It has been more than 6 weeks since I came to Pristina. I have already got used to the city and people. Moreover, I have learned several phrases in Albanian. One can say that Kosovar in me who was sleeping before woke up this time. Those who know me well aware of the fact how hard for me to be an awake (lol).
Therefore in order to keep myself active and fresh in the first week when I came to Prishtina, I started to search different interest groups on Facebook. I think it is better to learn more about the country and the city by using existing social media. I found Adventure Trips Kosovo, Fb group that offers bike tours not only in the city but also rural sites around Prishtina. The first weekend we did a bike tour to the ancient castle called Novobrdo. We passed through several villages were used to live different ethnic groups: one of those villages is Serbian and another one Croatian. After some time one of my friends said that they have a local Eiffel Tower. I thought that he is joking. However, after half an hour we stopped in the local restaurant and I contemplated the small prototype of ET in the rural neighborhood of Kosovo. Since that time I’m biking almost every weekend. Sometimes it is not safe cause they don’t have bike lanes and some car drivers are not bike-friendly. However, last week I broke my own record by cycling more than 100 km in a day. I was amazed not only by cycling with my new friends. The nature around the city is really beautiful. Green hills with wildly growing trees followed us on the entire bike ride. On the way very often you can find mountain springs, rivers, lakes. All this is accompanied by the cleanest mountain air and stormy vegetation.
Let’s back to the internship itself. As I mentioned in the previous blog I’m interning at KEC (Kosovo Education Center). Here the project ASSET is implemented with the support of USAID and FHI360. ASSET is a five-year initiative designed to benefit upper secondary schools in Kosovo (serving grades 10-12). The implementation started in June last year and will last until 2021. ASSET’s main objective is to develop employability and entrepreneurial skills in Youth, increase the likelihood of them making informed career choices. The Program’s motto is “Preparing Kosovo Youth for 21st Century Life and Work”. ASSET’s aims and activities are aligned with Kosovo’s Education Strategic Plan, its curriculum framework and its Core Curriculum for upper secondary schools.
The great deal of organizational work has done in the first year:
1) two piloted schools were identified – the Xhevdet Doda Gymnasium in the city of Pristina and the Hajdar Dushi Gymnasium in the city of Djakovo;
2) the necessary equipment was purchased;
3) partner organizations were identified and a joint plan of activities settled up;
4) training were conducted for teachers on the introduction of new teaching methods.
Each school has 3 types of premises that established by the Project: Makerspace, Career Corner, and Training Center. In order to jointly manufacture various materials, develop creative thinking and other practical skills Makerspace implies the use by students of various equipment in the form of 3D printers, electronic microscopes, laser cutters, etc. Career Corners help determine the future profession and practice in relevant organizations. Training Center currently serves as a methodological platform for the development of teachers and the introduction of the latest educational tools in the curriculum.
It should be noted that in Kosovo there are a lot of international organizations implementing various educational projects. Many of them involve the local community and businessmen to participate in the implementation of projects. For example, the above-mentioned premises in schools were renovated and decorated with the support of the parents of the students.
Since in summer time most of the schools are on vacation Project staff mainly deal with reports, meetings and the procurement of equipment. Also, they are identifying other partner schools. In the next school year, the number of schools is planned to increase to 16. In addition to other assignments, I work on organizing a summer camp to maximize the effective use of these school premises.
This is all for now. See you soon!