Students Symposium on Education as a means of social cohesion

Education as a means of Social Cohesion - Greece

Following the international discussions on the post 2015 educational agenda, the ASP net Senior High Schools of the Prefecture of Attica, Greece, participated in the annual Student’s Symposium.  For 2015, the theme of the Symposium was “Education as a means of social cohesion”, which falls under UNESCO’s discussions on the educational agenda beyond 2015, as a contribution to the international dialogue.

At the Symposium, which took place on 26-27 February 2015, participated the UNESCO teams of 22 schools. Each team consisted of 10 students (16-18 years old) and one or two teachers. The students had prepared the subject before and during the symposium they discussed it in plenary and in working groups. Finally they adopted a resolution.

The project involved participatory methodology through cooperative learning. The students played the key role and teachers were mere facilitators and do not intervened. Students learned to listen to each other, to discuss in a democratic way, to justify their ideas, to respect others’ opinions and take decisions after negotiations in group discussions. Students worked in commissions like in the UNESCO General Conference with a President, a Secretary and a Secretariat.

The overall aim of the meeting was to give young people the possibility to speak about education and make proposals, as the major actors and the future citizens.

The annual two-day Symposium, of which the added value is really important, responds to the need of making active and responsible global citizens. It already counts 15 years of activity in Greece (every year there is a different theme). It is organized by the ASP net Senior High Schools Attica, the Ministry of Education and the National Commission for UNESCO and in some cases the parents association. It is a cooperation of different stakeholders (students, teachers, ministry, national commission, parents).