Have the Changes in Education during the Period of Independence Become Social Innovation?
2012 is the year of social innovation in the European Union. With this, we try to draw attention to the importance of innovations that initiate from the „grassroots” as well as to such aspects of implementation of „top-down” reforms and political changes that have remained in the shadows until now.
People began to widely use the idea of social innovations in the beginning of the 1990s, both in the fields of innovation and politics. However, the widespread use of the concept and its becoming a „buzzword” has made it vague, meaningless, and often pointless. From the variety of meanings, it is still possible to point out the main definitions: social innovation as a way to deal with social problems and crises by inventing, implementing, and spreading new practices, ways of acting, as well as organizational solutions on the grassroots level. Using the concept of social innovation helps to better understand and explain if and how the reforms, legislative amendments and other „top-down” changes, as well as broader social (e.g. post-socialist) transitions are implemented through the changes of social institutes, and what is the social gain that these changes could bring along. Education is one sphere where, according to different analyses and positions, many reforms are made, but very few actual changes occur. The article is aimed at explaining how the concept of social innovation and its implementation are being understood. Analysis of different definitions and interpretations allows to increase the analytical value of the concept in order to understand how deep changes have occurred as a result of e.g. reforms, and if legislative amendments have also led to social innovation.