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ECNAIS : European Council of National Associations of Independent Schools

Annual General Meeting | Seminars

Student participation – The future of independent education in Europe

Istanbul, Turkey | 10 - 12 April 2019


As representatives of a vital part of civil society, independent schools are important players in the process of democratization of the whole of society. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that independent schools are an important source of innovation and quality in national education systems. Independent schools all over Europe, each with their own profile and curriculum, offer parents, students and – within the given variety of schools – also teachers, the opportunity to choose just that specific school, that best meets their own expectations, talents and skills. By so doing, independent schools are completing the different national school systems in Europe and contribute with school choice and innovative school practices to the modern social and economic development of their countries.

Within Europe, there is a growing focus on the need to educate children within some common values that may help create and sustain fair, prosperous and inclusive societies. One of these values is usually defined as citizenship in the sense of belonging and participating in a given society actively contributing to its wellbeing.

At the school level, educators give sense to this value in many different ways. One of them is by creating formal ways for student participation in the life of the school. Not only as by-standers or recipients of teaching and other services, but as active agents of school life. Be it in student affairs, school administrative issues or even at the pedagogical management level.

The aim of the ECNAIS conference is to share and debate ways in which student participation in independent schools is being addressed and how this contributes to the development of the schools` educational projects. Being independent education based on the right of parents to choose the education they wish for their children and a manifestation of the role of civil society in the public sphere, student participation is an important field of action.

Accordingly, students will have a prominent role in this conference. For the first time, ECNAIS has invited its members to open participation to students form secondary education. They will have an active part in the conference: as presenters, listeners and discussants. By sharing experiences from the national systems and the perspectives of school leaders, teachers and students, we hope to attain a complete picture of the topic.

The points of departure for the conference are the following questions:

  • What does student participation mean?
  • How does student participation promote citizenship?
  • How to balance freedom of parental school choice, freedom to offer distinctive school projects and student participation?
  • What is the contribution of independent schools to the diversity in the national education systems?


Venue: Oda Kule, The Chamber of Commerce building
Accommodation: The Marmara Pera Hotel, Mesrutiyet Caddesi Tepebasi, Istanbul 34430, TURKEY.

Wednesday 10th April | ODA KULE
14:00 / 17:30 ECNAIS GM – Open to MC members only
Open to students, accompanying teachers and ECNAIS organizers
Thursday 11th April | SEPETÇİLER KASRI / ODA KULE
8:00 Welcome & Registration
8:30 Transport from hotel to Sepetçiler Kasri
9:30 Opening session
  • Mr Rodrigo Queiroz e Melo, Chairman of ECNAIS
  • Head of Education of Istanbul
  • Minister of Education/deputy
  • Mr Nurullah Dal, President of the Private Schools Association of Turkey
10:00 Welcome to Istanbul
Students from Istanbul
10:20 Ms. Prof. Gülşen Sayın, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Doğuş University
Dialogue included
11:00 Coffee-break
11:20 Mr Talha Çamaş, Head of Foundation Darüşşafaka
Dialogue included
12:00 Mr. Paulo Lapas, Director of São José School
Carolina Chaveiro, Student President of School Assembly
Dialogue included
12:40 Lunch at the Sepetçiler Kasri
14:10 Transport back to Conference venue Oda Kule
15:00 Students’ round table – discussion
16:00 Coffee-break
16:30 Students’ round table – discussion
17:30 School presentations and registration for school visits.
18:30 Moment for payments in cash
19:30 Dinner
Walk to restaurant at the Radisson Blu hotel, Istanbul Pera.
Friday 12th April | SCHOOLS / ODA KULE
8:30 Travel to schools
9:00 School visit including lunch
13:00 Leaving the school for hotel
14:45 Vision of independent education in Europe

  • Turkey: Ms. Binnur Karademir
  • Netherlands: Mr. Piet Jansen
15:45 Coffee-break
16:15 – 17:15 Working groups session
Plenary introduction of the working Groups’ session. The theme of the Conference will be discussed in the groups
18:00 Leaving hotel for cruise on the Bosphoros
19:00 Dinner cruise on the Bosphoros
Closing the seminar
Saturday 13th April
Optional Daytour in the Sultanahmet area, not included in the conference fee.


Registration can be done on line only:

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