Within the German Development Cooperation project “Dialogue on Employment Creation, Initiative and Dual Education”, GIZ has established cooperation with the European Training Foundation (ETF) in order to implement the program “Partnerships for Innovation in Teaching and Learning”. The program is part of the ETF initiative “Creating New Learning”, which includes research, projects, webinars and a community of innovative practitioners, and aims to develop and share knowledge and know-how about innovations in teaching and learning that would be relevant to actors in partner countries.
For the implementation of the program in Serbia, ETF has joined knowledge and expertise with GIZ and the Institute for Improvement of Education of the Republic of Serbia. In September 2021, 6 schools were identified for participation in the project: Vlasotince Technical School, Užice Technical School, Požega Technical School, Catering and Tourism School in Vrnjačka Banja, Aviation secondary School in Belgrade and Chemical and Medical School in Vršac. During the fall of 2021, the teachers at these schools participated in approximately 20 hours of training organized by the ETF in cooperation with the Education Forum. The result of that process is innovative pedagogical practices such as project work, greater application of collaborative learning or the design of authentic learning tasks that teachers and their students applied in projects implemented during 2022.
Thanks to the support and resources provided by ETF and GIZ, the selected schools implemented a total of 9 projects. Through an innovative approach to teaching and learning, the goal was to develop students’ motivation for learning, communication skills, creativity, a sense of solidarity, cooperation and teamwork. Realized projects are a good example of the transition from traditional to project teaching which develops entrepreneurial skills in students and encourages critical thinking, informed decision-making, problem solving and planning. Certain projects highlighted some of the current imperatives of educational policies at the European level. This primarily refers to the improvement of digital skills, the use of web tools and information technologies in the implementation of tasks, as well as the inclusion of elements of the green agenda in education, which is particularly visible in projects aimed at developing a responsible attitude towards the environment.
One of the implemented projects is the “Benches connect us” project of the Vlasotince Technical School. The goal of this project was to develop students’ motivation for learning, ability for teamwork and self-initiative, as well as awareness of environmental preservation and protection. As a result of the project, a bench has been constructed where students can not only spend time and socialize, but they can also easily charge their mobile phones and electronic devices. In addition to the metal and wooden structure, a solar panel is built into the bench, which enables the conversion of sunlight into electricity. This project is a good example of a multidisciplinary approach, since students from different fields of work and educational profiles participated in its planning and implementation.
More detailed information about all participating schools and implemented projects is available on the website https://www.inovacijeuobrazovanju.rs/, which has been developed as a part of the Užice Technical School project.
The importance of the cooperation achieved by ETF and DECIDE project within the program “Partnerships for innovations in teaching and learning” is exceptional, considering the results of numerous studies that indicate that innovative practices in teaching and learning can improve the motivation of students, involve them more actively in the process learning as well as to direct the learning process towards more valuable outcomes for both students and future employers.