We are currently living in an age where globalization plays an important part of our everyday life. We have to embrace all the strategies to ensure both economic growth, environmental protection and most of all social integration.
As social integration plays an integral part of the European Union’s strategies, the aim should not be just focusing on the financial crisis and methods to improve the European economy, but also to find ways to improve the quality of people’s lives and provide them with the hope for the future. Our project aims to give to all the stakeholders of our society an opportunity to create a better life for themselves.
S.I.T.E is a partnership project involving four countries: Cyprus (coordinator), Italy, Lithuania and Spain. This partnership brings together four European Adult Education providers which deliver a range of formal-informal and non-formal programmes to learners.
All partner Institutions have broadly the same aims:
1- To develop individual and social skills;
2- To develop critical thinking amongst learners;
3- To encourage students to engage and progress in further education programmes.
The project which we have undertaken requires great cooperation between different countries. The goal of this cooperation is to create a mechanism which will ensure a positive result in quality education. We are trying to promote to our students the positive effects in their lives of following their studies, through formal, informal and non-formal education.
This project aims to address how social and personal skills development can be explored and measured. We have been engaged to explore each partner’s work and methodologies, to experience how each partner measures the soft skills development of learners and how each partner promotes positive social integration with the disadvantaged and socially excluded groups which we work with.
The first meeting was in Limassol-Cyprus (October 27h-November 1st 2011), the second in Piedrabuena-Spain ( March 27th- April 1st 2012), the third in Siauliai- Lithuania ( June 27th-July 1st 2012). The next meeting is going to be in Avezzano-Italy from 7th to 11th November 2012. The final meeting was again in Limassol-Cyprus from 14th to 19th May 2013.
The individual methodologies and practices of each partner’s organization have been shared and analyzed to enable each partner to gain a new insight into their own work. During the meetings each partner organization has presented their own current practices and methodologies to each other.
We have exchanged experience within each organization, we have developed a holistic approach to education and we have shared modes of good practices between partners.
We have created a mechanism based on a questionnaire-observation and interview procedure.
At the beginning, halfway through and again at the end of the year, the students have filled out the questionnaire about their individual skills comparing their initial personal skills with their development in the areas worked on in the lessons. They have participated in individual and group sessions with the guidance of the teacher to reflect upon the new skills they have been developing. They have put into practice the techniques referring to individual and social skills provided by the teachers.
During the meetings each organization has shown to the partners the results of the questionnaires given to the learners at the beginning of the educational process. Then all the partners have presented their own observation and the results of the interviews. All observations have been taken into consideration to allow improvements of the courses.
We hope that our involvement in this project can lead to a creation of a tool that can be applied smoothly and effectively in any EU member state.