Educhange Foundation – supporting systems change in education
Educhange Foundation works as a platform of representatives from the private, the NGO and the public sector, who aim to achieve together, by joining forces, name, know-how and finances, a systems change in the education system in the Czech Republic. We focus on long-term and sustainable approaches which will have real impact on children’s education. We work together with various organisations and projects which focus on improving the education system and emphasize the importance of education in the Czech Republic.
Despite the fact that the state of the Czech education system can be called “average” in terms of school grading, examples of how education can be done differently and better can be found in numerous schools. At the same time, interesting new innovations have the ambition to improve the way of teaching. Educhange Foundation aims to find the most interesting in the education field, work with and support those who want to create a better future for our children.
Our vision is that all children take full advantage of the learning process, learn with joy, equal chances and leave school prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
Educhange Foundation was founded in January 2018 by four major Czech foundations that have been long-term committed to also supporting educational projects and organisations: Avast Foundation, Česká spořitelna Foundation, Karel Janeček Foundation and The Open Society Fund Prague.
“Educhange is an ambitious project, which – we believe – will not only prove in specific schools that change is possible but show the way to achieve this change. We would not want to miss being part of this.”
Ondřej Zapletal, Director of Česká spořitelna Foundation
Why Educhange Foundation was established
Societal needs have changed tremendously during the course of the past 30 years. The overall system and way of teaching in Czech schools has however responded to this development only in a limited manner. Although there are numerous positive examples of change where one can seek inspiration, most problems persist:
- The Czech education system is suffering from long-term underfinancing
- Pupils often do not acquire the skills they need at school, they do not see meaning in learning and they do not enjoy going to school in general
- Students have little interest in becoming teachers
- There is a lack of systemic vision for the future as well as a vision in individual schools
- Academic results are deteriorating in terms of global ranking from excellent to average or below-average results
These are just a few of the signals that alert that there is a crisis looming in the Czech education system. In order for us to understand the exact situation of the Czech education system, Educhange Foundation has commissioned a complex study, which serves as a basis for our work and maps out the current state of the various involved groups. We therefore have a good understanding of the situation of the children, the teachers, the headmasters, as well as the parents and the school founders.
Educhange foundation aims to support systems change in education which will help to achieve a greater societal change. Our approach to supporting education change is responsible and holistic. Our long-term goal is to achieve that every child is taking full advantage of the learning process and learns with joy and equal chances. We aim to do this by achieving the following among the individual groups that influence education:
- Parents are actively interested and involved in schools’ lives and are provided with sufficient relevant information.
- The teacher’s occupation is prestigious, in high demand and well paid. The best students become teachers, they receive high-quality preparation for their job; once in the job, they have continuous support and training so that they can focus on developing their pupils.
- Headmasters are pedagogical leaders, they receive high-quality training, possess sufficient means and a support system, which enables them to develop their teachers and their schools.
- Founders of schools are competent and responsible for maintaining a high-quality education and are able to support it. Education is a long-term priority for politicians in their programs and they are actively promoting the creation of the right supporting infrastructure.
- The general public opinion supports the view that the Czech Republic should invest more into the quality of the public education, this view should be prominent in both public opinion surveys as well as in expert discussions.
Because of the variety of involved groups, it is crucial to join forces and find a cross-sector solution.
Our approach is the following:
- With the help of the advisory board identify priorities which need addressing and cannot be solved by an individual or an individual organization – we employ collective impact principles.
- Invest in the cooperation of various partners who will make use of their know-how and will come up with the best solution for the given priority. Prove the effectiveness of the solution and apply it to the whole education system.
- As our first priority we chose the preparation of a pilot Regional model for educational support, which will result in the improvement of all schools in a selected region in the coming 5 years and thereby an improvement in children’s learning. We want to jointly with our expert partners create a replicable model of regional support of education, which we can offer as a model to other regions, but also to serve as key insights for policy makers in the field of education. Our aim is not to invent something completely new. Together with our partners, which have been doing excellent work for many years, we want to find a way how to help all schools within the selected region to find a path of positive development. The model should serve as a replicable model for other Czech regions and should within 5 years lead to the improvement of quality of all schools (preschool to secondary school levels) and thereby improvement of the education of children in the region. We will involve children, parents, teachers, headmasters, founders of schools as well as politicians in this process.
We aim to monitor the children’s improvement in three main areas:
- Relation to education and school
- Reading, mathematical and natural sciences skills
- Problem solving skills
The Regional model for educational support has the following three main phases:
- May 2019 – December 2019: The model should be finalized by the selected partners, in cooperation with the expert board of Educhange Foundation and representatives from selected regions. The implementation region will be chosen on basis of a separate call for expression of interest. We predict that approx. 5-8 regions will be taking part in the design of the model. Until end of 2019, one specific region will be selected for the implementation of the model.
- January 2020 – August 2020: The communication phase in the selected region will begin in order to ensure and set up cooperation, including regional partners. The basic regional model pilot will be finalized and fine-tuned according to the specifics of the selected region. The pilot model will be implemented by the regional partners with the help of the main partners. The role of Educhange Foundation will be supportive. At the beginning of this phase we will ensure proper data collection from the given region in key areas, for further monitoring.
- September 2020 – December 2025: Implementation of the proposed measures and interventions in the selected region and their continuous evaluation and adjustment.
By 2030 we plan to have the model implemented in 20 % of the Czech Republic.
Zdeněk Slejška – Director of Educhange Foundation, email@example.com
„I have always enjoyed thinking about the system of education in an interconnected manner, what parts influence what in the system and which problems require a solution. Educhange is founded on the fact that we think about education in connections and at the same time in a realistic way – what can really support change. These are things that appeal to me. And also the challenge to come up with a way to find support for all of this.“
Zdeněk Slejška has been teaching children and adults, he lead the largest professional portal supporting creative teachers in the Czech Republic and also co-founded and lead EDUin, a leading organization in the field of education. In 2013 he became Ashoka Fellow and since 2018 he is director of Educhange Foundation.
Monika Hrochová – Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucie Plešková – Expert Consultant, email@example.com
Lenka Marečková – Fundraising manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriela Ledererová – Fundraising manager, email@example.com
The initial impetus to establish Educhange foundation was given by four large foundations (Avast Foundation, Česká spořitelna Foundation, Karel Janeček Foundation and The Open Society Fund Prague), which have been active in the Czech education field for a long time.
Years went by and finances have been spent, amazing things happened, but it became more and more obvious that the much-needed large systems change will not be achieved in this manner. The four foundations therefore joined their experience, know-how and forces and founded Educhange. At the start, they provided finances and will also continue to provide them, however, their commitment alone will not suffice. Recently, the Jablotron Foundation joined the list of our donors and we are currently in discussion with other potential donors in both the Czech Republic and abroad.
“In Avast Foundation, our work is based on a few basic principles. I will name four of them. Courage, partnership, cooperation and systemic impact. These are all also represented by Educhange. Besides supporting education, we also want to cultivate and innovate the field of philanthropy. We want to signal clearly that large companies, foundations or public institutions can unite, back off themselves and together change something as crucial as the education of children in the 21st century. We believe that thanks to this synergy the impact of our work will be stronger and more sustainable. There is also an added bonus to all this. We are learning a lot thanks to this partnership.”
Martina Břeňová, director of the Avast Foundation
Changing the complex education system will take a long time. However, as we say in Czech – a common worry is half a worry, a common joy is double joy – we have decided to join forces to do this together. Educhange is for us both a decision and an obligation. Because if we do not do it, who else will.
Join us in our efforts. You will be in great company and you will stand close to the launch of a major change. And you will be able to influence it. Please contact us for more information to discuss the various forms of cooperation.
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