In Košice, They Focused on How to Increase the Number of Local Students in Secondary Schools
Have you heard of an event called hackathon? It is a typical format for focusing on the challenges of the IT world. Experts in a certain field meet and within a day they come up with ideas on how to solve a specific problem. The Pontis Foundation decided to use hackathon in an unconventional way to address the greatest inclusive challenges in the region.
This unique event brought together representatives of the private sector, state administration, non-profit organisations, as well as students. The teams set up on-site and worked together on predefined assignments:
- a low number of secondary school students from marginalised Roma communities,
- a poor perception of inclusion and insufficient implementation of an inclusive approach to society in the region.
The hackathon was attended by 83 people who worked in randomly grouped teams. Thanks to the diverse representation of 12 different fields, everyone in the group could bring their insights. Four teams chose the topic of the low number of Roma students in secondary schools, and one team focused on the theme of the poor perception of inclusion.
A mentoring programme for talented children was a winning idea
At the end of the meeting, the teams presented their ideas. The expert committee evaluated the various aspects of each idea, from funding to sustainability to systematic problem-solving. The winning team presented their idea of increasing the number of secondary school-educated Roma through an example of a 10-year-old Mirko who returned from a social institution to his parents in a Roma settlement. He is talented but lacks motivation and role models. That is why he would receive a mentor whose first task would be to find Mirko a friend with similar talent from the majority population. The mentor would informally introduce the two of them, as well as the boy’s parents who would be involved in the project too. By systematic work, Mirko would gradually acquire habits, and in the future, he could be a role model for other children in a similar situation.
What is inclusion and why do we need it?
Inclusion is not just about integrating people with disabilities. It aims to create conditions so that people with special needs can fulfil their potential and benefit the community. “Each of us may get into a situation when we need a special inclusive approach. These may include mothers on maternity leave, the retired people, but also people suffering from burnout,” explains Martina Kolesárová, Executive Director of the Pontis Foundation.
The ideas which emerged during the hackathon, assumed close cooperation with the state in designing their projects. This is crucial in any social innovation which is supposed to create an inclusive approach in society.
“Since acquiring this position, I have been meeting people in different life situations every day. It is the responsibility of the entire society to create conditions for disadvantaged groups so that they can become independent and stand on their own feet,” said the chairman of the Košice self-governing region Rastislav Trnka.
Close cooperation with the private sector is one of the prerequisites for successful inclusion. “We believe that the solutions that participants have come up with can have an impact not only on Košice but also on entire Slovakia,” says T-Systems representative Lukáš Benedik. T-Systems has long been committed to focusing on innovative projects and their support.
The InkluHack event took place as part of the European project entitled Social(i)Makers. The project is implemented within the Interreg Central Europe programme, supported through the European Regional Development Fund, funded by the European Union.
See the event photos: