Non-formal Education: Still Education!
The level of active involvement and support for social and societal issues by Romanians is very low. Many problems remain unsolved, because most proposals for change are not sufficiently supported by citizens either publically or politically. In other words, advocacy activities are at a low level in Romania. Additionally, Romania lacks opportunities for younger generations to develop advocacy skills, which has long-term negative consequences for participative democracy.
Non-formal education has already shown that, by complementing the competencies offered through formal education, it creates a context for youth to become more responsible, more involved in the problems of their community, and more eager to change the world around them. Our desire is that these non-formal education programs will continue to remain healthy and offer even greater results, but to succeed in achieving this, we need greater support from the public.
We have launched this project, “Non-formal Education: Still Education!” which we hope will create a space for fruitful dialogue between actors in the field of non-formal education and public authorities. In addition, we aim to provide a framework in which youth can develop a civic spirit and greater respect for human rights through the development of community-level advocacy campaigns as part of our IMPACT educational model.
The voice of non-formal education, in collaboration with public authorities
Although the role of non-formal education programs is recognized in National Education Law no. 1/2011, there are challenges to efficiently implementing this type of program in schools. In order to overcome those challenges, we must respond to a number of needs. These needs were identified in the publication of the “Analytical Report and Recommendations for the Development of Public Policy and Strategies for Supporting Non-formal Education in the Educational System.” The report was conducted by Dr. Oana Moşoiu and published with the support of the Romanian-American Foundation, a strategic partner of New Horizons Foundation.
The needs identified are as follows: 1) Supporting the development of funding mechanisms and instruments for non-formal educational activities; 2) Recognizing the competencies developed through non-formal educational activities; 3) Rewarding activities performed by teachers using rewards recognized by the educational system; 4) Validating best practice models and improvements in best practice in the field of non-formal education; 5) Recognizing the “Another School” initiative as a context for supporting and promoting non-formal education more broadly; 6) Developing and implementing mechanisms to ensure the quality of non-formal education.
In order to offer responses to the needs mentioned above, we will create a space for collaboration between actors involved in non-formal education (a variety of persons in the educational system, all the way from teachers to the National Minister of Education; NGOs; representatives of institutions and companies; and others interested in the role of non-formal education in the development of youth and society). Our desire is to speak with a common voice that supports non-formal education in Romania.
In order to accomplish this, we have planned the following:
- 4 national public cafés in order to propose solutions for the support of non-formal education. These discussions will take place in Bucharest, Craiova, Cluj, and Iaşi, with a total of 160 participants.
- 3 prioritized areas of intervention for the support of non-formal education, coming from the list of identified needs and collaboration between participants at the public café discussions.
- 24 people selected, from the 160 public café participants, to create three working groups which will produce 3 position papers on the priority areas of intervention. Each of the working groups will have three physical meetings and two online meetings dedicated to developing these position papers.
- Launching of proposals for changing public policy in the area of non-formal education, through conferences and six roundtable discussions with space for public dialogue
- We hope for at least one modification in public policy regarding the support of non-formal education in Romania.
- Over 80 NGOs will take an active role in this endeavor.
The initiative supports the previous efforts of projects which succeeded in mobilizing various NGOs in the direction of supporting education and advocacy, such as FDSC and ANPCDFP, which developed the Non-formal Education Network, and the Volume Federation.