06 Nov Report from the 2nd Peer Learning Activity of the ESMTT Project in Larnaca, Cyprus
The 2nd Peer Learning Activity of the ‘Effective School Management in the Twin Transition – Evolution of Teachers Working Time due to the Green and Digital Transitions” (AKA ESMTT) project took place in Larnaca, Cyprus on 16-17 October, 2023. Stakeholders from all throughout the education sector, accompanied by a wider range of experts in the above mentioned fields, gathered to delve deep into these multifaceted topics.
Marie-Céline Falisse, Project Manager at EFEE, launched the event by emphasising the fundamental importance of the green transition not just in Cyprus, but across the entire European educational landscape. Dr. Aravella Zachariou, from the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth (MOESY) then elaborated on the essential role of sustainability in education, underlining that it should permeate both formal and non-formal educational domains. A presentation by Monika Hoang The (EFEE) noted the significant differences in teacher working hours across countries and the need to comprehensively re-evaluate existing systems in order to meet evolving demands, before reminding participants about the next PLA in Slovenia (scheduled for April 2024).
Dr. Fabrice Serodes, Project Researcher, expounded his key findings from a recent survey (conducted as part of the ESMTT project) including responses from thousands of educational institutions from all across Europe. The gathered information points to significant challenges being faced in implementing the green transition, while also focussing on the various institutions’ preferences with regard to sustainability issues. The ensuing discussions covered a wide range of topics – including the need for strong leadership; the challenges associated with using technology in education; and the need to maintain enthusiasm for green initiatives. Our guest Rashi Oberoi, Head Primary at Salwan Public School, shared valuable insights from India – where the role of teachers and the integration of sustainability into the curriculum have taken centre stage. Dr. Andreas Tsiakkiros from the Department of Primary Education (MOESY), provided an insightful overview of the Cyprus education system, pointing out its unique characteristics and centralised structure. Dr. Zachariou rounded this section off by emphasising the need to cultivate a culture of sustainability within educational institutions, also highlighting the proposed creation of a dedicated unit to oversee environmental sustainability issues. Overall, the discussions underscored the significance of balanced learning outcomes and the importance of developing distinct skills to promote sustainability. Such discussions are also expected to shape future initiatives in education, addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by the green and digital transitions.
Subsequent segments during the first day of the event featured a series of presentations on good practices throughout educational institutions in Europe, covering topics such as teacher recruitment in Belgium, initiatives for sustainability and climate change in Dutch schools, and challenges in private education in Bulgaria. A panel discussion provided diverse and interesting perspectives on how to manage teachers’ time effectively, while officials from Cyprus reaffirmed the importance of involving teachers during periods of educational transitions. Challenges related to the digital transition (including the need for standardisation and guidelines) were discussed, followed by conversations on the importance of creating flexible curricula and having a sustainable content-time balance. School principals’ training and transition were also addressed, suggesting a need to provide careful monitoring and tailored programs. Finally, a more interactive session took place outdoors, featuring (among other activities) a presentation on matters of environmental education.
On the second day of the event, taking place at Perivolia’s Primary School, students showcased their dedication to sustainability through presentations and projects – the school’s overall commitment to a greener future, community involvement, biodiversity preservation, and active engagement on environmental matters also being evident. Participants expressed their appreciation for the school’s vision – noting that despite significant challenges it has managed to thrive thanks to its leadership, positive community involvement, and commitment to student well-being, with efforts to ensure inclusivity and accessibility also being key components of its success.