Fellow Since 2001
Niepubliczna Szkoła Podstawowa Derc
This profile was prepared when Anna Gajewska was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
After years working as a teacher and director of a village school, Anna is turning her attention to saving the thousands of small schools that are strung across the Polish countryside. To improve education for rural students and revitalize village life, she has set up a network of countryside schools that extends to neighboring countries as well. In Anna's view, the education system should support interactive learning among students and involve the whole community–parents, teachers, school-children, and others–in a range of civic activities appropriate for each community. In an era of rapid urbanization, Anna's approach is making villages more attractive to the next generation, while sparking civic initiative among community members now. By joining her schools in a network guided by one board of directors, Anna enables teachers and administrators to collaborate and share information and experiences.