Country, Date of election
Czech Republic 2013
Zdeňek Slejška is transforming the education system of the Czech Republic through mobilizing, connecting and engaging a multitude of formerly isolated stakeholders on the local and national level to co-create the Czech education system of tomorrow. Zdeňek supports individual stakeholders to unleash the full potential of their own resources and to become part of a growing community of like-minded changemakers.
Czech children do not enjoy the kind of education they receive at schools; many admit they are bored in class. Research shows that the quality of Czech education decreases when compared to international standards. Nevertheless, parents and the general public seem to be content with the state of Czech education and do not feel concern or the need to take action.
To increase parents’ participation in educational affairs on the local level, EDUin is already assisting 400 Czech schools through a “Parents Welcome” certification process. To allow students to plan community development projects in teams and learn through participation in their implementation, EDUin annually takes hundreds of pupils through the “Extra Class” program. Four Czech schools are now co-creating strategies with businesses and other educational institutions through the “Towns of Education” program. EDUin started a nation-wide public debate on the goals and means of the national educational system, tangibly influencing the strategy of the Ministry of Education. EDUin has thus become a recognized national informational hub on education to which the media turn for advice and consultation thanks to which, tens of thousands of readers can follow the latest developments in Czech education.
Zdeněk’s efforts are aimed at making education “everybody’s business”. His organization EDUin is opening “closed” school systems to the community so that the school might benefit from the expertise of a wide range of stakeholders and consequently better equip the pupils with skills needed to succeed in new environments. Zdeňek carefully tailors a comprehensive opportunity for formerly isolated stakeholders (parents, community, experts, business) to engage and contribute resources and expertise on the local and national level to co-create the Czech educational system of tomorrow.
One the one hand, there is a need to make education more attractive to children and teachers. This will, in return, (as many other countries have already experienced) lead to an improved educational outcome. At the same time, it is important to awaken the Czech public so that it becomes more interested in the topic of education. To this end, Zdeňek is encouraging public debate and showing ways to change education for the better.
Zdeněk believes that school and the process of learning should not be separated and isolated from each other. That is why he is designing reasonable ways to better interconnect them. He believes that an important prerequisite for this is a shift in the attitude of Czech people toward education.