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SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATIONAL PROJECT - CASE STUDY DEBLÍN RURAL TOWN, SOUTH MORAVIA, CZECH REPUBLIC

A. Hynek, B. Svozil, J. Travnicek, J. Trojan

Masaryk University Brno (CZECH REPUBLIC)
The paper presents an educational project oriented on cooperation between the university represented by the Institute of Geography, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University in Brno, the Czechlands, the primary school in the rural town of Deblín, the municipal authorities of Tišnov- the district centre, the Department of Environment, and the local community.
Our primary objectives could be seen in two ways: Firstly as educational methods focused on project oriented learning and secondly as practical application of sustainability principles/policy within real topics chosen with relation to the area of interest/local community. The application level of this cooperation was based on finding suitable solutions for sustainability of the Deblín territory, South Moravia. Key concepts were represented by the ESPECT approach and Millennium Ecosystem Assessment view of sustainability. Selection of methods used in the project came out from the combination of qualitative (close to the sense of Geertz´s “thick description“) and quantitative approaches. The validity of research was proved by using the methodological triangulation/multiple method.
A considerable role was played by a member of the authors' team who acquired a social status encompassing implicit expectations of the community members by becoming a teacher at local primary school, not burdened with local stereotypes. It helped uncover deep layers of reality and understand the social construction in local community.
The way of reaching the objectives which raised from project oriented education which was held at Masaryk University as well as the primary school in Deblín. Pupils, students and teachers worked together and shared common experience. This cooperation had one significant attribute: the result was not known beforehand but the advantage could be seen in more freedom in searching for the solutions. During the project students and pupils developed their key competences, learned how to obtain and critically evaluate information of the selected area by means of combination of primary and secondary data, carry out the field verification, propose solutions and present their proposals at public meetings. GIS technology was applied in all steps of the project.
The whole project-oriented education shows that cooperation between primary level, pupils as local insiders, and tertiary level - as external experts - could be constrained not even at the educational level by stimulating personal development of students/pupils, but also at the application level by finding sustainable development of the Deblín territory and moving the local authorities' focus towards real problems. Due to the project approach, the role of geography is becoming clearer for all participants and also for external beholders. Project methods, approach and outputs were presented in several discussion platforms as a starting and proclamative point for further development. One example of project continuance is under EU Operational Programme called Education for Competitiveness.