It is believed that as many as 65 per cent of today’s students will be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist, which means preparing our young people for the future world of work has never been more challenging. While qualifications and knowledge remain important, the students of today need the opportunity to grow into creative and critical citizens, ready to shape the future for themselves. 

To support this goal, the British Council’s new 21st Century Schools programme is ready to support schools across the Western Balkans to introduce innovative teaching methodology and help students build the essential digital, problem solving and critical thinking skills needed for their future education and career. After a call for applicants, which was open to all schools in the Western Balkans, the programme will soon be announcing the first batch of schools to receive direct support.

How will the programme support schools?

In collaboration with relevant ministries in the region, 21st Century Schools will offer access to training, equipment and materials, as well as providing a gateway to a network of schools across the Western Balkans and the UK. Support will include:

  • training and support for school leaders to further develop their management and leadership skills and to help them effectively integrate and embed digital and core skills across existing national curricula. 
  • training and support for teachers across two core modules: digital skills, which focuses on incorporating digital literacy into the curriculum, and using digital tools for learning, communication and collaboration; and critical thinking and problem solving, which focuses on improving student self-directed thinking and learning to produce new and innovative ideas. 
  • resources to develop students’ digital skills, including free Micro:bit pocket-sized, codeable computers (in partnership with Micro:bit Education Foundation) designed to give students entry level skills and confidence in computer literacy and coding in ICT classes and other subjects; resources on how to initiate and start coding clubs and join international coding challenges and initiatives; and the opportunity to trial and test new products and services, such as apps and websites, from the British Council and other future partners. 
  • networking opportunities, including the chance to share experiences and good practice with schools across the Western Balkans; the chance to collaborate with other schools through inter-school coding clubs; the opportunity to contribute to national and Western-Balkans-wide policy discussions; and an invitation to the annual ‘New Technologies in Education’ event in Belgrade.
  • the chance to receive the 21st Century Schools Award at ‘New Technologies in Education’ in June 2018.

Success stories during and after the programme will be shared, and there will be further opportunities for more schools to be involved in the programme’s next round following the initial pilot and evaluation.