Do you think that education contributes to the process of European integration? Would you like to participate in shaping the future of Europe? Do you want to develop friendships across borders and to take part in international school projects? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are at the right place! Let us tell you more about aces – Academy of Central European Schools.
Given half a chance, young people can become active citizens participating fully in society; they can also become good friends. With aces we give more than half a chance to thousands of young people across Central and South Eastern Europe the chance to meet, teach, learn from and have fun with their peers and others in different countries of the region. This is vital in a part of Europe where ignorance and prejudice have often soured relations between neighbours.
Young people’s openness to new and exciting experiences can help kick-start a new era of curiosity and cooperation in Europe. Across countries where there is a lack or unevenness of educational resources, aces puts young people on an equal footing in a truly intercultural setting.
In just a few short years, aces has almost doubled the number of partner countries in its network, becoming the largest of its kind in the region. This strong network of schools in so many countries, EU and non-EU alike, has laid the foundations for a sustainable structure of education exchange in the region. Supported from the very start by all the education ministries involved, aces joins the forces of the grassroots and the high-level. Though there are strong EU educational programmes out there, there is nothing quite like aces. aces fills a gap, but it does much more than that: with its innovative approach that blurs distinctions between the teacher and the taught, it has helped shape a new space for learning, improving the quality of education provision in the region.
aces is a Central European Network of schools offering support for cross-border school partnership projects with focus on European themes and topics. It is one of our major projects running since 2007, involving schools and ministries from fifteen countries. There is a huge appetite among schools in Central and South Eastern Europe for the aces approach. This can be seen in the deluge of school partnership project proposals for the yearly aces contest.
As much as aces is concerned with process rather then merely product, the yearly topics are always relevant to the region and to the lives of young people. So far the participants had a chance to research European values, intercultural dialogue, conflict resolution and voluntarism. All students are aged 12 to 17, and the common language of communication is English.