At the end of the last week, the hackathon “School for the student” took place, in which students from all over Latvia solved current school challenges and created ideas for promoting students’ well-being, self-growth and a “greener” school. The author of the most successful idea and the winner of the main prize was Bauska 2nd secondary school team “The Rollers” with the idea of ​​a club creation system or user program in which students will independently create interest clubs and groups of like-minded people.

Hackathon “School for the student” gathered participants not only from the cities where the event took place, but also from several regional cities: Grobina, Durbe, Priekuli, Ilukste, Rezekne, Bauska, Ogre, Naukseni, Cibla, Saldus and others. “In Liepaja, Riga, Valmiera, Daugavpils and online, we gathered almost 300 students from all regions of Latvia. We are glad to see great invovelment of the schools and interest of the students in generating ideas for solving the current school challenges,” infoms hackathon management and coordination project manager Roberts Gaizutis (Green Tech Cluster).

“Our goal was to encourage students to look at the educational process and the school environment and identify their needs and desires, which can be fulfilled by us, the educational policy makers. The hackathon gave us a great opportunity to see how students themselves evaluate, experience and feel in school and in the learning process,” says Santa Smidlere, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Science. “We are glad to realize the the problems raised by young people at the event. In the creative process, we saw an understanding of broad issues such as the environment and sustainability, as well as needs that, in the opinion of the young people themselves, could improve the opportunities for self-growth at school. It should be noted that determining the best team and the developed prototype was a difficult task for the jury, as the number of teams was large and the overall performance was high-quality. We thank every participant for inspiring changes not only in the school, but also in the management of the education system with their ideas and initiatives.”

In the first stage of the hackathon or the four mini-hackathons in Liepaja, Riga, Valmiera and Daugavpils, the winners of the 300 EUR prize and the top-hackathon finalists were the following teams: Friendly Appeal Liepaja City High School 5 team “Friendship” with the idea of a room for stabilizing the mental health of young people and developing knowledge, the already mentioned Bauska 2nd secondary school team “The Rollers”, Valmiera Vocational Education and Training School team “VT MEHI” with the idea of a water saving system and Daugavpils Saskana elementary school team “Alfa” with the idea of sustainable food storage. Also as the finalists were nomitated Grobina district secondary school team “Octagons” with the idea of a lounge for pupils, Bauska 2nd secondary school team “Haktorials” with the idea of a universal catering application, Naukseni district secondary school team “Thinky Winkies” with the idea of a digital information site for school news, Ilukste secondary school team “Almost locals” with the idea of a sound system in school and Ogre Technical school team “Bavs” with the idea of a greenhouse for learning and sustainability.

As participant’s favourites in the mini-hackathons were nominated the previously mentioned teams Friendly Appeal Liepaja City High School 5 team “Friendship” and Bauska 2nd secondary school team “Haktorials”, Valmiera Vocational Education and Training School “Without Ruble” with the idea of an application for promoting and rewarding student achievements and Preili 2nd High School team “Latgalians” with the idea of a rest area in the learning environment.

The main prize of the hackathon, 2000 EUR, was awarded by the jury to the Bauska 2nd secondary school team “The Rollers”, who created the idea of ​​a system for creating groups, or a user program, in which students will independently create interest clubs and groups of like-minded people.

Evelina Gateza, a member of the winning team “The Rollers” and the author of the idea, admits that the victory was unexpected: “When creating the idea, we thought of what is lacking in our school and how we could make daily school life more colourful. We are satisfied with the job we have done and although we believed in our idea from the very beginning, the victory is a surprise and great joy for all of us. Looking into the future, we will work towards the implementation of our idea for sure.”

Participants’ ideas and prototypes were evaluated by experts from various sectors: Gunta Arāja, Deputy Director of the Structural Funds Department of the Ministry of Education and Science, Imants Martinsons, Head of Green Tech Cluster Direction “Future Mobility”, Ivo Rode, Head of Educational Innovation and Change Processes, and E-internship platform “Edy365. com” founder Oskars Putniņš.

During the two-day hackathon, the participants had the opportunity to consult with almost 40 experts in the social field, sustainability, IT, marketing and growth fields: Valters Muzikants, Energy efficiency expert at Riga Energy Agency; Ieva Meiksane, Board member at Green Tech Cluster; YouTuber Edgars Frescenko (Edgar Fresh); Irena Zukovska, head of the Daugavpils branch of the Adolescent Resource Center; Rudolfs Grins, marketing manager at Eleport Latvija; Inese Stepko, head of the Inclusive education support department at Liepaja Municipal Education Department; Sandra Celmina, head of the project and external relations department at Daugavpils Technology and Tourism College; personal growth coach Linda Arela, youth growth coach Inga Laugale, startup and investor consultant Marta Rautenschild, IT expert Sergejs Zikovs and others.

Hackathon “School for the student” was organized by the Ministry of Education and Science in cooperation with the association “Green Tech Cluster” as part of the European Year of Youth, creating a connection with the European Commission’s initiatives “EU in my School” and “Europe in my Region”. The hackathon is organized with the support of European Union (EU) funds.