(Free School-Association for Promotion of Democratic Education)
Legal structure: registered, non-profit organisation
Year founded: 2008
Planned date of opening: no date set
The group was founded on May 9, 2008 in Karlovac, Croatia. It is a group of teachers, education professionals, parents and children (around 30). The aim is to promote democratic education in Croatia and to work on starting up a democratic school. The group has recently managed to get initial permissions from the Ministry of Education to start a primary and a secondary school (grammar school). This happened after a year and a half of waiting and lobbying.
The group is currently advocating a united front of alternative education institutions and alternative school start up groups in Croatia towards coordinated action for indiscriminate funding of alternative schools.
It is difficult to give a start up date for school as there are many issues that need to be sorted out such as: funding; the appropriate site, teaching staff and students. Although there are groups of parents and children interested in this idea, they are not all in one place and that makes the matter more complicated. However, the group is committed to stay focused on working towards the goal.
The group would be interested in getting assistance from an established democratic school. We would like to send members (qualified teachers) to visit democratic schools and observe teaching and get an overall understanding of how democratic education works on a daily basis. We would also appreciate any assistance that can be given in preparing the curriculum for the school as it needs to be submitted to the Croatian Department of Education for quality clearance before a school can be founded.
We would also like to establish cooperation with democratic schools in Europe with the aim of sending students to those schools. The students that we have in mind are in public schools, but we would like to give them an opportunity to experience democratic education. We would also welcome students from democratic schools who would be interested to come to Croatia and give presentations to public school students and teachers about democratic education. We are thinking of doing this through EU Lifelong Learning Programme/Comenius.