Final dissemination and exploitation multiplier event – 20 March 2024, Sofia, Bulgaria

On 20 March, 2024 (Wednesday) in the Great Hall “prof. Asen Zlatarov” of the Federation of Scientific and Technical Unions (FNTS) in the city of Sofia, the final event of the project was held. It was organized by 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” Sofia (project coordinator) in partnership with “Bulgarian Inclusive Support Team” Sofia and WINSS – World Innovative Sustainable Solutions, Istanbul, Turkey. More than 50 people took part in the event, including principals of vocational schools, teachers, pedagogical counsellors, students (including participants in the pilot phase of the project), as well as representatives of the Union of Bulgarian teachers and academics.

The event was opened by Mrs. Latinka Kovacheva – director of 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov”, who is also the coordinator of the project. She outlined the achievements of the project within the thirteen months of its implementation.

After that, Mr. Andrean Lazarov from the Bulgarian Inclusion Support Team presented the concept of the project and the four main didactic results of the project, namely: Model for peer learning mentoring between advanced students and students with learning difficulties and low skills; Code of conduct for advanced students to act as peer mentors of marginsalised mentees (students); Handbook for usage of digital tools in peer support; Guidance for teachers on peer mentoring realisation during distance learning.

The next presentation was jointly presented by Mrs. Rumyana Petrova and Mr. Petar Kalpakchiev, together with students – mentors and mentees, who shared with the audience feedback on the impact of their participation in the pilot program of the project.

A summary of the evaluation forms for participation in the program from all 24 mentor couples in Bulgaria was also presented. The results show an extraordinary benefit to the participants. Mentees (among them 9th and 10th graders from Roma backgrounds and with special educational needs) understood that the tasks set by the teachers were realistically achievable. They became more motivated to continue instead of giving up, and thanks to the program they were able to make informed decisions about their future. Their participation fostered their sense of citizenship and made educational processes more transparent and accountable to them. They improved their self-esteem, developed a sense of initiative and built their digital skills, as well as communication, negotiation and work skills team.

The next presentation was given by Mrs. Penka Nikolova, who presented an overview of the contribution of the Erasmus + Program projects of 94 SU “Dimitar Strashimirov” for teachers and students from risk groups.

Ms. Figen Sekin – President of WINSS – World Innovative Sustainable Solutions, Istanbul, Turkey – partner in the project, through which the concept of peer mentoring was implemented in Bulgaria, took part in the event.

It demonstrates innovations in the education of persons with fewer opportunities, developed by WINSS, together with representatives of the Ministry of National Education in the Republic of Turkey.

At the end of the event, opportunities for wider use of the project results by other schools were discussed. The event was also attended by Mr. Dervis Celik – from Esenyurt” Regional Education Directorate in Istanbul, Turkey. He emphasized the importance of the project, as well as offered new opportunities for cooperation with Bulgarian partners.