When there is still uncertainty about the return to face-to-face school in September, public administrations continue to design strategies to make this possible. Among the aspects to work on is the promotion of student participation in problems in their environment. For this, the Commonwealth of Municipalities of the Eastern Costa del Sol-Axarquía has been developing the 'Children's Agora' project for five years.
The president of the organization, José Juan Jiménez, has signed the agreement with the Consortium Local Global association to carry it out in new educational centers in the eastern region. This program has an innovative methodology based on participative and recreational dynamics with the aim of involving minors in their environment. ?We are betting on this instrument that allows young people to participate in public life by contributing their ideas or suggestions. Get them to be involved in decision-making, to know how municipalities work, the peculiarities of their respective towns and other neighbors, "said the president of the institution.
He also highlighted that it allows awareness campaigns to be created on "fundamental" issues such as gender equality, solidarity or the environment, while also recalling "the success that other editions have had, as the schoolchildren, teachers and mothers and fathers associations ?. "The program is configured in such a way that classrooms are decision-making spaces in which children and adolescents analyze their territory, make proposals, deliberate and collectively build a proposal, being able to go to the City Council to put them into operation", has Formation member Aroa Palma explained.
This child-youth participation program is designed and implemented by the Coglobal Association and endorsed by the University of Malaga, Huelva, Cádiz and the Università degli studi di Palermo. "Through it, direct democracy interventions are carried out with children from 10 to 14 years old who seek to be involved in the exercise of the decision on issues that affect them and that are of interest," said Palma, who recalled that since In 2015, 600 children from 15 different municipalities have already participated.
For his part, the third vice president, Juan Peñas, has reported that as a consequence of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus, a contingency plan with two action protocols has been foreseen in the agreement, so that, if required, it would enable limited face-to-face and digital classes. In the first case, the hygienic-sanitary security guarantees collected by the Ministry of Health would be established, such as the reduction of capacity - the sessions would be divided by turns - and the safety distance of two meters. The ventilation of the premises, the cleaning of surfaces, spaces and materials are guaranteed as well as that they would have hygiene means.
For its part, the digital protocol includes virtual sessions, the sending of graphic and audiovisual teaching material for the activities and the production and editing of a 'podcast' with schoolchildren to make the results visible, as indicated by Peñas, who commented that "taking into account the digital gap that may exist, a preliminary survey will be carried out among the participants to identify the needs that exist and through which digital tools a more inclusive participation can be achieved «.
Finally, the institutional spokesman, Antonio Sánchez, explained that the contract establishes "the development of coordination, dynamism, communication and evaluation activities within the framework of the program in four municipalities of the Axarquía, still to be determined." "The evaluation is carried out in collaboration with the universities of Malaga and Huelva, who will monitor and evaluate the programs," he stressed.