Young people explore how they can contribute to transforming society from education

SEK International School Catalunya held a series of workshops entitled “Growing up empowered. An empowerment hub experience” in which their students reflected and debated on how new generations can contribute from their position to transform society. These workshops were held over five days, between 25 and 29 May.

Marc Prensky, expert in technology and educational innovation, took part in these workshops. Prensky is founder of 2 Billion Kids Project and regular collaborator with SEK Education Group. Kiran Bir Sethi (India) is the founder of Design for Change and actively took part in planning these debates, led and aimed by both students and teachers, allowing them to explore how future generations can be supported and how to further the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals from a school environment.

“The world needs you today, because your voice is needed more than ever. At least you have to try”, said Bir Sethi during her participation in these workshops with young people. She encouraged students to have more self-confidence, “say to yourselves, ‘I can do it’, because we all have the opportunity to make changes in the world in which we live”.

In this sense, Prensky reflected on the role of schools. “I would like to refocus the purpose of education so that it is not only directed at what we want to learn, but what we want to accomplish.” Nieves Segovia, president of SEK Education Group, agreed with this and said that “schools must also learn, it is not something that only the students must do. Teachers and the rest of the education community must also take an active part, only with this attitude can things be done differently, only then can change be made”.

The voice of the students

The central axis of these workshops was precisely the work, development and conclusions of year two secondary students, who during the week worked in seven different work groups tackling different topics such as “self-taught”, “open-minded”, “fear of success”, “emotions”, “experience new things”, “turn the page on something that hurt you” and “know yourself”.

Worth noting in these sessions was the mentoring offered by Miguel Luengo, president of Design for Change Spain, who encouraged young people to take risks without fear of being judged by others. As he stressed on several occasions, “children are not the future, they are the present, and we have to listen to them.”  “Making mistakes is key to learning, growing and evolving,” he said.

The results of the work carried out by each of these seven teams, made up of six students aged 12 and 13, were presented at the closing session of “Growing up empowered. An empowerment hub experience”. The principal of SEK International School Catalunya, Robert Prata, stated at the closing ceremony that “at SEK we aim to work with you, listening to your voice, the students’ voice, in order to be able to make the changes that you have proposed”. 

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