Nerijus came into the education field 12 years ago as a result of his own negative experience at school. With a wish to improve the education system, he started a non-governmental institution providing non-formal education opportunities for high school kids. After a while, he understood that real positive changes can be only brought by becoming a part of formal education. Therefore in 2015 first and only Democratic school in Lithuania was opened as an innovative 21st-century school example.
As well as any democratic school in the world, Democratic school in Lithuania stands on the same two pillars: self-directed learning and shared decision-making. We do follow the national curriculum, but in its framework, we are building a space for kids to feel safe, listened, appreciated, eager to learn and help them find areas where their talents meet their motivation. Today the school is attended by 65 pupils and is growing each year.
Next to our school we started a club of “Brave schools” with an aim to help public schools become more democratic. One of them, Aukštelkės school started to implement democratic education principals in daily life. E.g. they started to run School meeting and engage pupils in the decision-making process. During these meetings, such decisions as to eliminate the bell were made. But most important - a dialog began. After a year of this so-called experiment, a deputy principal from Aukštelkė said: “When we started this, the majority of the teachers were skeptical, but now everyone is so happy no one even thinks about getting back. Kids are more positive, courageous and conscious at our school."