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IP/08/929

Brussels, 13 June 2008

European Awards for Lifelong Learning recognise outstanding mobility projects

The 2008 European Awards for Lifelong Learning were given today to fifteen outstanding projects in the field of education and training funded by the European Union; the focus this year was on "quality in mobility". The prizes were handed over by the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Ján Figel', and the Slovenian Minister of Education and Sport, Milan Zver, at a conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

15 winning projects from 13 Member States have demonstrated how mobility can broaden horizons, enhance skills and create opportunities. These European success stories have been awarded with gold, silver and bronze prizes for mobility actions in one of five categories: Comenius for school education, Leonardo da Vinci for vocational education and training, Erasmus for higher education, Grundtvig for adult education, and 'Languages'. This year particular attention was given to mobility actions for teaching staff and trainers.

The five gold-winning projects include: a partnership between a Latvian and a Czech school, in which pupils translated songs into their partner's language and rehearsed together; the Intensive study programmes of the Portuguese Instituto Politécnico de Tomar and its partner universities; a staff exchange scheme between a Danish fire services provider and its UK counterpart; Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination Training coordinated by the Centre Européen Juif d'Information in Brussels and Lingu@net Europa Plus, a London-based project that guides learners in a choice of over 3,700 online learning resources.

The awards have been handed over at a conference on "Quality in Mobility", hosted by the Slovenian Presidency of the EU, in Ljubljana today. The conference is organised by the National Agency for the Lifelong Learning Programme in Slovenia – CMEPIUS – in close cooperation with the Ministry for Education and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia and with the support of the European Commission. The conference opens the floor for discussions on future steps to make mobility more accessible and increase the impact of staff mobility as a drive for change.

Mobility will remain at the very centre of the Lifelong Learning Programme, the EU's flagship funding programme in the field of education and training. New actions are already planned for the coming years:

  • "Comenius Regio" is a new action for partnerships between local and regional school authorities, to be launched in 2009.
  • From 2010, "Comenius Individual Pupil Mobility" will enable secondary pupils to spend from 3 months up to one school year at a Comenius partner school abroad.
  • In addition, new types of mobility will also be available under the Grundtvig programme for adult education.

To find out more about the awards, the conference and the latest European Success Stories in the Lifelong Learning Programme:

Conference website:

http://www.qim.si/eng/

Five new brochures "Mobility creates opportunities", with detailed descriptions of all the award-winning projects:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/publ/index_en.html

Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP):

http://ec.europa.eu/llp

Annex
European Awards for Lifelong Learning – "Quality in mobility": The 15 prize-winning projects

COMENIUS – SCHOOL EDUCATION

GOLD:

As the songs Unite...

Ventspils 1.ģimnāzija, Ventspils – LATVIA

Gymnázium Blansko, CZECH REPUBLIC

Bilateral School Partnerships: two schools from two different countries work together and pupils get the chance to build relations with young people from other countries and to communicate effectively in a language which is not their mother tongue

In this project, pupils cooperatively translated songs to their partner’s language and rehearsed together. Their aim was to sing their repertoire to different audiences in each exchange: The pupils and parents in the host school, the Embassy staff and representatives from the Town Council and the Board of Education.

In this exciting project the Latvian and Czech partners worked first on the common objective of translating a selection of songs of their choice into both native languages and German. The school used a cooperative approach and pupils who applied for participation on a voluntary basis were offered the activities that suited them best – translate, sing, draw or design.

SILVER:

CIRCE – a Classics and ICT Resource Course for Europe.
Onderwijs van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap Brussel, BELGIUM

In-Service Training Courses (developed by Comenius Multilateral Projects or Networks): a one week training course can serve to disseminate new knowledge and methods among colleagues and keep in contact with teachers from other countries. To make European In-Service Training courses for teachers and other school education staff possible, courses first have to be developed by Comenius Multilateral Projects or Networks.

CIRCE - a Classics and ICT Resource Course for Europe - looks at how the teaching of subjects like ancient languages and civilisations can be supported by the use of Information and Communication Technology in Europe. The course develops innovative approaches in areas traditionally associated to classics.

BRONZE:

Tomasz Wąsik: POLAND

Sandenskolan Boden – SWEDEN

Comenius Assistantships: Comenius Assistants spend three to ten months at their host school, helping in classroom teaching, organising local projects, working with smaller groups of pupils and often teaching their native language

Tomasz Wąsik’s assistantship can be considered as an example of the positive impact of mobility on European education. His stay at Sandenskolan enhanced his teaching skills, brought the realities of European enlargements to a whole community, while shortening the distance between the very far north of Sweden and Poland.
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ERASMUS – HIGHER EDUCATION

GOLD:

Instituto Politécnico de Tomar

Tomar, PORTUGAL

Intensive Programmes: short study programmes of 2 to 6 weeks which bring together students and staff from higher education institutions in at least three participating countries in order to encourage efficient and multinational teaching of specialist topics which might otherwise not be taught at all, or only in a very restricted number of universities.

Given its location in the historical city of Tomar, the Instituto Politécnico de Tomar has concentrated its activities on Intensive Programmes (IPs) in archaeology. With its blend of Art, Prehistory, Cultural Heritage and Management, the Intensive Programmes have proven to be a mobilising factor for the Institute and its partners, functioning as a catalyst for specialists and learners.

The institute's strategy has been to launch Intensive Programmes that will become key components for regular courses and test modules for innovation and development in the field of archaeology as well as in European Prehistoric Art from which an Erasmus Mundus Master programme has evolved.

More than 4,000 students and 100 lecturers from 15 European countries have studied and taught in Tomar since the first programme was launched in the mid-nineties. The programme's success is further illustrated by the number of leading positions in prehistoric art currently occupied by former students.

SILVER:

Tallinn Health College (Tallinna Tervishoiu Kõrgkool)

Tallinn, ESTONIA

Teaching Staff Exchange Programme, Teacher Mobility: allows students who are not able to participate in a mobility scheme to benefit from knowledge and expertise of academic staff from higher education institutions in other European countries, promotes exchange of pedagogical methods and encourages higher education institutions to broaden their courses content.

Tallinn Health College is a higher vocational education institution providing professional training for nurses, midwives, pharmacists, optometrists, dental technicians, occupational therapists and health care specialists.

Faculty exchange has played an important role, both in the development of curricula and in the enhancement of lecturers' professional skills, resulting in academic relationships with more than 30 educational institutions in Finland, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium.

BRONZE:

University of Southern Denmark (Syddansk Universitet)

Odense, DENMARK

Intensive Programmes: short study programmes of 2 to 6 weeks which bring together students and staff from higher education institutions in at least three participating countries in order to encourage efficient and multinational teaching of specialist topics which might otherwise not be taught at all, or only in a very restricted number of universities.

The pressing need for a common European Higher Education strategy on health-enhancing physical activity has inspired the University of Southern Denmark to conduct several Intensive Programmes. Based upon positive experiences in international collaboration, a group of European sports scientists established the MA programme European Master in Physical Activity and Health (EMPAH).
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LEONARDO DA VINCI – VOCATIONAL EDUCATON AND TRAINING

Leonardo Teachers and Trainers Mobility: exchanging experiences between professionals in different countries in order to increase the transparency of the different vocational training systems in Europe and foster their modernization.

GOLD:

Falck and the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Services staff exchange 2006

Falck Danmark A/S.

DENMARK

Rescue and safety exercises are a key in many industries, especially in areas such as fire services, the aviation industry or the chemical industry. Exchange of experiences and peer learning are important ingredients in this exchange and exemplify the powerful impact of mobility.

The Danish Company "Falck" has greatly improved the quality of its courses in fire services through an exchange of staff with their British counterpart, the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SF&RS). The project is, in addition, an excellent example of cooperation between a public and private organisation.

SILVER:

New frontiers and a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for biological agriculture in Europe (Nouvelles frontières et nouvelle PAC pour l’agriculture biologique en Europe)

CEZ - Bergerie Nationale

Rambouillet, FRANCE

Biological agriculture is a rapidly developing sector all across Europe, but in very different ways. In order to find out more about similarities and differences between countries 11 trainers visited 11 countries for two weeks.

Beneficiaries all met with policy-makers and professionals of Common Agricultural Policy in the country they visited. They also participated in farming activities, observing opportunities and difficulties for the development of biological agriculture within the CAP. All observations and reports have been put at the disposal of members of the European-wide FORMABIO network. They are now used widely to add a European dimension to the initial and continued training curricula of its members.

BRONZE:

European comparable teaching approaches in the new educational programme mechatronic operator

Secondary vocational and technical school Bežigrad

Ljubljana, SLOVENIA

Teachers at Bežigrad vocational school in Ljubljana were facing the challenge of introducing a new programme in mechatronics (mechanical and electronics engineering) in their school. Their decision to meet colleagues from other European countries who had a longer experience in that field has changed the life of their school.

The project that included exchanges with partners in Finland and Germany did not only improve the mechatronics programme. In recent years, the school has also witnessed a "motivation euphoria" among its teachers for teacher mobility and teacher training. In the years 2005 and 2006 around 45% of teachers were included in various teacher mobility projects. In the year 2008 the school is planning to include another 25 teachers in the mobility project, taking the total up to 80% of all teachers.
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GRUNDTVIG – ADULT LEARNING

In-Service-Training Courses for adult educators are derived from Multilateral Grundtvig projects, designed to produce courses of this kind. Multilateral projects develop high quality didactical material, new ways of valuing non-formal learning, innovative guidance and counselling methods for adult learning and ICT-based information tools.

GOLD:

Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination Training
Centre Européen Juif d'Information

Brussels, BELGIUM

The “Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination Training” project developed and piloted a new training programme designed in the spirit of anti-prejudice diversity education in order to recognise and respect multicultural diversity, to confront prejudice and discrimination, and to develop intercultural skills. Indeed, these competences alone will help in overcoming barriers and facilitating co-habitation among different cultures. The new training programme produced by this project, addressing diversity and discrimination issues related to religion in an innovative and constructive manner, can make a significant contribution to improving the delivery of adult education where religious diversity and discrimination are a key concern.

SILVER:

SPICES - Social Promotion of Intercultural Communication Expertise and Skills

Università degli Studi di Perugia, Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature antiche, moderne e comparate.

Perugia, ITALY

From 2005 to 2007 the SPICES partnership, consisting of 5 universities and 2 non-profit organisations, developed a training programme and supporting materials for adult educators wishing to create tailor-made courses for professionals working with foreign citizens.

The project is based on research activities in the participating countries which analysed current intercultural communication and language training courses and identified major linguistic, communication and cultural problems faced by foreign citizens and people with whom they interact.

BRONZE:

Stars under the Cobblestones - Multicultural skills for teachers of adult education

The Business Club “Austrialia”

Vienna, AUSTRIA

Multiculturalism is a key concern in adult education today. Teachers and trainers in adult education have an increasing need for more skills and competences in working with multicultural groups, especially at a basic level.

The Business Club “Austrialia" developed a project in which multiculturalism is a key concern as it also is in adult education today. The project has developed a comprehensive training programme to provide adult educators with the necessary competences in multicultural adult learning. The training programme has three main objectives: to improve the training of adult educators in the area of intercultural competences and European identity generally; to improve participants’ capacity to teach in a multicultural environment; and to promote the teaching of the less-taught European languages.
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LANGUAGES

Multilateral projects are designed either to developing and disseminating high quality language learning materials, including online courses and instruments for language testing, or to promote language awareness and access to language learning resources, like language festivals, information campaigns, etc.

GOLD:

Lingu@net Europa Plus

CILT, the National Centre for Languages

London, UNITED KINGDOM

The project provides support and resources for language learning. It guides learners in a choice of over 3.700 online learning resources, gives advice on overcoming common problems, and provides motivational tips. Lingu@net Europa Plus is an example of how technology and collaboration can successfully help in sharing resources and expertise across countries and language borders and fully responds to the increasing need for non traditional tools for promoting languages, as it allows continuous and flexible learning in a lifelong perspective. Furthermore, the resource centre represents an excellent tool for linguistic preparation previous to any mobility action. It provides, in fact, a number of language skills assessment and self-assessment tools, tailored language learning opportunities, and tools to refresh individual language knowledge.

SILVER:

FEEL - Funny, Easy, and Effective Learning about countries, cultures, and languages
Vytautas Magnus University

Kaunas, LITHUANIA

The project aimed at sparking interest in the languages of the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and to introduce the cultures that lie behind these languages. It created a variety of products, as souvenir-like calendars, language survival kits, brochures, and CDs with conversations in the project languages. Promotional activities included a European language festival in Brussels and local events in each partner country. FEEL targeted a wide range of people, including embassy staffs, travel agencies, politicians, businesses, and students. By doing so it promoted awareness of the cultural particularities of the 10 new countries, encouraging people to take interest in the study of the new official EU languages, and contributed to tourism and extended mobility in the target countries.

BRONZE:

Glossomuseum

European Cultural Organisation-Social Education (Ευρωπαϊκός Πολιτιστικός Οργανισμός Κοινωνικής Εκπαίδευσης)

ECOSE

Athens, GREECE

The main objective of this project was to raise awareness to the official EU languages – especially the less widely used and taught ones - among European pupils (mainly 9-14 years old), teachers, young citizens, schools and organisations. The activities of the project focused on the creation of a mobile museum, the so called “Glossomuseum”, with educational hand-made materials about the official EU languages and the cultural characteristics of the EU Member-States. These materials include, among others, posters, vocabulary lists for comparative language learning, alphabetical mobile games, cards depicting characteristic letters from various languages, recorded narrated texts, big group games.346 creative performances have been presented to 15653 children and young citizens, 334 teachers and 147 schools and organisations of all seven participating countries.


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