Our strategic school-to-school partnership Erasmus+ project scheduled between 2017-2019 is called HOPE - “Human Opportunities for Peace in Europe”. The title is our motto as the project intends to teach our students the meaning of both political responsibility as awareness and wants to encourage them to become committed citizens. Our guiding concept consists of political education, a culture of debate, tolerance as well as a culture of togetherness.
Five secondary schools from Luxembourg as the coordinating school and schools in Zaragoza/Spain, Lübbecke/Germany, Zilina/Slovakia and Torun/Poland as partners developed a project fostering high quality skills and civic competence in school as they realised that young people struggle to fit into society, to find the active place as responsible citizens and to meet labour market expectations in a Europe seemingly falling apart in front of our eyes. A growing social gap, refugees crises caused by civil wars, right-wing parties gaining ground in many countries convinced them to adequately adapt their school policy plans. We find that education systems have a crucial role in building the right 21st century skills and competences.
The HOPE project includes not only the key competences that relate to traditional school subjects but also cross-curricular ones that enable people to pursue learning throughout their lives, contribute to democratic societies and to succeed in today's and tomorrow's world of work with its demand for high skills combined with creativity and the ability to innovate. The five schools have implemented working groups named HOPE clubs for voluntary motivated students (group size between 8 and 25 students at each school) being interested in making a change in society. They are coached by committed teachers.
The HOPE project innovation contains 3 core pillars to make young people tackle international crises and engage themselves in European peace development:
- Diplomatic competence: Fostering our students’ political knowledge / awareness by preparing them for MUN conferences
- Social action in society: Make students understand themselves as active potential of change in society by initiating charity projects
- Social action in school: Become active ambassadors of peace by training our students as mediators in conflict situation of their classmate
Students get the opportunity to improve their communication skills (argumentation, negotiation, public speaking), critical thinking, research, language and digital competences. They collaborate in the virtual space (TwinSpace, E-twinning site) and face-to-face in multinational project groups created at schools as well as during model conferences imitating the UN (MUNs) with international setting. Furthermore, they get in touch with local charity institutions and political authorities (Red Cross, Amnesty International, "Zentrum für politische Bildung", European Youth Parliament etc.). Together the schools work on a common guideline for attending and also conducting MUN conferences.