Nataliia Kiseleva, Founder of Equal Opportunities
What is Equal Opportunities?
While innovation & project-based learning is well established in some schools, not all education systems have the capacity or capability to develop opportunities for project-based learning. Systems can be slow to adapt to changes or to implement innovations. Ideas may take time to travel across a country or region leading to an inequality of educational access.
Equal Opportunities aims to redress this inequality by hosting educational competitions and providing funding for innovative projects. Three competitions seek out progressive teachers who embrace modern teaching styles, teams of students who develop ideas to create a ‘school of dreams’ and school-based initiatives which could be replicated across Russia. They can also be implemented in any school all over the world.
The idea is that all students and teachers have equal opportunities for the implementation of global projects, influencing not only their own development, but the development of a school and their territory, to enhance the engagement of families and school in implementations of mutual projects.
As many teachers in Russia are not used to working on innovative solutions, Equal Opportunities works with schools to overcome these difficulties and develop ideas into workable solutions. Alternatively, students or teachers could come up with a great idea, but the school administration is reluctant to let them proceed with its implementation. The competition can help ease these restrictions by increasing openness and transparency.
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While there may be several educational competitions, Equal Opportunities sets itself apart by encouraging collaboration between students, teachers and the school. Through doing so, it is hoped that more schools will feel supported and empowered to deliver innovation and project-based activities. Teachers can access information on how to implement project-based learning, with this year’s prize being an international internship in a school where project-based learning is more fully developed.Impact
Equal Opportunities has positively impacted the students who benefited from the innovations that were developed. Many students have gone on to study at University and have even become teachers themselves.Scalability
Equal opportunities has spread across 77/85 regions of Russia. They also host regular webinars with over 500 participants who are continually learning and developing skills with each other. Equal Opportunities is going to publish a book to showcase some of the projects; with the aim of fostering a community of idea sharing throughout Russian schools. To support the development of such a community, Equal Opportunities hosts professional development & high media coverage of the projects.