DH O4 I want to know more about participation at the social environment level

Participation at the social environment level

The collaboration between schools and their social environment, which includes local communities, non-formal education providers, NGOs and businesses, is a key aspect of social participation in education. This cooperation can enrich the educational offer, foster social inclusion, and create opportunities for learning and development.

An approach that emphasises participation is open schooling. This approach is “open” in terms of timing, location, teaching roles, instructional methods, modes of access, and other factors related to learning processes. It involves collaboration between schools and local communities, with students and teachers inviting parents and their communities to jointly develop research and innovative projects that address significant local challenges and contribute to community development.

To ensure the quality and sustainability of this cooperation, it’s essential to have a clear and transparent framework for participation, as well as adequate support and resources. It is also important to respect the autonomy and voice of each group involved in participatory school governance (teachers-parents-students) when admitting non-formal educators and businesses to the school, while limiting the interference of politicians in this area. The cooperation between schools and other social partners should be based on the principles of equality, non-discrimination, and non-ideologisation, and should aim to achieve common educational goals and values. The activities of businesses in schools should be subject to careful reflection and evaluation to avoid monetising students and their activities, to ensure equal access to education and materials, and to respect the principles of fair competition. The participation of religious actors in schools depends on the cultural and political context, and we do not propose a specific model in this respect. Regardless of the existing framework, educational freedom must be upheld, and personal freedom and the ability for students to express themselves should be respected.