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Alicja has created a hands-on, civic educational model to teach Polish children about participatory Democracy. Her schools encourage student involvement at all levels, from curricular design to student discipline, and lay a strong foundation for responsible citizenship.
The deficiencies in post–communist civil societies have been much discussed. In Poland, as in the rest of Central and Eastern Europe, the habit of democracy will take time to become fully ingrained. Volunteerism is very low, and with the exception of the former members of Solidarity, citizens are unused to organizing around common political objectives. Many agree that the solution lies with the new generation–that while old habits die slowly, children who have not been conditioned by the communist era can learn quickly.
In pursuit of her goals, workshops and teacher training in a variety of social service venues have been instituted in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. As a result Zespół Szkół Społecznych (SPLOT) was created as an independent school in 1989, and remains the cornerstone of MTO. MTO over the years has developed as an NGO incubator in the Balkans, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan. MTO supports the development of NGOs in CEE countries, promoting cooperation between NGOs and public administration, providing training and international exchange opportunities for all types of schools, as well as playing an active part in international educational and civil society–building networks.
Alicja designed and implemented an innovative school model in which students are trained in democratic procedures, both theoretically and in practice. Today, she has begun building an international network of schools to which her idea is being introduced. Teachers and students are participating in educative exchange programs in East Central Europe, the Baltics, the former Soviet Union, and the Balkans.
Mission of the Educational Society for Malopolska (MTO) is to equip future generations with the tools needed for success as responsible global citizens. Małopolskie Towarzystwo Oświatowe (MTO) was created with two goals in mind: to support innovative teachers and teaching methods that would work towards an open and tolerant Europe, and to create an independent school that would put those teaching methods into practice
Alicja was an important member of Solidarity when it was still underground–she was a member of the Solidarity Education Board, which planned reforms to the Polish educational system. After the changes in 1989, Alicja did not want to teach for the state again, and began in earnest to establish a truly independent, non–state, non–religious school.