International Seminar - Good Practices of the Open School Programme
The International Seminar "Good Practices of the Open School Programme" aims to share successful experiences developed in Latin American countries, inspired by the methodology of the Open School Programme. In addition to counting on the participation of speakers from several Latin American countries, where the programme is implemented, the Seminar will also have the presence of Directors of UNESCO Offices in Latin America, experts from the Ministry of Education of Brazil, FLACSO, the Youth Center of Uruguay, UNESCO Chairs and opinion makers.
The Open School Programme: Education and Culture for Peace was a laboratory of ideas of the UNESCO Office in Brazil, which has coordinated its expansion over the years. It is one of the few UNESCO programmes, if not the only one in the world, to have become a public policy.
At the end of the 90s, research undertaken by UNESCO in Brazil demonstrated that the great majority of violent deaths took place on weekends in Brazil, because young women and men in socially vulnerable areas of different cities did not have access to basic social rights, such as sport, cultural and leisure activities and the corresponding infrastructure, which linked to other elements of growing social exclusion, led them to engage in illicit activities. Such a phenomenon generated difficulties for these youths to be accepted and included in the school and in the community, which often led them to drop-out of school and to destructive attitudes.
With these findings in mind, in 2000, among the many actions to celebrate the International Year for a Culture of Peace, UNESCO Brasilia Office launched the “Making Room: Education and Culture of Peace Programme”. The programme was based on the premise of opening public schools, in high risk areas, during the weekends, when violence rates involving youths increased significantly, and offer these youths and their communities cultural, sports and leisure activities.
After a measurable and positive impact of the programme nationwide, linked with the strengthening of public schools and the social inclusion among youths generated by the “Making Room” programme, the Brazilian Federal Government and UNESCO launched, in 2004, the “Open School: Education, Culture, Sports and Jobs for Youths” Programme, a federal public policy following the concept and methodology of the Making Room Programme.
Based on the Open School Programme, which is a success in reducing violence in and around schools and a relatively inexpensive and easily replicable program, other important cooperation projects were developed with the support of the Brasilia Office in some countries in Latin America.
Another South-South cooperation experience is currently being developed in Guinea-Bissau to build a public school, in an extremely socially vulnerable community of 40,000 people. The school shall offer not only formal education, but also provide partners and local community with specific training and capacity building events to implement similar activities to those of the Open School Programme.