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Mobilizing collective resources for education policy development

7 minute read
To bring this idea to life, The city municipality has collaborated with the nonprofit Citizen's Foundation, a nonprofit that has been working on digital participation since 2008 through its crowdsourcing platform, Better Reykjavik.
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Iceland is making efforts to achieve the goals of the Education Policy 2030, which revolves around improving the educational experience and adhering to the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stipulates the right of the child to an education aimed at developing his personality, skills and physical and mental abilities. Reykjavik is one of the most important areas interested in establishing policies that encourage education professionals to transform school activities and recreational center activities into creative learning communities in line with the demands of the globalization phenomenon that we are currently witnessing. The city of Reykjavik assessed children's skills in primary school based on a coordinated plan in junior high schools and recreational centers. To expand these efforts, It was necessary to think of a comprehensive framework that covered a larger segment of participants.

Hence the idea of the Collective Resource Mobilization Initiative for Education Policymaking, which aims to identify the basic characteristics of a middle school student who will graduate in 2030. In order to develop a comprehensive policy, The Municipality of Reykjavik has implemented a broad participation mechanism to help develop policies to prioritize these traits and skills in students.

To bring this idea to life, The city municipality has collaborated with the nonprofit Citizen's Foundation, a nonprofit that has been working on digital participation since 2008 through its crowdsourcing platform, Better Reykjavik. The municipality decided to use the same platform to formulate the 2030 education policy. The goal of Better Reykjavik was to stimulate online dialogue to increase citizens' participation in their community.

Work on the project began by forming a committee composed of public employees from various governmental entities to start developing a long-term education policy in the city. The committee was responsible for the preparation of a joint action plan by conducting an analysis of the state of education in the country, defining key educational goals, and strengthening cooperation between project managers, party representatives, schools, and recreational centers. The plan also included the formulation of an action plan to implement these policies.

The next phase involves communicating with stakeholders, including school principals and recreational clubs where children spend their free time, in addition to representatives of parents and students, and inviting them to establish the basic competencies required from elementary school students. Between February and April 2017, 11 meetings were held with 450 participants to prepare a final list of these required basic competencies.

This list included social skills, which include the ability to build social relationships with others and leave a positive impact on society through empathy, cooperation, and being kind and respectful. The second characteristic that participants felt necessary was self-empowerment, which stems from self-control and determination in order to cultivate the characteristics of independence and responsible decision-making in children. The skill of reading, writing and understanding what the student reads and writes was also among the features mentioned, In addition to the child's creativity, curiosity, critical and creative thinking. Finally, Participants cited health as one of the traits that students should have, which expresses the lifestyle choices made by the child, his consumption behavior, his physical abilities, and his physical and mental well-being.

For the purpose of hosting the 2030 Education Policy discussions, The online platform owned by the Citizen's Foundation was used, A main online website dedicated to the project was created and each efficiency was given a separate space for discussion. Users were also given the option to present their ideas during discussions, consider others' ideas and explain their reasons for supporting or opposing them.

Besides the electronic space, Meetings were held in different locations such as schools and recreational centers to achieve the greatest possible participation and attention. These meetings provided a practical means for citizens to participate, especially as some parents and children were more comfortable attending meetings in their schools. The committee also held various meetings from September 2017 to November 2018 to collect data and develop an action plan emanating from it. Having received advice, The Committee completed the preparation of the policy and action plan in November 2018.

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