|Sumár projektu:||In these days in March 2019, the Brexit showdown has been keeping both Europe on tenterhooks and EU parliamentarians concerned over the stability of Europe. Simultaneously, on Fridays for the Future, students in more than 100 countries walk out of school into the streets to demand that the adults running the government start fighting back against climate change and shouting for a future on a habitable earth. The figurehead for the strikes is 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a student in Sweden whose climate protests just earned her a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Europe falling apart or / and (?) the youth sticking together on a unifying issue? Anyway, Thunberg's commitment fueled our students' own concerns about their future. Today's youth does not buy "Trump truths", neither on climate change nor on raising monocentric international politics - instead, they want to make the ENVIRONMENT great again! They want to make that difference in their own way. But why should that be outside school only; and why not connect them internationally?! Education systems play a crucial role in supplying the necessary 21st century skills and competences for the young generation while practical problems’ solutions need to be discussed from countries from various angles. Today's pupils need a combination of knowledge and skills appropriate to the varied real-life contexts they are facing. The idea of MEGA - "Make our Environment Great Again" was born, the title being a bit populist? - Maybe. A catchy slogan? Hopefully.The project though well-intended and thought-through? Definitely and for sure.
The project includes not only the key competences that relate to traditional school subjects, but also cross-curricular ones that enable people to pursue learning throughout their lives, contribute to democratic societies and to contribute to sustainable development goals. The project aims at fostering environmental commitment at school in skills and actions. Thus, the applying schools are promoting to adequately adapt their school policy plans: 6 secondary schools from Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Slovakia and Poland developed the MEGA project idea in order to foster high quality skills and "green competence" in school in a strategic partnership. They feel that kids are increasingly concerned about environmental issues, yet also want to define their role as responsible citizens and at the same time need to meet labor market expectations in a wavering Europe.
The concept wants to install youth clubs for voluntary motivated and open-minded students (group size between 8 and 20 students at each school) being interested in leaving a greener footprint in society. They will be coached after school by committed teachers from different subjects. The project addresses practically the whole local school community as the wide range of project activities touches not only the lives of the MEGA students but that of many others, too.These newly implemented youth clubs run debates on environmental issues that are then discussed at international MUN (Model United Nation) conferences, where the schools act as ambassadors of a country. Secondly, the applying schools wish to develop a guideline for sustainability teaching that is applicable to any school in Europe. Third, the ecological action at school and in society by making students understand themselves as active potential of change in society through initiating green projects. Kids need to realize that demonstrating for the climate while buying 3-Euro throwaway clothes, eat takeaway food in plastic containers, drinking from non-returnable plastic bottles or upgrading their mobile phone model every second year do not match. Imaginable MEGA projects can for example be alternative waste disposal concepts, newly opened greenhouses and planted vegetables in school yards or raised numbers of students using bikes, public transport or at least share car rides to school. If 40 students start using sustainable drinking bottles that is a start - a tiny but nourishing runnel of an idea. However, if over 4000 students at MEGA schools or more will do that it will be a stream that is hard to stop again and will matter. In this regard, the MEGA project can create a trunly feasible impact and guarantees long-term benefits for the individual as well for the the community.
Implementing youth clubs can serve as a best-practice example to other schools elsewhere as it develops methods that can be effectively used by others schools all over Europe. The publication of results and material (guidelines) on the involved schools' websites, the Europroject website (www.europrojectnet.eu) as well as on Etwin will demonstrate how the best-practice exchange can enrich many school's individual school policy program. The access to the MEGA project work via those channels / platforms ensures the international dissemination and fruitful use beyond the MEGA project partnerschools.