MBU MESlab Methodical Centre
Methodological Centre for Slovaks Living Abroad (MESlab) is a living lab fostering innovation and participative action in the field of education and research with and for Slovak diaspora abroad and minority language communities established locally and regionally.
MESlab was established in 1993 at UMB with the support of the Ministry of Education od the Slovak Republic as a training centre with a specific mission and it has been progressively transformed to provide a shared place for different actors to innovate language and culture acquisition methodologies and foster interdisciplinary community-based research.
MESlab is located in the MBU Knowledge Transfer Pole (Cesta na amfiteáter 1) in the central part of the campus together with other centers focusing at knowledge co-creation and transfer.
MBU methodological centre for Slovaks living abroad and for foreign students began its activities at Matej Bel University as early as the 1st of January, 1993. Since its establishment, the activities of the Centre have been generally bound by an agreement between Matej Bel University and the Slovak Ministry of Education. One of the most important early milestones of the Methodological Centre worth mentioning is the publication of the first edition of the Slovak language textbook as a book for minority language learning. The textbook was published in Slovakia in 1999 and it was addressed to the first – third grade of Sunday School of the Slovak Cultural Association in Buenos Aires. The author of the publication is Mgr. Anita Murgašová, a former long-time member of the Methodological Centre. During this period, the centre provided training activities for the teachers of schools with the instruction in Slovak abroad.
Since 2008, the centre has been annually organising a School in nature for students of the schools from abroad with the instruction in Slovak, as well as a Health camp for children from Ukraine and a Summer camp for children from Hungary. Following the delegation of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, the methodological centre prepared a number of specialized activities: school of folk dance, puppet theatre, young IT experts, summer sports, skiing and snowboarding courses and similar. Mgr. Zuzana Drugová has been working in the centre since 2011.
In the process of organizing educational events for young compatriots, the philosophy of the MBU Methodological Centre for Slovaks living abroad and foreign students consists in providing education in the Slovak language and in Slovak reality – in an interactive manner, through cognitive experiences in nature, caves, castles, museums and open air museums. The Centre organises the educational events in various regions of Slovakia just with this aim. A young team of teachers annually prepares a tailor-made program for the all of the participants to make the children enjoy a natural form of communication in the Slovak language by working in mixed teams.
How MESlab works
MESlab is based on the partnership between UMB and Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sports of the Slovak Republic. It provides for an active dialogue with representatives of Slovak compatriot communities abroad, international students at UMB and their background milieux. It liaises with cultural, educational and civic centres in Banska Bystrica and its region, researchers and educational experts coming from institutions of various kind. MESlab operates with a multi-source funding (ministerial subsidy, national grants, EU project funding and sponsorship funds).