At the end of last year, within the Moldovan-Lithuanian project “European Lessons 2. Component Education against Corruption” funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania from the Cooperation Program for Development and Promotion of Democracy, a group of teachers from Moldova participated in a study visit in several educational institutions in Lithuania. The purpose of the visit was to familiarize with the experiences of Baltic colleagues in the field and to have been successful for many years in capitalizing on integrity education promoted extensively at European level. On the agenda of the visit were included consistent visits to different types of schools, placed on a diverse geographical area, including hours of assistance, discussions with management teams, with teachers involved in the projects, as well with students as their main beneficiaries.
We have also known the unique landscape of Lithuania, among others, the country with the highest degree of forestation in Europe, but also the multicultural context, with many immigrants, mixed families. Even in schools with ethnic minorities, there are no particular lessons of Culture and traditions of the respective ethnic group, these being realized through other extracurricular activities quite a bit (Nota Bene! for Moldova!) Concerts and all artistic activities with folk customs and traditions on the big scene were in the past, say managers.
Among the most important news, which would also be of interest to our school environment, we state: the functioning of a Transparency Lab in Schools, the Honest School Title offered to a network of schools concerned with the fight against corruption with significant positive practices; the framing of the “Education against corruption” module in the discipline of “Ethics; multiple partnerships that favor efforts in the given direction, including Catholic churches; the 15 non-traditional days organized in pre-university institutions with the ” School in other manner”, one day at the end of each month and the last week of school, such as non-textbooks days, excursions and other informal activities; replacing the traditional inspection with systematic checks of the child’s well-being in school, etc. The honest school status began to be given to the Lithuanian schools involved in the promotion campaign organized by Transparency International. The slogan launched for each student was: “I am honest,” followed by a few self-assessments: What do you think about yourself in this chapter, why? What do your colleagues, friends, relatives think? The concrete actions that followed had commitments such as: I will write the test honestly, I will not copy, not lie, etc. Subsequently, the organization initiating the project sent thematic stickers to the schools: I am honest, and the students in grades 11-12 who received them were supposed to promote the integrity and honest way of conduct and relationship among teachers, but also to apply them on each control / test work. Obviously not all students applied them, but after the promotion and clarification campaign, for 6 months, the number of honest students increased. Finally, in each school, a closing event was organized, where students completed a questionnaire, where they wrote what they learned, how they applied, how they feel about it. Some schools continue today to achieve honest school status by entering this network and promoting integrity at family, school and community level. Among the slogans shared by students, we noticed: Clear conscience helps us make good decisions; the essence of our existence is responsibility, etc.
We observed, in other ways, that in every classroom there is a functional interactive whiteboard, the easy connection to the Internet throughout the school, that the agenda and the electronic catalog have already become common issues; that meetings with parents are organized only in the presence of the child, mandatory, twice a year, where, as a priority, listen to the problems said and understood by the child, or, at present more and more children with problems of psycho-emotional behavior and social issues come to school, and teachers have to help them in as many ways as possible. In general, visits to schools have revealed many interesting things, a very good situation, happy children, but some disgruntled teachers who receive 700 Euros, average wage, but expect more from the state, at least 1000 Euros, promised by politicians, but ….
Our project continues in the current quarter, and the practices described above inspire us to initiate more actions to promote integrity in our schools, starting with transparent and participatory decision making by management teams, continuing honest student behavior at each lesson / evaluation and ending with the eradication of corruption by parents and educators initiatives.
In this context, we announce educational institutions wishing to engage in long-term corruption preventing to send a motivation letter, agreed with the team of managers, to sign the Declaration of Integrity Education, assuming specific commitments for the managerial team, teachers, pupils and parents. Teachers in the institution have to apply the “Education against Corruption” module, located at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1oj2PwRGliQ83osoMP8Hdy-yz63y0IE9f, and send sequences from lessons and other educational activities organized by the end of the semester at: firstname.lastname@example.org. As a result, the school will receive the title of HONEST SCHOOL, benefiting from specific educational partnerships with other institutions in the given field, as well as relevant didactic support. Deadline: February 25, 2019.
Viorica Goraș-Postică, project coordinator