Run in partnership with relevant educational institutions in each country, the programme is designed to equip students aged 10-15 years with the critical thinkibg and problem solving skills.  As well as learning critical thinking and problem solving skills, children will learn practical programming skills and have the opportunity to practice their skills through physical computing.

As part of the programme each school in Western Balkans is going to be provided with a number of micro bit devices – pocket sized computers which children can programme onto and use across subjects to solve every day problems. It allows students to learn in a fun, interactive and innovative way.

To compete in the global job market, skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, digital literacy and creativity are key to success.

“As soon as they took the micro:bit in their hand, their imagination gone wild, they started asking questions, “what if we try this?”, “what if we connect the micro:bit with this?”, “what would happen if we do this?”. Children are becoming creative and in my opinion that is very important.” – Teacher

Where did it start – Story of the bravest schools

The pilot project „21st Century Schools“ was implemented in cooperation with BBC micro:bit education foundation during 2017 and 2018. It involved 135 schools and 26 000 students across the Western Balkans. 

During the pilot project, 1180 teachers were trained in how to apply new skills teaching using micro:bit device.They all went through five days of induction training on how to introduce three skills (Critical thinking, problem solving and coding using the micro:bit) in their teaching and learning process. Support was provided by 17 National Core Skill trainers, trained by British Councils in-house experts and Micro:bit Educational Foundation staff.

IPSOS Strategic Marketing Research

In 2018. The research was commissioned to IPSOS Strategic Marketing as part of the British Council’s’ 21st Century Schools project in the Western Balkans. The report showed the following:

  • 86% of teachers believe that micro:bit is useful in teaching a curriculum
  • 90% teachers believe that the micro:bit will inspire students about computing and coding outside the classroom
  • 93% of teachers thought the micro:bit would be inspiring for students in the classroom
  • 100% of teachers thought it was a useful teaching tool.

The report also showed that teachers believe that activities with micro:bits increased socialisation of students with each other, as well as “increasing the exchange of knowledge among students” and “improved cooperation and mutual communication with other teachers.” Teachers were thrilled to find that students who are usually indifferent and do not get involved in anything happening in class, were the first to engage with the micro:bit. It was reported that some students showed “some completely new potentials, indicating that they just needed different approach". 

The results of the pilot project fed into the much larger 21stCentury Schools Programme, which will over the period of three years provide a milion students aged 10-15 years in Western Balkans with skills they need for prosperous future.