By Christos Giovanopoulos
The Solidarity Schools in Greece were create in the context of the crisis to counter the acute increase of inequalities in education. At the same time, they have been laboratories of self-organised educational structures and practices integrated in the broader solidarity networks as autonomous learning communities. By putting democracy and mutualism at the core of their organizational function and educational practices they renegotiate the ways in which communities of education and knowledge production and sharing liaise with their communities.
This weekend they convene for first time in a two-day meeting in order to “further our democratic way of operating… to deconstruct the teacher-centered way of understanding education and learning and to construct the visionary frame of decentralized, autonomous and non-hierarchical educational communities”, as they state. In that way they aim “to cultivate a cohesive visionary frame for our role, to better describe our goals, to highlight and empower «good» practices on the educational spectrum… to defend education as a common good, to continue to reclaim by creating!
The program of the meeting includes sessions and workshops on solidarity schools as communities of participatory action and democracy, on their relation with the social and solidarity economy and the commons, on social pedagogy and communities of learning, on interculturalism and the education of immigrants and refugees, on gender identity in/and education. It must also be noted that the meeting aspires to connect with analogous experiences from outside Greece. To this aim collectives, educationalists and researchers from Italy, Switzerland, France, UK, Turkey and Germany will also take part in the meetings.
Infra-demos, has been part of the organizing group of the two-day meeting and facilitates the session on the relation between the solidarity schools the solidarity economies and the commons. The session will develop in two axes. Firstly, drawing by the experience of the solidarity schools will attempt to show the different perception that they cultivate for economic relations and transactions, which are based on use value through practices of mutualism and free exchange. The second focus will be on the relationship of the solidarity school with their local communities and the existing municipal framework, in order to work out institutional formats and changes that need to be achieved in order autonomous educational communities to be feasible.
For those interested you can find more in: http://meeting.solidarityschools.gr/en/