The Nonformal University of Teremiski

Alternative education programme

Agile City is interested in education models that tackle the traditional teacher/student relationship within institutions. Whether it’s about the curriculum itself, a collective way of doing or the openness of the institution, we will be sharing some initiatives in this series of posts. Here we’re looking at:

The Nonformal University of Teremiski (Poland):

The Nonformal University of Teremiski is located in a tiny village close to the Belarusian border of Poland. The university was established in 2000 by the extended family of Jacek Kuroń, who was in life-long opposition both to the Polish communist party with its oppressive regime and to the hyper-capitalist shaping of the country after the fall of the Eastern bloc in 1989.

The university was set up to counter a series of lacking resources that affected people in post-communist Poland, especially in rural villages of the now defunct Polish state-farms: limited access to culture, education and work. The initiative sets itself the goal to address these lacking resources together with the pressing question of how to live meaningfully in contemporary society. In its first years, the university’s program addressed the rural youth who couldn’t count on financial support for their education, both because their parents were unemployed and because their families suffered from wider social problems. Joining the Nonformal University of Teremiski meant joining, for the period of one year, an environment in which they were encouraged to build their identity and make valuable choices.

The university has also been contributing to the cultural and social development of the Białowieża region, where it is located. These contributions are made through the organisation of activities within the local educational scene as well as through the running of the Barn Theatre, the first and only theatre in the region.

Read an interview of the co-authors and leaders of the educational program of the Nonformal University here
The official website of the Nonformal Universty here (in Polish)


The Barn – School premices

The Barn Theatre

The Barn Theatre


Teremiski, Poland, 50 inhabitants, situated on the border of the oldest virgin forest in Europe (Bialowieza Forest), which is a UNESCO world heritage site.


Every photo are from this interview of the co-authors and leaders of the educational program of the Nonformal University – here

If you’ve already participated in one or some of these educational programmes or if you know of any other programmes that use a different method with a similar purpose, or even better, if you invented one of these programmes and want to share your opinion on it please get in touch via [email protected] or in the comment section.