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Why 21st Century Schools?

Humanity enters the fourth industrial revolution, and smart technologies bring a series of changes in the economy, the labor market and our lives. Education is the way to prepare children for the challenges of the new age. In addition to the classical technical knowledge in the field of information technology, jobs of the 21st century will seek new knowledge and new skills. With digital literacy, for the progress of both individuals and societies, creative, critical and analytical thinking in solving problems will be necessary.

Our program - Schools for the 21st Century - is the answer to this request. Teaching children the skills needed for the 21st century are investing in their future, and thus in the future, the economies of the Western Balkans.

Our program will help educational systems in the Western Balkans region, as in the most advanced countries of the world, enable students to adopt skills that will provide them with better opportunities for employment and personal progress tomorrow. By investing in students now, we invest in their future.

Recent research shows that most jobs in the future will be in the fast-growing IT sector. Following such indicators, our program focuses on the introduction of skills that employers find desirable in educational systems: critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and teamwork in finding solutions to everyday problems. In cooperation with all educational institutions in countries, we want to support the improvement of teaching practices in classrooms throughout the Western Balkans, and by building skills for young people to provide them with better chances for work in the future.

About the 21st Century Schools

The 21st Century Schools is an ambitious educational program of three years, designed and implemented by the British Council, funded by the United Kingdom Government, in a total amount of £ 10 million. The program will enable the acquisition of critical thinking skills, problem solving and programming for over a million students aged 10 to 15 in countries across the Western Balkans.

This program is conducted in partnership with the relevant educational institutions in the participating countries. It will enable students to learn in a fun, interactive and innovative way. In addition to gaining critical thinking skills and solving problems, children will also gain practical coding skills, and will have the opportunity to perfect their skills by connecting different devices. Within the program, each school will receive a certain number of Micro:bit devices - handheld computers with which children can code and use it for all school subjects in order to solve everyday problems.

How does the program support schools?

21st Century Schools offer constant mentoring and valuable resources for strengthening the ability of school principals, teachers and policy makers. All primary schools (pupils aged 10 to 15) will receive Micro:bit devices (pocket computers) that will help young people learn new digital skills and programming skills in a fun and interactive way.

In order to be competitive in the global labor market sutdents need key skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, digital literacy and creativity. The 21st Century Schools program supports the development of young people in these fields in order to build a better future.

Skills that will primarily be developed by students aged 10 to 15:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving: independent thinking that leads to new and innovative ideas and solves problems. Students will gain the ability to critically examine learning experiences and processes and make effective decisions.
  • Programming skills: teachers and children will be introduced to programming through block-based encoding using Micro:bit devices. These devices have the purpose to inspire young people to be creative in the use of digital technologies and to develop key skills in science, technology and engineering. Children will also have the opportunity to learn HTML, CSS and Python through the creation of games, animations and websites in extracurricular coding clubs.