The basis on which the school-level approach is founded – School Development Programme (SDP) learning pack was presented recently. Here the policy component and main actors within this component in the ARISE project are introduced.
Why is the policy component important for achieving our goal?
The overall objective of the ARISE project is to strengthen the capacities of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) (both the project partners and the grassroots organisations – AL, BA, MK, SR, XK, TR) for policy development and advocacy in the area of educational equity through regional cooperation and building national coalitions.
At the policy level, it is important to engage in advocacy and constructive policy dialogue with governments regarding support for students with low socio-economic status (SES) background and build national partnerships for the same cause by supporting local grassroots organisations (GROs) to be effective advocates and raising awareness among educational stakeholders on the effect of low SES on schooling and wellbeing of children.
Having that in mind, with the intent to engage and connect the main educational stakeholders dealing with the issue of poverty and supporting students with low socio-economic status (SES) background, within the project six national platforms for knowledge-sharing and cooperation - Policy Coalitions, were established, one in each implementing country.
What is a Policy Coalition (PC)?
Policy Coalitions are composed of representatives of CSOs, schools, grassroots organizations, researchers/academics from the field of poverty, exclusion research, and policymakers/representatives of the government. On the one hand, their task is to bring the specific needs and considerations of their country and provide multi-perspectivity to the topic that needs to be addressed from different angles. On the other hand, Policy Coalition members will by participating and implementing the project activities enhance their knowledge of the effect of low SES on children’s well-being. Moreover, they will also learn about the gap between the policy and practice related to the poverty and equity issues in the country level (national report and policy briefs) as well as the inspiring practices from the region (comparative report). Finally, PC members will develop a national Policy Road Map – a roadmap of the priority actions addressing key issues associated with the low SES background identified and appointed at the PC meetings.
Finally, through cooperation, engagement and participation in the policy activities, all involved stakeholders (project partners, Grassroot organizations and Policy Coalition members) are expected to acquire knowledge and experience for competent engagement in evidence-based advocacy and to influence policies at different levels to better meet the needs of students with low socio-economic status (SES) background, leading to creating an environment which promotes partnership and dialogue between civil society and public institutions, thus further developing participatory culture and accountability in the society.
Where are we now?
In the second year of the ARISE: Action for Reducing Inequalities in Education project several activities focused on the policy component have been implemented. The year started with the establishment of the Policy Coalition in each implementing project country. At the constitutive meetings, key issues were identified and the first policy goals for the development of the Policy Road Maps were set. The second project year has been concluded with the Regional Policy Lab held in Zagreb, where participants, project partners, GROs and PC representatives, were working in national teams on the policy goals set by developing the first elements of the Policy Road Maps – a tool that will help them achieve set policy goals by dividing it into segments and steps and developing and planning each element before taking actions.
As the project partners continue to work on further developing Policy Road Maps and achieving the set policy goal follow the ARISE web page and our social media channels (FB, TW) to find out about the composition of the Policy Coalitions and the set policy goal for each country.