We invite everyone who is interested in the topic of development of adult education in the cities and villages of the Republic of Belarus, improving the efficiency of working structures, generating ideas for new projects to participate in the online hackathon.
Aging of population, changes in the labor market and employment structure, accelerating digitalization, innovation, high levels of migration, climate change and other global challenges have reached Belarus.
They affect the country as a whole, as well as the development of regions and cities. We don't always notice these changes in everyday life. However, the more we think about the future, the more aware we become that we don’t always possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure sustainable development of our communities. And the solution to that lies in adult education. Our chances of responding quickly and appropriately to local and global challenges depend on the accessibility and effectiveness of adult education.
We invite everyone who is interested in the topic of adult education in the cities and villages of the Republic of Belarus, as well as those interested in improving the efficiency of current institutions and generating ideas for new projects to take part in the online hackathon.
Who organized the hackathon? Vertretung des Deutschen Volkshochschul-Verbandes e.V. (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) in Belarus.
What is the goal? To meet, get to know each other, and collaborate on creating new ideas and products in four different areas of adult education: Adult Education Centers, Learning Cities, Adult Education for Creative Industries, Education for Social Inclusion.
Participants are free to choose one of these aspects (see the details about each one below), combine several aspects/topics (this option is encouraged), and even choose their own aspect/topic (but it must pertain to adult education).
Who is invited? Anyone (individual participants, teams, organizations) who has unique and relevant ideas or projects in the above-mentioned areas, as well as those who are interested in these topics and would like to gain more insight into them and work with others on joint projects. Professionals in IT, business and other lines of work, as well as communities that have never been directly involved in informal education before, are welcome.
When will the hackathon take place? The work will consist of three online meetings in February and some intersessional work. Schedule of meetings:
- Day 1 - February 10, Wednesday, 15.30 - 18.30
- Day 2 - February 12, Friday, 15.30 - 18.30
- Day 3 - February 19, Friday, 15.30 - 18.30
What can I get from it? Teams that have the best project ideas (according to the jury and the Representative Office) will get an opportunity to implement their idea (or part of it) during 2021 with the assistance of the Representative Office.
How do I enroll? To participate in the hackathon, you must fill in a registration form. You can apply until 11:59 p.m. on February 8, 2021. In case there are too many applicants, organizers are authorized to select the participants themselves.
Who is the host? The hosts of the hackathon will be Svetlana Sinkevich and Valeriya Volkogonova, experts from the Office for European Expertise and Communications.
The hackathon’s top priority adult education aspects:
- Adult Education Centers. The only educational institutions many cities and regions in Belarus have are schools. Commercial training centers and non-profit organizations hardly ever offer their programs there. That’s why residents of those regions have very few chances to try home-based learning without quitting work. How can we solve this problem? Territorial inequality in many countries is addressed by establishing an extensive network of local adult education centers or community learning centers. Several projects that strive to implement the idea of a local adult education center have been initiated in Belarus as well. Their programs are popular with the locals, but there’s still a lot to be done to make this type of organizations sustainable and able to respond not only to individual citizens’ needs, but also to those of local enterprises, as well as districts in general. Their daily challenges include: motivating and engaging participants, expanding the range of educational programs (including online education), searching for qualified teachers, surviving in a complex epidemiological situation, cost efficiency, organizing workflow (working with participants, paperwork, etc.).
- Learning cities is one of the modern concepts of urban development. The main argument for this trend to appear in Belarus is the ever-increasing share of urban population. As of the beginning of 2020, it accounted for 78% of the total population of the country. While the vast majority of educational institutions are located in cities, much more needs to be done to ensure the accessibility of formal and informal education. What our cities need is an effective and inclusive local education policy, coordination and cooperation of different people. Action groups operating in the country are working to promote the concepts of learning cities and education for all, engage various organizations in the learning process, expand the range of services for disadvantaged groups, create opportunities for on-the-job training, explore innovative ideas for education in districts, precincts, etc.
- Adult education for the creative industries. The creative industries is based on intellectual and creative activity. It includes such major sectors as applied arts, design and architecture, IT technology, entertainment, literature, music, cinema, mass media and advertising. This area is not just entertainment, it is essential to the post-industrial economy. In the past decade Belarus has made a few successful steps in this area, especially in the IT sphere. Further progress depends largely on favourable framework conditions, as well as on people’s willingness to promote and develop this sphere. For this reason, education system is facing the need to expand a range of curricula, introduce innovative formats, start cross-disciplinary and creative courses, and make them accessible to various social categories throughout the country.
- Education for social inclusion. Formal and informal education should be accessible to everyone, which could help us overcome social division. There are several important aspects to this area: creating favorable conditions and sustainable partnerships for educational projects, as well as stimulating participation and ensuring that the curriculum meets the target group’s needs. We need sustainable and innovative educational programs and projects for physically challenged people, people currently in and recently released from prison, rural populations and/or other social categories at risk of social exclusion.