The smell of fresh flowers, children playing in fountains, packed terraces and smiling people everywhere… summer is here! The time of year known by learners, teachers and school leaders as summer break, the end of the schoolyear and complete and utter relaxation. eNSPIRED too turns the page: it’s goodbye to this year’s main theme ‘vulnerability in the classroom’ and hello to ‘gender in the classroom”.

Retrospect on a productive year

Looking back on the 2017/18 schoolyear, we feel nothing short of pride. Together, we blew the debate on ‘vulnerability in the classroom’ wide open and inspired each other by sharing practices and experiences. In November we were delighted to welcome Professor Kwame Akyeampong, expert in international education at the Centre for International Education at the University of Sussex. During his guest lecture on ‘Vulnerable learners: the teacher matters’, he shared some interesting ideas and ten international guidelines we can use to change our mindset about ‘teachers and inclusion’.

From 16 to 20 April, you were all more than welcome to join us for the eNSPIRED learning week, during which educational experts from Zambia and Suriname opened an international dialogue about vulnerability in preschool, primary and secondary school. Experiences and good practices from the South were shared, to help us overcome global educational challenges. The countless positive reactions we received afterwards, showed that educational actors in Flanders can learn a lot from their colleagues in the South.

It’s all about gender

From September till June 2018/19, gender will be the common thread throughout all the eNSPIRED activities. As the end of the schoolyear approaches, the eNSPIRED advisory group will be dotting its i’s and crossing its t’s on 25 June. After that, we can go full ahead and take our first steps towards kicking off the next schoolyear!

As one of VVOB’s areas of expertise, gender already plays an important role in many of our programmes. In Cambodia, we launched the TIGER-project to transform 40 primary and secondary schools into centres of expertise on gender responsiveness. With iGROW in Suriname, VVOB creates supporting school environments concerning sexual health, sexual rights and gender-based violence. And in Rwanda, Girls on MARS creates gender-responsive schools where girls' learning outcomes in maths improve.

On 5 and 6 June, VVOB’s very own Anna Carmela Murru took the stage at the EU Development Days in Brussels to share VVOB’s broad approach to tackling gender-based violence in and around schools and other educational settings.

Sneak peek

Can’t wait to discover more about our eNSPIRED-projects for next year? Without giving away too much, we can reassure you that we’ll keep on inspiring with practices and experiences from the South. This fall, you are more than welcome to attend our guest lecture, where an international expert on gender and education will share his/her know-how on the subject. Once again, we are looking forward to meeting you at our eNSPIRED learning week in the spring of 2019 and be inspired by practices from your colleagues in the South. Looking for news or inspiration concerning ‘gender in the classroom’? Keep an eye on our website and social media!

We’re looking forward to seeing you again next year. In the meantime: enjoy your holidays and summer, and we will take care of the rest!