Jubilee Centre staff members Aidan Thompson and Joseph Ward spoke as expert guests at the #inno4edu SmartUp social innovation lab in Skopje, Macedonia. Building on the successful partnership with UNICEF in the country, Aidan and Joe gave a workshop to participants working on social innovation projects in education, looking to demystify character education. The workshop was framed around three ‘big questions’, looking at how and where a focus on character fits in the overall purpose of education, debating whether character can be taught, and discussing how character can be measured. Joe and Aidan gave advice to two groups developing projects to build web platforms that will provide character-based resources for teachers in Macedonia. Aidan and Joe’s workshop was live streamed via the SmartUp Facebook page.
During the visit, Aidan and Joe were also able to meet with the UNICEF Macedonia team to discuss the wider aims for implementing a character focus to the Macedonian pre-school curriculum, including Bobby Soobrayan, regional adviser for Education for UNICEF Europe and Central Asia. Aidan also met with Prof. Violeta Petroska-Beshka from the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University to discuss possible collaboration on a character-based research project, and with Elizabeth Fordham and colleagues from the OECD to discuss possible overlaps between Jubilee Centre and OECD approaches to attitudes and values in education.