. Such activities should be proposed by students, according to their interests. In the case of volunteering activities, they should address the problems identified by the students, and activities should be suggested by students as well. In the case of Estonia, the importance of extracurricular activities has been recognised so that each school has a full-time professional leisure time manager».
The publication features workshops and activities tailored for teachers, parents and students to support them, different co-actors in the education process, in tackling effects of the difference in the socio-economic status in their own schools, as well as the local community. The handbook covers topics of self-reflection, positive self-perception, recognition of personal talents, defining one’s own goals, encouraging aspirations, empathy, togetherness, all of which have one aim and that is to support equity at classroom and school level.
An example: “I see a human”, by Pula Grammar School, Croatia
The school implemented a project called “I see a human” with the goal of directing and empowering teachers to talk to students about economic differences, as well as to solve problems that arise from those differences. The aim was to provide the students and the teachers with the knowledge about the existence, causes and consequences of poverty around the world and in Croatia, as well as in their own local community. The students conducted research in groups on the concept of poverty and its various aspects. Afterwards, each student group chose one topic from the many identified: the causes and spread of poverty, economic migration, social mobility, poverty in Croatia and the EU, the link between poverty and education, growing-up, health, violence, etc. They worked on the chosen topic and then presented their findings to other students. Third graders listened to the presentations of their peers in their sociology lectures, and the fourth graders in their politics and economics lectures.
The whole collection of activities and workshops is available here
Project: Breaking the Poverty Taboo: Roles and Responsibilities of Education
Funder: EC (Erasmus+ Key Action 2)
Consortium: Network of Education Policy Centers (coordinator, www.edupolicy.net), Forum for freedom in Education (www.fso.hr); Elementary school dr. Vinko Žganec (os-vzganca-zg.skole.hr); Praxis (www.praxis.ee); Foundation for education and cultural initiatives Step by Step (www.stepbystep.org.mk); Elementary school Dane Krapcev; Educational Research Institute (www.pei.si); Elementary school Tišina (www.os-tisina.si)