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18.6.2018 | Lauren Wilson

Youth Initiative In Macedonia Gets Young People Active In Education Change

52% of students want more opportunities to voice their opinion on education. Pegasus English Language School in Macedonia is giving young people a platform to decide the types of education innovation they are excited to see happen, then promote them to their teachers, parents, and the wider community. Find out more...

At HundrED, we’re constantly inspired by our burgeoning community of over 100 ambassadors from 47 countries – passionate, enthusiastic people who are working to make education better for students around the world. As a community dedicated to education change, we recognize that we should never lose sight of who education is really all about – the students! Our recent research report revealed that 52% of students believe that having opportunities to voice their opinion would improve their education. So, why aren’t young people consulted more about which education innovations they’d like to see in their school? This is the thought that inspired Pero Sardzoski to set up the first ever HundrED Youth Initiative.

Pero Sardzoski, Director of Studies at Pegasus English Language School in Tetova, Macedonia, understands where the young people are coming from when they say they want to be more involved with education change. The innovative educator is inspired by the famous quote from Walt Disney, “Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long… We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

“It is exactly this rationale that inspired me to come up with this proposal for an initiative that would involve those whom all the innovations promoted by HundrED are actually directed to – the young learners,” Sardzoski explains. “Curiosity is the starting point to every innovation. It is where the ignition takes place that sparks a beacon of light to show the way.”

The youth initiative is all about giving young people an opportunity to decide on the type of innovation they'd like to see in their schools and giving them a platform to share this with their teachers, parents, and the wider community. With support from HundrED, Pegasus ELS selected 15 innovations profiled by HundrED that are related to either English as a foreign language or other areas of interest in the school, like digital literacy programs and entrepreneurship skills for young learners. A group of 23 young learners is volunteering to promote these exciting innovations to their peers, parents, and teachers, focusing on how they can be best used in their own setting.  

It’s clear that these young people are passionate about education innovation and want to see these approaches used in their own classroom, as well as those around the world. The young people have learned how to create screencast video presentations on their chosen innovations and presented these at some of the local schools where they receive their formal education. “This innovation (Kahoot!) is a tool that should be used in every classroom,” says Mimoza, aged 16. “As a student that has used Kahoot! a lot at Pegasus ELS, I would recommend it to every teacher and student. It keeps me engaged in the learning material and it gives me a competitive excitement. Sometimes I even create my own learning games, which helps me deepen my understanding of different topics. I believe that we can change our educational system in Macedonia, and start using this fun platform.”

The young ambassadors are involved with every decision along the way and even organized a fun end of year event at Pegasus ELS. Given their obvious love of Kahoot, it was only natural they used the learning platform to launch an exciting quiz competition that the whole school was involved in, a fantastic example of creating a buzz around educational innovations within the community!

Sardzoski explains how the Youth Initiative came to be, explaining, “I found out about HundrED in February 2017 at the New Technologies in Education regional conference that took place in Belgrade. I was instantly inspired by its mission. Initially, my goal was to promote our school’s innovation to the world via HundrED’s network. However, once I realized the scope of this project I wanted to help promote other innovations in education in my country or even inspire other educators to delve into this exciting realm of creativity and innovation.”

But the ambition doesn’t stop there. Sardzoski and his team of youth ambassadors also hope to encourage parents to take an active role in the development of their children’s education, and to inspire educators to take a personalized, grassroots approach to stimulate innovation within the formal educational system, wherever they are in the world. Sardzoski and the Youth Ambassadors also hope that more schools in the HundrED Community will be motivated to adopt this approach, in order to promote innovative education solutions on a much wider scale.

So, what is on the horizon for this passionate bunch? “The next step would be to help Youth Ambassadors set up their profiles on HundrED, in order for them to share their experience in promoting HundrED’s innovations with others who are interested in taking up a similar initiative within their local communities,” Sardzoski explains. “They are already discussing prospective implementations of some of the innovations with their teachers, within their respective schools.... we intend to encourage a wave of initiatives across the globe, where young learners will be engaged in promoting, or even implementing the innovations they find useful, and applicable in their schools.”

Like many dedicated teachers, Sardzoski believes that the way to a better future is by engaging and empowering young people today. “I believe that it is only a solid education, which will bring a solid future for us all. We as educators are shaping the minds of young people and making great contributions to their futures. The Finnish education system recognizes this and I am immensely grateful that we have a leader in the innovation process.”  

Be sure to check back for updates on this exciting initiative! If you'd like to find out about getting involved, you can learn more about the HundrED community here