EDUCATION UNLIMITED! PROJECT RESULTS BOOK
Impressum Published by: AEGEE-Europe Rue Nestor de Tiere 15 1030 Brussels Belgium Printed in June 2008 Circulation: 1000 For publisher: Dragan Stojanovski Editor-in-Chief: Jonna Sijl
Art Director: Bartosz Kotowicz Proofreader: Sonia Pavlenko, Jonna Sijl Contributors: Jan Figel, Anita Bosneva, Jacqueline Emmerich, Julia Hoffmann, Percin Imrek, Kadri Kalle, Guillaume Mernier, Vaggelis Monoguios, Triin Pisuke, Laure Onidi, Asia Piskunowicz, Miljan Radunovic, Iryna Rud, Astrid Schrader, Jonna Sijl, Dragan Stojanovski, Jan Tolkien, Viktoriya Voytsekhovska, Theijs van Welij
3 For their support and help, the project team wants to thank: From the (ex)-Comité Directeur Laure Onidi and Theijs van Welij From the Education Working Group Astrid Schrader and Tjasa Toni
People who supported the project in other ways Bartek Kotowicz, layout of the Results Booklet and logo design Guillaume Mernier, AEGEE EWG expert Irakli Gvaramadze, AEGEE EWG expert Radu Racareanu, AEGEE-Academy Speaker Annika Stienen, team member of the Model European Union Maciek Gad, “Mr. EDUN” And last but not least Our families, friends and loved-ones
People who made the main activities possible Except from team members - Kick-off conference in Stuttgart - Georgios Touloumenidis “Touloumbaki” - BPBP in Niš - Dragan Stojanovski, Dragana Stojkovic and Milana Antic - BPTS in Münster - Jan Tolkien - NFE in Paris - Magda Karamanoglou, Julien Penabla and Julia Hoffmann - Integration into education in Kiev - Iryna Rud - PTM in Poznan - Agata Patecka - PTM in Athens - Harris Kantas - Iceland Study Visit - Anita Bosneva - NFE Book - Maria Nomikou
I. INTRO: Acknowledgements 3 | Forword by Jan Figel 5 | Message from the President 7 | Message from the Projects Director 8 | Message from the Project Manager 10 | Message of the Chief Editor 12 | II. AEGEE III. YOUTH SAY IN EDUCATION REFORM: The Idea 17 | The Goals 18 | First Steps 19 | Major Steps 20 | The End...and the Beginning 22 | IV. EDUCATION FOR 21st CENTURY EUROPE: Historic Integration 25 | Focus on Learner, Focus on Outcomes 26 | Learning for Life and throughout Life 28 | Learning by Doing 29 | V. ACTIVITIES: From University Campus to UNESCO Headquarters 32 |
TABLE OF CONTENTS
...by EDUN!: Project Team Meeting, Poznan 33 | Bologna Process - change or obstacle?, Stuttgart 35 | Bologna Process Training School, Münster 35 | Bologna Process Best Practices, Niš 36 | Integration into Education, Kiev 39 | Project Team Meeting, Athens 40 | Education Action Week 41 | Non-formal Education - Its impact and outcomes, Paris 43 | UNESCO Day on Non-formal Education, Paris 44 | Case Study Trip Iceland: Connecting Edges, Reykjavik 45 | Best Practices in Non-formal Education (NFE book) 46 | ....with EDUN!: European Boards’ Meeting, Gliwice 48 | Network Meetings 49 | Spring Agora, Valletta 50 | The Informal Forum of International Students Organizations’ (IFISO), Brussels 51 | Summer Universities 52 | Project Team Meeting: Changing Landscapes, Estonia 54 | VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE: External contacts 55 | Building partnerships 57 | Making a buzz 59 | VII. RESULTS: Education Unlimited! - Students’ Contribution to Improvement of Higher Education in Europe 65 | The Complementary Role of Formal Education and Non-formal Education 69 | VIII. THE TEAM IX. THE JOURNEY X. A NEW BEGINNING: It’s good to be back 81 | A Glimpse into the Future 83 XI. BIBLIOGRAPHY
5 These are exciting times for Higher Education in Europe: the wave of reforms powered by the Bologna Process are transforming curricula and are making systems and courses more student–oriented, more transparent, and more attractive. The 46 countries officially involved in the process—and the partner countries that are drawing inspiration from it—share the goal of making their universities more accessible and better connected to the new needs of the labour market and of society. The knowledge economy requires that more people attain a Higher Education degree. Therefore we need to boost the number of university students; both as a follow–up to secondary education and at later stages in life.
In the labour market, employers and trade unions have come to recognise the benefits of validation. Enterprises have staff whose skills can go unacknowledged without validation systems. Validation is thus a tool for greater efficiency and better allocation of human resources. In broader terms, validation is also an instrument for social justice, because it gives everyone their due whether or not they managed to go to university. It would be an unacceptable waste to neglect such resources at any time, but Europe’s need to fully deploy its human potential is more urgent than ever in the knowledge age.
The knowledge economy also requires that we shorten the gap between Formal and Informal Learning. Countries throughout Europe are increasingly recognising that they cannot afford to look only at a person’s formal qualifications. Citizens young and old can draw on a range of other experiences, knowledge and skills which can help them in their studies or careers; but these are not always recognised or understood. In the jargon, these skills are not always ‘validated’. By validation of Non–formal and Informal Learning we mean giving official recognition to a person’s skills. As far as Formal Higher Education is concerned, a major goal must be to avoid situations where people are forced to repeat education or training unnecessarily and start again from square one in spite of the knowledge and skills they already have.
These are some of the reasons why I congratulate AEGEE on its “Education Unlimited!” project. It is a valuable input to the reform process of Europe’s learning systems and yet another achievement in the distinguished tradition of your association at the service of Europe’s most cherished values.
Ján Figel’ Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture, and Youth
7 I am particularly proud of this project because it brought AEGEE back in the field of Higher Education, one of our pillars, as well as fulfilling 2 other pillars: Active Citizenship and Cultural Exchange. It is always hard to say if a project was successful or not. What makes a project a success? The number of people that got involved, the number of personalities that were present at a conference, ticking the aims and objectives? I might not have the answer but I still want to state that this project was a success, because this project really opened the eyes of so many students. How many of them knew about the Bologna Process and the mistakes in its implementation? How many of them knew that their extracurricular activities help them gain skills and that some people were working on their recognition? For sure less than tomorrow but still more than yesterday thanks to this project and the efforts of the project team members. I really advise you to go through the next pages and have a close look at what this project really did and what the actors brought back from it. I think that a lot remains to be done in this field and I strongly encourage AEGEE to remain involved with this issue. An even better step would be to finally see students, professors; universities as well as parents understand this new European Higher Education Area and work together towards a better and fair education. Let’s hope that this project and booklet will inspire some of you.
LaurE Onidi President AEGEE Europe
I. Message from the President
It is a particular pleasure to welcome you to the results booklet of “Education Unlimited!” I was personally involved this project since its development at the Project Development Meeting in Brussels in 2006 until its beginning in 2007 as Projects Director. And I have accompanied it until its end in 2008 as President of AEGEE-Europe.
8 I. Message from the Projects Director
It is a great duty to contribute to the revolutionary changes driving the modern world of today, and therefore the European academia. It is even a bigger privilege to do it the AEGEE way â€“ brave, big and benefiting for young people and communities that live across Europe. Education Unlimited! was born from the strong belief that the globalization processes in the knowledge-driven world of today and tomorrow require profound education reform, that the Bologna Process is a historic approach to rethinking the European, and the wider perception of Higher Education, with geographical and structural scope never seen before and that preparing the student for the labor market, for further competence building and for active citizenship calls for an extensive social dialogue on the issues of the education reform. It was also designed to show the advantages of Non-formal and Informal Learning experience for better and quicker acquirement of knowledge necessary for successful transfer from academic to global business environment in the field of generic competences and beyond. Education Unlimited! raised many important points for future discussions. Moving away from formal recommendations to concepts of substantial changes in Higher Education development will bring better results, but will also take more time and energy, as complex challenges are being tackled. With structural reforms failing to show expected outcomes, it is acknowledged that mobility, the key ingredient of the European Higher Education Area, is closely connected with the social dimension of Higher Education. In the same way, strong focus on the internationalization of the â€œBologna trademarkâ€? has once again brought forward the topic of the European dimension of Higher Education. Quality assurance and enhancement with strong student participation will also continue to stand high on the agenda just as a need for an extensive social dialogue on the issues of the education reform until and beyond 2010.
AEGEE will continue to assist the establishment of the European Higher Education Area with a strong conviction that education is the key field of transformation and development for European communities to succeed in the global arena and that it also has to be the most important source of energy for growth of European economy and civil society and a hyperlink between our communities and the modern world.
Dragan Stojanovski AEGEE Europe Projects Director
I. Message from the Projects director
10 I. Message from the Project manager
Dear reader, I am delighted that you decided to discover the Results Booklet of my dear Education Unlimited! project. However, before you start exploring it, I need to make you aware of the fact that in your hands you are holding a real treasure. This publication is much more special and precious than one might think. It tells the true story of an amazing one-year-long journey and of a dream come true! It all started with a burst of idealism and strong belief that we can change the world. Is it really possible for young people to modify the reality? - you might ask yourself. Well, now I can tell – it definitely is! When the passion is there, the potential will be there as well. We just need to look around very carefully and start the change from what is near to us. And so we did. Europe is our playground, AEGEE is our background. What is special about the European Student’s Forum is that it is acting on the border of two worlds. One of them is the world of university students in Europe, the other one is the reality of the European youth work. Experiencing this unique combination for four years, I saw with regret how little cooperation there is between the Formal and Non-formal Education. I also imagined how enriching it would be to allow young Europeans to benefit from all ways of learning, and encourage them to dive into Education without any divisions, or any borders…real Education Unlimited! The project became the centre of my life for one whole year. I gave it all of me and sometimes I even got lost in it. But I could never have imagined how much it would give back to me.
The Education Unlimited! project also opened my eyes. I saw how deeply Education is shaping us, and thus our lives. I saw how it gives us tools, but also inspiration. Education is powerful if we let it be, it’s fun if we make it so, but most important – we can make anything we want out of it. Maybe now it’s your turn to take action?! ...Edu-action Unlimited! Wishing you pleasant reading,
Asia:) Joanna Piskunowicz Project Manager of Education Unlimited!
11 I. Message from the Project manager
There are two very special people, without whom I wouldn’t have managed as a manager of this huge initiative – I want to thank them here. My dear mum, who got at least as passionate about the different types of Education as I did, and never allowed me to doubt, in the sense of working for it. And my darling, Adam, who accepted the fact that the project took a big part of me away and still supported my work for it in all possible ways: he advised me, he was my shoulder to cry on and so much more.
I. message of the chief editor
Welcome to the Results Booklet of the AEGEE Flagship project 2007, Education Unlimited! (EDUN!). After more than half a year of preparations, more than a year of activities and several months of counting the results, the project has come to an end. In this booklet you can find a summary of the project. I say summary, because unfortunately it is impossible for such a big project to reflect every little part of it in one booklet. However, we tried to give you a complete picture of our beloved EDUN! project. Nevertheless, if you spot incomplete, or wrong information, please let us know. What we tried to do all year long and also through this booklet, is to grasp the attention of employers, politicians and all those who influence, or should influence, our Higher Education. I noticed that since I started working two years ago, my attention for the Formal Education has reduced. I realized that it’s extremely difficult to know and understand what is really going on in the Higher Education, when you don’t have ‘fresh insiders’ input’. Students, teachers and other ‘insiders’ have this ‘insider view’. Through this project, communication between the ‘insiders’ and politicians, employers etc. has been set up, renewed or strengthened. This mainly because of students’ initiative. Since in my opinion Higher Education can’t develop without having ‘inside information’, I strongly recommend students to keep searching ways to be heard by other stakeholders.
At this point I want to thank everybody who in some way or another contributed to the making of this booklet. Thanks to all these people, we have been able to finish the booklet in time. And last but not least, I hope that the spirit of AEGEE as an active and well known organisation in the field of Higher Education will not remain in this booklet, but will live on in the outside world. Stay tuned. Best regards,
I. message of the chief editor
Jonna Sijl Chief Editor
Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe (AEGEE) AEGEE is one of the biggest interdisciplinary student associations in Europe; it is represented by 15.000 students, active in 232 academic cities, in 43 countries all around Europe, which presents amazing culture variety. AEGEE is a secular, non-profit organization, not linked to any political party. All projects and activities are based on voluntary work of its members. The aims of AEGEE are to promote a unified Europe without prejudices, to strive for creating an open and tolerant society of today and tomorrow and to foster democracy, human rights, tolerance, cross-boarder co-operation, mobility and the European dimension in education. The fields of action of the association are Cultural Exchange, Active Citizenship, Higher Education and Peace & Stability. Within AEGEE various activities are organised, such as Action Days, Case Study Trips, Projects (e.g. the Flagship Projects or Yearplan Topics), Summer Universities and Trainings. In order to really promote international co-operation and avoid creating any physical or mental borders, AEGEE does not recognize any national level or national administration in its unique organizational structure, which is based on the local level – where people from the 241 autonomous AEGEE locals directly implement AEGEE aims in a way that serves best the needs of their local community – and the European level – which gives the great common framework and direction for all local activities and provides a platform for international co-operation in multicultural teams.
Members from local level can directly get involved in the European Working Groups, Project Teams and Commissions.
III. YOUTH SAY IN EDUCATION REFORM
AEGEE has a rich history in education projects, starting with the lobby for the Erasmus programme back in 1987. The Erasmus programme has been adapted and influenced European Higher Education over the last 20 years. Via the Bologna Process, people are working hard since 1999 to establish a European Higher Education Area by 2010. Students are affected by reforms, like the introduction of the Bachelor-Master system and a European Credit Transfer System. Most students in Europe started to experience the implementation of the reforms in 2005. By consulting the members at the European Boards Meeting in Sofia and visiting the AEGEE antennae that were not present in spring 2006, it became clear for the Comité Directeur of AEGEE-Europe that most of the students did not feel involved or consulted by the universities. They stated that local student unions are not existing, or are either highly political or an elite club and that the bridge to national student unions is too big. Simultaneously, the European umbrella organisation ESU continued to claim that they are representing all 10 million students in Europe, and therefore blocking any other student organisation to participate in the Bologna Follow Up Group. AEGEE members did not experience being represented by ESU, nor did members of the other European student organisations united in IFISO. It was time for AEGEE to propose to its members a Year Plan Topic dealing with the ongoing higher education reform. At the Agora in Warszawa “The Bologna process: know your chances, know your rights!” was adopted. This document outlined the kick off to develop a project that would focus on:
1. informing and promoting the content of the Bologna Process among students at university level 2. discussing the problems that arise together with the implementation of the Bologna Process 3. collecting “best practices” for practical implementation of the Bologna Process 4. striving for recognition of Non-formal Education as a part of the BP 5. achieving a better implementation of the BP towards policy- and decision makers
Theijs van Welij, project director 2006
III. YOUTH SAY IN EDUCATION REFORM
18 III. YOUTH SAY IN EDUCATION REFORM
6. raising awareness about the student mobility programmes of the EU, WB and CIS 7. striving for enlargement of Erasmus/Socrates to CIS countries During the Project Development Meeting in Brussels, early September 2006 in Brussels, Belgium, ESU was invited to give a presentation about their achievements in the Bologna Process. AEGEE members united in the Education Working Group and representatives of BEST, ELSA, EMSA, ESN, ESTIEM and IAPSS, JADE and JEF worked together to draft a project outline. A follow up meeting took place in Salerno, in the days before the AEGEE General Assembly in Naples (IT). At the Agora in Naples the AEGEE Flagship project 2007 proposal ‘Education Unlimited! Improving European Education’ was accepted.
The Goals Jonna Sijl The first Project Team Meeting (PTM) took place in Poznan, Poland, 14-17 December 2006. The team discussed all aspects of the project from Fund Raising to Human Resource and from Communication within the team to external Public Relations. Another very important aspect to be talked about, were the aims to be reached through Education Unlimited!. A set-up of the goals was already made during the meeting in Salerno, Italy, in the days before the AEGEE General Assembly – Agora – in Naples, Italy. During the PTM the team discussed all the objectives and formulated the final overall aim and specific (sub)objectives. Overall aim: Contributing to improvement of European Higher Education by strengthening involvement of young people in educational policies at the grass-root level and bridging Formal and Non-formal Education in a more sustainable way. Specific objectives: 1) Bringing the Bologna Process and the concept of Lifelong Learning closer to young people on the grass-root level; 2) Contributing to the acknowledgement of Non-formal Education activities next to and within the Formal Education system; 3) Encouraging pro-active approach of young people to the organisation of Education, to encourage them to participate actively in discussing and implementing education how they want it to be like.
First Steps By Laure Onidi
The first three events of “Education Unlimited!” were mainly focusing on the Bologna Process. All these three conferences dealt with the same topic in a specific way. While the conference in Stuttgart, Germany, was focusing on local experiences of the implementation of the Bologna Process, its difficulties but also its advantages, the Bologna Process Training course in Münster, Germany, was mainly about the promotion of this European Education programme and the third one in Niš, Serbia, was an exchange of Best Practices with a lot of professors as participants of the conference. The first steps of the project were about informing students about the different aspects of the Bologna Process and create a multiplying effect. This complex European Education programme developed by the states themselves and in process of implementation in more than 40 countries gave headaches to a lot of professors, students and governments. The principal observation of students concerning this new model of higher Education is that information is missing. That is why AEGEE took an active role.
19 III. YOUTH SAY IN EDUCATION REFORM
Expected results: 1) Presenting the impact of non-formal education and its importance next to formal education 2) Promotion of best practices concerning the recognition of NFE 3) Reaching all actors in the field (NGOs, Government , international organizations), in order to lobby with joint efforts, thus more efficiently, for recognition of NFE on the long run 4) Active contribution to the work of Bologna Follow-Up Group regarding complementarity of formal and non-formal education 5) Increasing the participatory level (or role) of students in Education processes, such as the Bologna Process
20 III. YOUTH SAY IN EDUCATION REFORM
Participants of these three conferences also dealt with topics as students’ mobility, the diploma supplement and its link with the recognition of NonFormal Education as well as the employability of students and how their experience abroad makes a difference. In this first phase the project managed to explain the complicated process of its philosophy, its beginning, its implementation, its obstacles, its challenges and its best practices. Students from all over Europe had the opportunity to understand better what is happening in their studies and why it has changed so much in the past years as well as to look into future perspectives and the improvement of the European Higher Education Area. During this first phase of the project, Education imposed itself as a leading topic within AEGEE. And not only through the first three conferences. The European Board meeting was tagged everywhere with “Education Unlimited!” and the participants of the Model European Union, a simulation of the European Parliament and the European council in which AEGEE members also took part, debated about the recognition of extracurricular activities within the studies. The implementation of the Bologna Process is not fully completed yet and the first evaluation will take place in 2010. In the meantime, AEGEE did its best to get a role in this process through Education Unlimited! by encouraging students to become educated on the matter, encouraging them to educate others and encouraging them to exchange ideas and experiences with professors.
The “milestones” of Education Unlimited! were the activities that most often caused the project team a lot of work and stress, but that also gave the team the most rewarding moments and a feeling of success. Six events create together the core of Education Unlimited!. These were the events in Stuttgart, Niš, Paris, Reykjavik and two “around Europe”.
Meanwhile, preparations took place on the Balkan, in the historic city of Niš. The conference on “Bologna Process Best Practices” had to be professional, as the majority of its guests were to be VIPs from very important education institutions in Europe – all of them experts in their fields. In the debates of a high level, students and officials build a common platform for understanding and to exchange ideas. Thanks to the conference in Niš, Education Unlimited! strengthened the cooperation between student NGOs such as AEGEE, BEST, EMSA and ESN. The message given in Stuttgart resulted a few months later, during the IFISO meeting (Informal Forum of International Student Organisations), in an agreement between the international boards of student organisations that they needed to advocate for the recognition of their role in the Bologna Process. On the other pole of project thematic, the team was cooperating with UNESCO Joint Programmatic Commission on Youth to realize a “Day on Non-formal Education”. In order to ensure high quality participation of young people a preparatory event took place: the youth seminar “Non-Formal Education – it’s Impact and Outcome”. The mini-conference laid foundations for the bridge between European and developing countries’ understanding of Non-formal Education and it’s role in society. Since the objective of Education Unlimited! was to bring European concepts to grass-root level and provoke debates and actions there, a lot of attention was given to the Education Action Week. In the last days of October an “activating vibe” passed through 16 different locations: from Spain to Russia, from Estonia to Malta.
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Everything began with the conference “Bologna Process – Chance or Obstacle” in the south of Germany: a great “entrée” of the project. It was there, in the beautiful, snowy city of Stuttgart where the first participants met, the first expectations were expressed and the first discussions took place. It was clear that Education-enthusiast students do exist! The outcome was a message from representatives of various student NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations): structural changes affect our members’ involvement in a negative way, youth activism needs to be recognised within the Bologna Process.
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Having collected all the experiences and conclusions from previous events, the Education Unlimited! team set their steer to the unknown - Iceland. The study visit in Reykjavik was the moment to see the idea of combined Nonformal and Formal Education in practice. The important finding was that proper implementation of technical aspects in Bologna Process doesn’t ensure that it is working as it is supposed to, and that promoting Non-formal Education needs a more clear link to the situation of society and to the need for social change. To close the circle Education Unlimited! published a Book on Non-formal Education. This collection of personal stories, practical examples as well as some explanations is meant to help students, active in youth NGOs, to gain experience with Non-formal Education and prepare them to pass forward the meaning of it. So that finally one day the education in Europe will be even better, benefiting from different forms and systems, complementing each other.
The End… And The Beginning Dragan Stojanovski
Education Unlimited! entered its final stage in the winter of 2007. Time had come for a profound evaluation of the project’s achievements so far and state of its human resources and management. Three main actions were awaiting the project in 2008 – the first one of them an innovative and pioneering case study trip to Iceland, exploring Icelandic realities in Non-formal youth work on European citizenship and creating a wide platform for networking and cooperation in youth work and Non-formal Learning between the isle and continental Europe. A unique mixture of theory, reality and practice was to be assembled in the book about best practices concerning Non-formal Education in Europe, with two main aspects of the Non-formal Learning process – benefits for personal and professional development of a young individual and the positive impacts on social cohesion, civil society building and overall social progression.
The last step in project implementation is its closing conference – scheduled for late June 2008. The conference is designed to gather students, experts and stakeholders of the Bologna Process (universities, scholars, students, businesses and national authorities) with representatives of European Parliament (Employment and Social Affairs and Culture and Education Committees) and European Commission (DG EAC and DG Employment) to examine the socioeconomic implications of Higher Education reform in Europe and its position on the global education and employment market. A little bit earlier, the project faced even tougher audience – 600 delegates of AEGEE biannual general assembly – Spring Agora 2008, in late April in Ljubljana, where the project was presented with all its great and not so great moments and outcomes and, in the best tradition of accountability and transparency in AEGEE work, measured and approved on the merits of clear results only. Both occasions, the Agora in Ljubljana and the closing conference in Brussels, will serve and served as opportunities to present the results book of the project, a unique students’ say in Higher Education reform in Europe, which is at the moment laying in your hands and means a new start for AEGEE in the field of Higher Education issues.
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It is another in a series of AEGEE’s endeavors for the promotion, improvement and recognition of Non-formal and Informal Learning experience by governments, institutions of Higher Education, labor market and society in general.
IV. EDUCATION FOR 21st CENTURY EUROPE
The Bologna Process is a set of actions aiming at creating a common Higher Education system in Europe â€“ the European Higher Education Area, by 2010. This means that, similarly to common EU market, people, ideas and funds should be able to move from one European academic community to another without any obstacles. The initiative, which was started in 1999, with signing of the Bologna Declaration, involves 46 European countries, and is therefore considered as a historic approach to reshape European Higher Education, with a structural and geographical range never seen before. Its objectives are in line with the Lisbon Agenda, a set of EU policies aiming at Europe becoming the most dynamic and most competitive knowledge-driven economy in the world. Initiated by politicians â€“ European Ministers of Education â€“ this process is monitored by them at biannual conferences, and together with representatives from major stakeholders in the field (universities, students and employers) in the Bologna Process Follow-up Group. However, all its components (but one) are non-compulsory, so it can be said that the process is powered by good will. With its projected deadline just 2 years away, all Bologna Process components have become a reality of academic life across Europe. However, there are strong concerns, coming from different stakeholders, about their proper implementation and practical use, and the valid prospects for main goals to be met on time. It has been acknowledged by ministers themselves, at their last conference in London, that the existing systems measuring progress in implementing the Bologna Process (Bologna stocktaking) should be examined. On the other hand, a lot of things were done, and strong foundation for further actions have been set...
IV. EDUCATION FOR 21st CENTURY EUROPE
26 IV. EDUCATION FOR 21st CENTURY EUROPE
Major changes were made in the way people think about Education â€“ there is an evident shift to learner-centered and learning outcomes-oriented Education which is putting focus on equipping students with skills and knowledge necessary for the contemporary labor market. Further more, for many academic communities in Europe there was a huge increase in the culture of quality â€“ students are particularly taking this newly adopted culture of permanent quality assurance and continuous development to professional environments. A formal structural framework, although lacking more essence, opens more opportunities for initiatives calling for substantial changes in Higher Education, preferably coming from students, in partnership with other stakeholders, and resulting in more quality, mobility and flexibility.
Focus on Learner, Focus on Outcomes Dragan Stojanovski In the 90s economies and communities around the world started experiencing extensive and rapid changes driven by the radical development of globalization and information- and communication technologies. European politicians felt the need to design and adopt a set of policies which would transform the opportunities of these changes into real-life benefits for European citizens. In 1997 they adopted the Lisbon Agenda, stressing the importance of knowledge, as the driving force for a prosperous future for European economy and citizens. The same principle lay at the foundation for the Bologna Declaration, which was initially signed by 29 countries, with an idea to ensure the attractiveness and competitiveness of European Higher Education through extended quality, flexibility and mobility. Since globalization is bringing international aspects into every field of human life, international experiences in education have become a necessity. And as ICT development is changing the position and value of information in every possible activity, new skills and competences are essential for success in the global arena.
The Bologna Process embraces several other concepts which are in the line with its main goals and should bring added value to the development of the European Higher Education Area. The first one is Lifelong Learning, a set of measures and policies which will extend the education process outside of a university timeframe according to the needs of this new age of globalisation and place Higher Education in the context of continuous and flexible learning paths. The other two are the European dimension and the social dimension of Higher Education, which can be explained as the final and distinctive touch to the European Higher Education Area establishment, incorporating European values and the European social model into European Higher Education and thus raising its quality, social inclusiveness and external attractiveness. And last, but not least, the Bologna Process strives for synergy between European Higher Education and the European research area, especially at the doctoral level of studies.
27 IV. EDUCATION FOR 21st CENTURY EUROPE
The central part of the Bologna Process is the establishment of the European Higher Education Area. It includes two sets of measures. The first one can be defined as structural changes, and involves the well-known system of Higher Education based on three cycles (Bachelor, Master and Doctoral). The second one can be labelled “the recognition instruments” and involves also very familiar terms – Diploma Supplement, ECTS and Qualifications Framework. Furthermore, these formal changes should be followed by substantial redesign of study programs, university curricula and education process methodologies to meet the needs of the 21st century. This is often described as learnercentered, learning-outcomes-oriented education. Finally, the Bologna Process puts a strong emphasis on Quality Assurance at all levels and throughout all stages of the Higher Education process.
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Learning for life and throughout life Astrid Schrader ‘We learn for life, not for school!’, a quote almost as old as the idea of schooling itself. Nevertheless, the idea ‘We learn everywhere and at every time!’ was not born. It had to grow. Until the 1960s and 1970s, education was said to be completed with the end of school or university. Under the influence of globalisation, the increased dynamics of innovation and demographic ageing new attitudes about the concept of learning were taking shape. Social skills, the ability for networking and intercultural competences (output) were needed in addition to one’s university diploma (input). In 2001 the European Commission gave an European definition of what was already laid down in the Bologna and the Lisbon Declaration: “The notion of Lifelong Learning covers all learning activities, at any time in life and in a wide range of environments (education establishments, workplace, etc.), undertaken with a view to improving knowledge and skills which may be personal, civic, social or employment-related.” At this time vocational educational training (VET) was already integrated in many Scandinavian countries. VET, or ‘adult education’, emphasized training next to the job through postgraduate programmes, long distance learning, e-learning, home schooling or correspondence courses. Building upon this basis, the Danish EU presidency assembled thirty-one Ministers of Education in Copenhagen to, for one of the first times, put the realisation of the difference between ‘Learning’ and ‘Education’ into a declarational framework. Working Groups established by the European Commission developed mechanisms on how to put this in practice, such as the Europass, YOUTH Pass, European Credit Transfer System for VET (ECVET) and European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
Learning by doing Guillaume Mernier Besides the Formal Education process (FE), hierarchically structured and chronologically running from primary school through to university, two other phenomena contribute to the global learning process, taking place throughout the whole life of a human being, namely Non-formal Educatio (NFE) and Informal Learning (IL). Non-formal Education (NFE) is an organised process that gives young people the possibility to develop others values, skills and competencies than the ones developed within the framework of Formal Education, as for example in Youth organizations. Those skills, also called soft skills, include a wide range of competencies such as interpersonal, team-, organisational and conflict management, intercultural awareness, leadership, planning, organising, coordination and practical problem solving skills, teamwork, self-confidence, discipline and responsibility. On the other hand, Informal Learning is the truly lifelong process in which every individual acquires attitude, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment from family and neighbours, from work and play, from the market place, the library and the mass media. It includes among others: speech acquisition, cultural norms and manners.
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Lifelong Learning (LLL) is not aiming at changing the â€˜Educational systemâ€™, but instead at changing our perception of education. As pointed out in the beginning: LLL describes the shift from a merely input oriented to a more output oriented definition of Education and incorporates a form of Education that does not end at graduation. LLL embraces the understanding that what is learned, is learned â€“ be it at university or wherever else.
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The main difference between these two concepts is the fact the Non-formal Education happens in any organization outside the Formal system, while Informal Learning is unorganized and not formally defined learning happening in every kind of context, at home, work, and throughout society. Like Formal Education is related to knowing something, Non-formal Education is related to doing something, and the informal learning to being someone. Let us take the example of learning a language. Formal Education provides lessons to teach the grammar and vocabulary to students in schools and universities. In the context of Non-formal Education, people involved in Youth organizations will for instance improve their knowledge of this language by organizing or attending an event taking place in this language. People also learn languages in an informal way, starting from learning their native language by talking with their parents at home, later by going on holidays around the world and having contact with the local population. Working in a complementary way, these three processes are needed to exploit at its most the full spectrum of competences of each person. This mixture of learning possibilities allows to develop new skills and knowledge, and to adopt the values and attitudes that define every human being.
N O I T A C U ED
From University Campus to UNESCO Headquarters From Athens to Reykjavik, from Paris to Kiev – Education Unlimited! once again demonstrated the extraordinary evergrowing strength of the AEGEE network of responsible young citizens. Our organization is not and doesn’t pretend to be a representative one, an official students’ voice. AEGEE is a collection of thousands of talented volunteers united by its thematic orientation and unique set of values that are guiding us in whatever we do. That is why our activities on the ground are smart, efficient and effective. We are a persuasive voice among our fellow students – 15 000 of our members are a unique catalyst for reaching other tens of thousands.
It was this time, with Education Unlimited!, that we placed even bigger attention on grassroots actions, driven by the fact that, 8 years after its introduction, the Bologna Process is still rather unknown to students across Europe, although the reform process became a reality of their academic and everyday life. It is an intolerable fact – that a process which is putting the student in the very center of all its components is not known to students and that students are paralyzed by that ignorance to contribute to the proper implementation of the process for their own and overall benefit of European academia. That is why we organized trainings for Bologna Process multipliers and a whole spectrum of local actions throughout Europe throughout the year. With the Bologna Process expecting its end in 2010 we wanted to overcome the border of students as either silent or loudly complaining witnesses of the reforms and offer a partnership to academia, governments and businesses, by bringing the best practices for practical implementation of the Bologna Process and extending and improving dialogue among stakeholders regarding the socioeconomic implications of the European Higher Education Area establishment. We were particularly present in the countries that were last to join the process – inducing the know-how transfer from the ones with more experience and resources.
Finally, as always in AEGEE’s endeavors for changes, we sat at the table with European policy makers and action takers to present to them our experiencebased opinions and recommendations, particularly when it comes to the complementary role of Higher Education and Non-formal Learning in generic competences, an acquirement necessary for educating competent and competitive professionals in the global arena. A synergy of thousands of young people for the bright future of European education and societies – that was Education Unlimited! going from paper to real places and real people.
Project Development Meeting, Poznan Dragan Stojanovski and Jonna Sijl
During the 4 days meeting all aspects of the project were discussed, such as finances and aims, but also motivation and human resource. At the end all questions were answered and it was clear to everybody what the goals were and how to work towards good results. The team members who weren’t present in Poznan received detailed minutes afterwards by email. This way everybody of the team knew what the situation at that moment was. From this meeting on Education Unlimited! had a face and could start influencing the world of education.
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In the third week of December 2006, Education Unlimited! project team members arrived from all corners of Europe to meet for the first time in Poznan, Poland. Together they worked on finalizing the project outline, setting the strategies for its implementation, allocating the roles in the team, and – very important – getting to know each other.
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Bologna Process – chance or obstacle?, Stuttgart Jonna Sijl Education Unlimited! had its kick-off in Stuttgart, Germany, 25-28 February. More than 20 participants from all over Europe took part in the event that was filled with presentations, workshops and discussions concerning the Bologna Process (BP). The first day the participants arrived and enjoyed a welcome ceremony.
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The second day started with a presentation about the Bologna Process and an example of the impact of this process at the University of Stuttgart. Then there was a presentation by Education Unlimited! about the project. The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) presented their work, what the Bologna Process means for them and the impact of the Bachelor-Master system on student exchange. The International Affairs Office of the University of Stuttgart spoke about mobility programmes like Erasmus and Socrates. At the end of the day there was a discussion between the DAAD, the International Affairs Office, participants and organisers, in which was pointed out the resistance to change and the different interpretations of the Bachelor-Master system in the various countries. In the morning of day three there was a discussion about the Bologna Process in which various Youth Non Governmental Organisations (YNGO’s) took part, together with participants and organisers. It became clear that the participating YNGO’s agree on many points concerning the BP, but not all. In the afternoon participants took part in workshops. The last day started with a presentation about the point of view of employers concerning the Bologna Process. An important conclusion was that having an international career will be the future, even though (especially smaller) companies at this moment can’t interpret degrees that differ from the traditional ones.
The closing activity was the presentation of the outcome of the several workshops. The participants taught each other about the history of the BP (1997-2005), how to promote NFE , the leading role of AEGEE in the BP and the difference in status of the BP in some countries. After the event the participants and organisers went home with new knowledge and the drive to help implement the change in their own academic communities.
Bologna Process Training School, Münster Jan Tolkien
Becoming an expert (multiplier) to be able to reasonably argue on this topic was the main goal of this event. The scope of this event went from learning about details of the ongoing process and exchanging experiences in the participants’ respective universities to developing ideas how to better spread information on important issues. During the four days there were many different sessions scheduled. It began with workshops with two so-called “Bologna Process Promoters”, university professors (Prof. Gehmlich and Prof. Moerschbacher) that are actively involved in creating new curricula that meet the ideas of the common European Higher Education Area. A speaker from “BASF Coatings” talked about the aspect of the labour market perspective.
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The Bologna Process, being the idea for shaping a common European Higher Education Area until 2010, is nowadays dramatically changing universities in all European countries. It is mostly known for by the introduction of Bachelor and Master studies and the ECTS – the European Credit Point Transfer System, measuring the workload of students. Because there is a lot more to know about this huge change on how learning in universities is thought of in Europe nowadays, a group of 18 students from 13 different countries came together in Münster, Germany, for four days in late February 2007.
After that discussions continued about possible inclusion of learning experiences outside regular classes in the curricula (non-formal learning) in a workshop led by Asia Piskunowicz and a workshop by Martina Schwarz on “how to use promotion tools” for passing on information to students and other stakeholders. The aims of this event were, last but not least, accomplished by active work on the subject in small groups, an “open-space session” and a role-play during which the work of local initiatives were simulated. The statement of Prof. Gehmlich saying that it is of highest priority to create a creative dialogue between students and professors to ensure the quality of the new studies was highly agreed upon and certainly met the central idea of this event.
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Bologna Process Best Practices, Niš Dragan Stojanovski Under general patronage of the President of Serbia, with the support of the Council of Europe, the European Commission, UNESCO-CEPES and a series of institutions and experts from across Europe, and under patronage of rectors of the universities of Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš, with 34 speakers from 17 countries packed in 3 long days - the Bologna Process Best Practices Conference was AEGEE-Niš’s biggest and brightest initiative ever. The conference aimed to bring together government officials, faculty members, students and experts from across Europe to introduce, analyze and develop “best practices” for practical implementation of the Bologna Process (BP) and to create a continuous dialogue on instruments to improve European economic performance and to transform its universities into world-class centers of research and teaching excellence.
The conference program was organized in two streams. The first stream was divided in six thematic segments on practical implementation of the Bologna Process components: Curriculum Design (2/3 cycles system and curricula reform), Quality Assurance (QA) and student participation, ECTS and Qualifications Framework, Diploma Supplement, Lifelong Learning and social dimension of Higher Education and Mobility and European dimension of Higher Education. The second stream was examining the issues of higher education reform in a broader view and giving the process a socioeconomic perspective; divided in three thematic segments: Governance and Funding, Openness and Non-formal Education (NFE).
The conference had it’s focus on the quality of a student-centered Higher Education process with strong emphasis on students’ competences and learning outcomes. As main achievement in designing QA instruments were recognized the acceptance of a quality review process, appreciation of need for self-reflection and embedding of a quality culture in all areas of the university. Strong emphasis was also put on ideas to develop and promote the implementation of European values in Higher Education and on experiences of students’ concerning the Academic Mobility Programs. Curricula, funding and governance reform were brought forward as key areas of improvement before 2010. What was also acknowledged is that recognition of the value of students’ NFE should be positively encouraged, since it benefits both the student and the institution.
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Key-note lectures were given by some of the leading experts in the field, rectors from the major Serbian universities, pioneers in introducing and implementing the Bologna Process in Serbia and the region, and international student representatives from AEGEE, ESN, EMSA and BEST.
Integration into Education, Kiev Iryna Rud The need of attracting Ukrainian youth’ attention to their possibilities within Academic Mobility Programs arose long ago. As AEGEE-Europe’s Flagship Project 2007 is Education Unlimited!, the idea about “Integration into Education” event came to AEGEE-Kiev’s mind. A few months before this event, the discussion entitled “What’s up, students?! What’s going on with our mobility?” had taken place, where students from National Polytechnic University of Ukraine “KPI” (NTUU “KPI”) and AEGEE members debated educational problems. Between AEGEE and Student’s Science Association NTUU”KPI” was agreed to organise an Academic Mobility Forum and Integration into Education as one big event, because in this way AEGEE could stick to university’s community and not bother with elements of organisation, such as rooms for workshops and dormitories.
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Both the Forum and “Integration into Education” lasted for 3 days (May 24-26, 2007) and included: 1) workshops: Formal and Non-formal educational opportunities. Ukrainian education from the view of European Standards. Academic exchange programs and European career; 2) Information Fair where various student-exchange programs were promoted; 3) Debates about the advantages and disadvantages of the Bologna Process; 4) Cultural night demonstrating Ukrainian traditions through songs, cartoons and movies, and so on. During the event presentations of some organisations and programs took place, e.g. TEMPUS, the Chevening programme, BEST and, of course, AEGEE with Education Unlimited!. The event itself gathered nine AEGEE-participants from Ukrainian regions (Odessa, Lviv, Kharkiv, etc), one participant from AEGEE-Copenhagen and
around 100-150 students from Kiev (this is the total number of students who attended the forum during 3 days). In this event students, PhD students, university’ officers and professors (Ukrainian as well as European and American) were involved. It can be concluded, that the combination of the Academic Mobility Forum and Integration into Education was quite a successful event. Participants discovered the new possibilities of studying abroad through a number of exchange programs; they got practical advice on applying and studying abroad. The stress was placed upon presenting Academic Mobility Programs initiated by the European Commission.
Central bus station of Athens, july 2006. While the citizens of Athens are leaving the city in large numbers for their holidays, some students are arriving from the airport. Their destination is not one of the Greek islands, but a hostel in the centre of the city called ‘Zorbas’ and the house of their fellow AEGEE member where their meeting took place. Due to the extreme weather conditions the house and its cooling facilities were chosen as the most sensible solution. Already more than six months from the first meeting of the team in Poznan, the first opportunity to meet again face to face was a reality. The team had a lot of work for the next 3 days. Tasks that were already fulfilled had to be evaluated and solutions had to be found for tasks that were still open. The project was halfway, so they also took the time to plan the next steps and to relocate human resources where needed. The ideas of partner NGOs, such as BEST Athens, were extremely valuable contributions in this process. The Education Action Week, the Paris seminar and the Non-formal Education Book were the main issues of discussion. Finally some changes were decided upon, that made the objectives of the project more realistic.
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Project Team Meeting, Athens Vaggelis Monoguios
Due to the high workload, there was almost no time for leisure activities. Most of the team preferred delivery food in order to continue working and the first priority in the team wish list -visiting the Greek seasideunfortunately couldn’t be fulfilled. Visiting the Allou’ fun park, though, was a nice occasion for all of the participants to find some time and space for relaxing before leaving the city. The meeting was financially supported by the Greek national youth agency and the youth in action program.
Education Action Week Kadri Kalle
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The most wide-spread activity under the AEGEE Flagship Project 2007 „Education Unlimited!” was the Education Action Week, taking place in 16 cities all over Europe between October 21-27, 2007. AEGEE locals were encouraged to organise different actions to introduce and explore Lifelong Learning (LLL), Non-formal Education (NFE), student mobility and the Bologna Process. The Education Action Week aimed to inform about these aspects of education, about youth NGO’s (Non Governmental Organisations) dealing with NFE, foster cooperation between active students and university stakeholders and promote interactive study methods. Just as diverse as the locations of Education Action Week - from Spain to Russia, from Estonia to Malta - were also the organised activities. Students in Tallinn had the chance to participate in a photo exhibition about NFE, in Alicante they could test their knowledge about student mobility. Education info desks were out in Tübingen, Leuven, Ljubljana, Stuttgart and Messina, workshops and seminars organised in Tartu, Athens, Torun and IvanoFrankivs’k. In Moskow students had discussions with Erasmus Mundus experts, in Valletta they enjoyed a movie about exchange and selected participants took part in a week long diverse education programme in Ganja.
Conference, seminar, forum and party were organised in Samara, where for example 21% of the participants heard about Bologna Process for the first time. It can be estimated that in whole around 700 students were more directly influenced by Education Action Week, and possibly more than 3000 young people found out something new about education and the diversity of learning opportunities.
Awarded with the best Education Action Week title was AEGEE-Baki, who during 5 days held information desks and workshops in 5 different universities. Most of the info materials were translated into Azerbaijan in order to reach students more easily. The highlight of the week was a roundtable discussion about recognition of NFE, that was shown on TV and a party, attended by 500 people, which also served as a fundraising event. The enthusiasm of the AEGEE-Baki organisers paid off well, as during this week their antenna gained 50 new members.
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This action proved that all over Europe among most of the students terms like „Non-formal Education” and „Bologna Process” are still quite little known and more Education Action Weeks are needed.
Non-formal Education Its impact and outcomes, Paris Julia Hoffmann The international seminar « Non-formal Education – Its impact and outcomes » gathered 25 participants from eleven different non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from 30 November until 4 December 2007 in Paris. The seminar was organised by AEGEE-Europe and AEGEE-Paris. It aimed at equipping participants with multiple ways of thinking about NFE (Non-formal Education).
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The components of the seminar addressed a diversity of issues around NFE: While trying to find common ground of their understanding of NFE, participants discussed keywords and definitions of NFE. NFE methods were shown and shared, impact and effects of the specific methods were analysed. At the same time, the development of new methods was stimulated. Emphasis was put on the question of the values of NFE and its impact on society. Participants discovered the roles and responsibilities of the youth in today’s society. They shared their experiences on how NFE is shaping a person to become more open towards other people and one’s environment. A closer look was taken at youth leaders as « outcome » of NFE and participants reflected on their personal development through NFE. Some outcomes of the day: (1) Despite the variety of backgrounds and experiences the participants brought in, NFE is seen in similar ways by young people involved in it; (2) Participants concluded that the same methods can be used to achieve different goals, set by the profile of their organisation; (3) Participants determined the rights and responsibilities young people bear in their communities and realised that there is still a big need for social change within Europe. NFE should be one of the means used to address it, but there’s still a long way to go.
Eventually, participants left as « conscious ambassadors of non-formal education », being aware of the processes they are initiating in their society through NFE and taking notion of the impact it has on the young people involved in it.
UNESCO Day on Non-formal Education, Paris Viktoriya Voytsekhovska
Through debates, workshops and panel discussions the conference gave a clear image about how NFE is empowering youth on the grass root level in their effort to develop society, especially when it comes to the current Higher Education reforms. True Europeans learned best practises from Indian students and the international Scouts movement. AEGEE stressed the complementary role of NFE within the Higher Education system in Europe, something that UNESCO wasn’t aware of. Ms. Sabine Detzel (Head of the Education section at UNESCO) welcomed all activities/initiatives which in fact were contributions to achieving the partnership “Education for All” goals (these are six internationally-agreed education goals which aim to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015).
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On 4 December representatives of AEGEE and over 20 other youth NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) in official relations with UNESCO met at the UNESCO Day on Non-formal Education (NFE) with the thematic title ‘Role of NFE in empowering youth’. The conference aimed at creating a space where youth organizations, Members States, UNESCO secretariat and other educational stakeholders could dialogue constructively and critically on NFE issues, such as 1) bringing together various NFE best practices and show their impact on today’s global problems, 2) providing some keys for the monitoring of the progress of the NFE activities, 3) showing the specificities of the NFE and contribute for its recognition and 4) showing the complementarities between Formal, Informal and Non-formal Education.
UNESCO officials were very interested in the contributions during the UNESCO Day on NFE and linked the goal ‘promoting learning and skills for young people and adults’ to it. UNESCO very much appreciated the introduction of the Day on Non-formal Education, and the Joint Pragmatic Commission on Youth (JPC) proposed to organise a NFED with the thematic focus on ‘The 60th anniversary on the Declaration of Human Rights’ in 2008. Due to the active role of AEGEE in the past year, Viktoriya Voytsekhovska has been asked as Liaison Officer to join the board of the Joint Pragmatic Commission on Youth to develop work in the field of Non-formal Education.
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Case Study Trip Iceland: Connecting Edges, Reykjavik Anita Bosneva On the 7th of March 2008, 29 young people from 12 countries gathered in Reykjavik, Iceland, to explore the reality, participation and Non-formal Education concerning Icelandic youth. Organizing this Case Study Trip (CST) in cooperation with BEST, EMSA, EYP, JASMA, YEU and ESN Reykjavik, without support of a local antenna, was an intriguing challenge which AEGEE managed to turn into another story of success. Having this diverse group with its different organizational background, assisted in transferring good practices and served as a strong base for future cooperation. The participants had the chance to discuss youth participation, active citizenship and Non-formal Education within the Icelandic context by meeting different stakeholders. Representatives from AIESEC Reykjavik, the National Students Union, the Icelandic Youth Council, the Other House, the Governmental youth support center, and the University of Iceland gave us useful and priceless feedback in terms of the situation of Icelandic young people.
Participants conducted informal interviews with students of the University of Iceland that led to an insight into the main fields of interest of youth in Reykjavik, how they feel about voluntary work and what meaning stands behind the phrase “feeling European” for them. Visiting the Icelandic Parliament introduced us to local policy and decision making and ordinary people’s impact on it.
We faced a strong sense of individualism within Icelanders which has its very own historical background and has become one of the puzzle-pieces in constructing their very culture. People would be definitely willing to involve themselves if only the topic would be of their strong interest. We were able to define that students are mostly interested in environmental and gender equality issues. This leads to the following conclusion: if voluntary work and nurturing of the position of active citizenship are being well promoted as tools for personal development and operating in fields of interest of the Icelandic youth, we can easily say “Start now! Icelandic people are waiting to be asked”!
Best practices in Non-formal Education (NFE Book) Dragan Stojanovski In May 2008 AEGEE published a book on best practices in Non-formal Education (NFE) in Europe. This book, which was supported by the Council in Europe, and made in cooperation with different partners from the youth work sector, is aiming to explore the NFE concept, practices, impact and outcomes on young people and society.
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It turned out that volunteers can easily benefit of a strong financial and administrative support from local companies and authorities. Yet again the very specific social and economical situation somehow makes native youth not very active in non-profit activities. It’s important to not take this for a lack of interest, but more for a certain misunderstanding of the concept of voluntary work and all the skills and personal development it brings. Not to mention the aspect of active citizenship and its benefits towards society.
The book tries to make the term “Non-formal Education” common among young people (aged 15-30) involved or interested in getting involved in youth work in Europe by offering a comprehensive overview of NFE policies and positions from all parts of the stakeholders’ spectrum in the field. It is also exploring and clarifying the differences between Formal Education, Non-formal Education and Informal Learning concepts. The publication presents real-life experiences from real people that show the uniqueness, specificity and advantages of the Non-formal Education process for gaining real competences – from decision making and problem solving, to practical application of knowledge, capacity to adapt to real-life situations, organizational management, international teamwork or learning foreign languages, cultures and customs.
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On the other side, the book aims at pointing out the positive changes that NFE is bringing to society – in terms of peace building and conflict resolution, local community development, solidarity within the community, social inclusion, environmental education, global education, intercultural learning and education for citizens in general. Finally the publication offers an overview of recognition instruments and realities of their implementation from the governmental, institutional, business and social perspectives, with the goal to encourage young people to use the tools for the recognition of NFE experience. The book will be distributed to 250 AEGEE local branches, around 100 most important universities in Europe, partners of AEGEE-Europe (institutions, platforms, MEPs, media partners), member organizations of the European Youth Forum and participants of the internal education events of the AEGEEAcademy (Human Resources Working Group of AEGEE-Europe).
European Boards’ Meeting, Gliwice Jan Tolkien
The outcome of the discussions was that the general goals are seen positively. Those are for example the facilitation of student mobility, flexibility and creation of a common high quality of studies throughout Europe. On the other side, the way of fast implementation of new systems (Bachelor / Master) often fails to achieve high standards. Therefore many negative aspects are connected with this process as well, such as lowering of the quality by reducing the time to study and the individual freedom. The introduction of more bureaucracy and the complicated administration of new studies were also criticized. A danger of loss of diversity in Higher Education is seen as well. During group work the participants came up with creative ways of tackling bad implementations of the Bologna Agreement. On the list of possible actions were action days, preparation of reports on the current situation, trainings and small fun events with the purpose of spreading background information. Returning on the second day, the participants were thrown in a totally new situation. In a role-play, three groups prepared a discussion in which the stakeholders (a company, the dean of a university and a students’ initiative) had to come up with a solution for how to include Non-formal Learning experiences in the curriculum and to recognize it in a reasonable way. While it never really came to a solution everyone agreed on, the participants reported to have learned a lot about different positions and how to prepare for such a discussion.
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During the European Boards’ Meeting (EBM) that took place from 15-18 February in Gliwice, Poland, an intensive two-day workshop took place for those interested in the ongoing process of the creation of a common European Higher Education Area (Bologna Process). Sixteen participants joined the workshop, hearing a short lecture on basics of the Bologna Process, exchanging impressions and experiences and working in small groups on how to organize an event to discuss activities in the participants’ universities during the first day.
Network Meetings Jonna Sijl and Asia Piskunowicz In spring 2007 members of Education Unlimited! represented the project on various Network Meetings (NWMs). Among these were the NWMs of Maastricht, Athens, Budapest, Porto and Lublin.
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The 13th of March the project was represented in Maastricht, The Netherlands, during the ‘AEGEE café’. More or less 20 participants took part in this activity. Members of different projects within AEGEE first presented in short their project. After that, the participants sat down by the project(s) of their choice to ask for more information. At the end the participants knew what the project was about and how they could take part in the project. Around 30 participants took part in the NWM in Budapest, Hungary, which was held the 16th-18th of March. A member of Education Unlimited! held a presentation about the project and a workshop, which existed of different role-plays concerning recognition of NFE (Non-formal Education) by employers during a job interview. The 15 participants of the workshop learned about NFE and got enthusiastic about organising an activity related to Education Unlimited! in their home towns. At the NWM in Athens, Greece, a workshop was held with around 20 participants. First there were presentations about Education Unlimited! and about NFE by a member of the project and two NFE experts. Then the participants performed sketches that they had created after the presentations. At the end there was a small discussion about the recognition of NFE. The participants learned a lot about (the recognition of) NFE. Next to that they learned about the various possibilities of taking part in the project.
In the period 13th-15th of April Education Unlimited! was represented at the NWM in Porto, Portugal. First a presentation about the project was held, after which a discussion followed. In this discussion Spanish and Portuguese participants expressed their concerns about their universities concerning the BP. The participating locals and contacts agreed to become active by for example writing articles in student papers and organising activities concerning the Bologna Process and NFE.
Spring Agora, Valletta Jacqueline Emmerich and Jonna Sijl At the Spring Agora 2007, which was held in Valletta, Malta, from 26th to 29th of April, several members of Education Unlimited! were present to promote the project and to lead a workshop. The main focus was set on promoting the Education Action Week (EAW) which was to take place the following autumn.
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During the meeting in Lublin, Poland, the Education Unlimited! workshop was held in a unique location â€“ a tower of an old wooden church, setting the session in a creative atmosphere. The participants came from Poland (the majority), Finland and Ukraine. Together they searched for solutions concerning the most common problems bothering students, such as unattractive teaching methods or inflexibility of study programmes and not leaving much space for extra curricular activities. Throughout conclusions the emphasis was put on the need for closer cooperation between different student organisations of a university to assure a stronger voice of this community, as well as a more efficient use of the feedback mechanisms on the teacher-students line.
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Presenting a short promo movie in the plenary about the EAW and about the possibility to join the workshop that was planned later that day was the first promotion method. For this the members of Education Unlimited! simulated a boring school lesson with a very fierce and strict teacher that later turned into a fun class by the help of Mr. EDUN and his inspirations and methods of Non-fomal Education.
The second method was the workshop ‘Education – Action!’, in which 15 participants took part. It started with a presentation about Education Unlimited! and the upcoming EAW. Then information about NFE (Non-formal Education) and FE (Formal Education) was given. The two terms were new to a lot of the participants. Finally the participants were divided into three groups and were asked to develop ideas for possible activities during the EAW, emphasising on the fact that within AEGEE, antennas differ in size, amount of active members and collaboration with their university. The results were presented and discussed in an open round. After the discussion, the group decided to publish a kind of manual with ideas and basic information on how to organise best activities during EAW. At the end of the workshop, a lot of locals were interested in organising an activity during the EAW.
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A third and fourth method in promoting Education Unlimited! was based on distributing an especially designed information brochure to local antennae, as well as on giving information in private conversations throughout the Agora.
The Informal Forum of International Students ORGANIZATIONS’ (IFISO), Brussels Astrid Schrader The biannual IFISO meeting assembles the leaders of some 28 international youth NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) representing more than 2 million students altogether. It is conceptualised as a platform of informal exchange and think tank at the same time. Gathering the executives of youth NGO’s only it has its own unique spirit, its own agenda and its own opportunities. In May 2007 the IFISO meeting was organised by AEGEE-Europe. Between 31st May and 2nd June some 25 student leaders came together to discuss any forms of collaboration, knowledge sharing and potential synergies between our organisations.
Embedded in a rich programme dealing with common problem areas of EU visa politics or the Youth in Action programme, Joanna Piskunowicz (Education Unlimited!) and Astrid Schrader (EWG-Speaker) lead a one-day workshop on student visions on EU Education matters. Following a presentation of the Education Unlimited! (EDUN!) project by Viktoriya Voytsekhovska, the main implications of the Bologna reforms on our mutual student organisations were discussed: less flexible schedules, less time to dedicate to voluntary activities and problems to recruit new members. While recognising the benefits of a Europe which grows together, there was consensus that a student participation needed to be more than simply consultative and that through lobbying and higher visibility of the student organisations’ point of view those problems had to be tackled.
Summer Universities Miljan Radunovic and Asia Piskunowicz Every summer from June till September AEGEE-locals organise many Summer Universities (SUs), in which AEGEE-members from all over Europe participate. Different types of SU’s exist, such as the Travel SU’s and Language SU’s. This year the Education Unlimited! (EDUN!) team decided to be present at some of the Summer Universities. During the Summer University organized by AEGEE Madrid, AEGEE Leon and AEGEE Gijon in July 2007, participants present were introduced to the project and the Bologna Process.
V. ACTIVITES... with EDUN!
The round agreed to proceed with and to deepen the already existing cooperation, be it within the framework of the Education Action Week or as part of numerous other local or international activities. To sum it all up: Reach for the stars – you might end on the moon.
After the presentation of the Bologna Process and its implementation, it became obvious that the participants, with the majority coming from countries with a (almost) fully implemented Bologna Declaration and a functioning Erasmus programme, knew some general things about the Bologna Process, but however lacked concrete knowledge in some basic issues regarding it. After these presentations, the participants were subjected to a small survey concerning NFE (Non-formal Education). The participants agreed that the labor market needs to invest / help more in the academic sector. The last activity was the simulation of a job interview with a serious and a fun person. The main conclusion was that getting the job, depends on the profession one wants to be involved in, meaning whether its quality is depending on human interaction or if it is not that much human relations related.
V. ACTIVITES... with EDUN!
In Zielona Gora a workshop was held by EDUN! and the International Politics Working Group (IPWG). After a short introduction, participants worked in smaller groups on presentations showing ‘how education prepares young people to be citizens’. Groups pointed out the importance of education for encouraging youth to take care of the environment, to volunteer or to participate in voting. Then the participants were asked to write down the positive and negative aspects of the Education System in their country. Then altogether they discussed their points, marked those that were similar between their countries and choose what they liked most from all countries. Amongst the most popular was the bilingual education. During a discussion about different types of education, it became clear that also here most of the participants didn’t know about NFE and the Bologna Process. They did recognize some of the changes in their university, however. At the end the group brainstormed about the Perfect Model of Education preparing for political involvement or for active citizenship. This brought up many ideas, such as introducing non-formal methods into university, establishing mentorship system between students of last and first years and improving the connection between university education and labour market requirements.
rks ho par tic ps ipa dis nts cus sio n
Project Team Meeting: Changing Landscapes , Estonia Dragan Stojanovski
The Education Unlimited! team joined them in order to pass on the knowledge and experience from real-life European project management. They give valuable tips and tricks on project development, human resources management, and communication within distributed team of volunteers, internal and external public relations, fund raising, evaluation and closure of the project. They also shared good and bad practices in choosing and implementing the best formats and methodologies for project activities and many more bigger and smaller details that might make one project a success or a failure. They also discussed the current trends in the area of Education for Sustainable Development and the advantages of non-formal educational experience in the field of sustainable living. The knowledge transfer to the new Flagship Project team was an excellent opportunity for the Education Unlimited! team to objectively self-ass the project’s achievements and reshape the strategy for its completion. As 2007 – a year full of activities – was closed, there were ambitious items waiting on the agenda for 2008 – including case study trip to Iceland and the book on best practices in Non-formal Learning in Europe.
V. ACTIVITES... with EDUN!
As an old proverb says – every beginning is another beginning’s end. In late December 2007, team members of the new AEGEE Flagship Project 2008 gathered for the first time. They had a serious agenda in front of them – to develop a new initiative in the field of Sustainable Development (issue not so familiar in the almost universally diversified AEGEE work) into an attractive and effective project for the next two years. Their aim was to take a multidisciplinary approach to sustainable development and promote innovative sustainable living solutions for the life of young people and their communities.
VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE
External contacts Theijs van Welij
Together with Gisele Evrard and later Maarten Coertjens from the European Youth Forum (YFJ) we had several meetings to coordinate the actions on the common aim: striving for the recognition of Non-formal Learning. Besides the YFJ, AEGEE presented it initiatives to the EUCIS/Lifelong Learning Platform in Dijon. Feedback was spread to active AEGEE members through the mailing list of the AEGEE Education Working Group. During the UNESCO presentation “60 minutes on Non Formal Education” in September 2006 we raised the issue of organising a seminar with UNESCO on the world wide recognition of Non-formal Education among youth NGOs to see how recognition is realised in other continents. This idea was realised in December 2007. Early September 2006 Asia Piskunowicz attended an inaugural meeting between stakeholders in education organised by the Youth Forum. Apart from 20 other youth organizations, representatives from the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the World Bank and the OECD gave input on current developments in the field of recognition of Non-formal Education. This meeting was useful for the Project Development Meeting (PDM) that took place shortly after in Brussels, Belgium, but was also an opportunity to exchange ideas between other NGOs.
VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE
Once the Year Plan Topic on the Bologna Process had been selected in Spring 2006, the members of the Comité Directeur of AEGEE (CD) attended several conferences to achieve a deeper understanding of the topic in order to get partners, receive feedback and prepare a Project Development Meeting in September that year. Via the Bologna Process conference organised by the Hellenic Ministry of Education in June 2006 we came in contact with Peter van der Hijden, Bologna Expert of the European Commission and participant of the founding meeting of AEGEE in Paris, back in 1985. In the summer period we met European Commissioner of Education Jan Figel as well.
Shortly after the PDM, the CD attended conferences in Rotterdam and Helsinki to meet a wide range of officials who gave reflections on the PDM outcomes. Simultaneously Theijs van Welij headed to the Caucasus to find out more about youth policy and the status-quo on the Bologna Process in Georgia and Azerbaijan.
VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE
With all these consultations and support, a project outline was presented to the General Assembly of AEGEE-Europe and the final name ‘Education Unlimited! Improving European education’ was adopted in early November 2006. After Education Unlimited! had started, the task of the CD changed: now current activities had to be promoted, partners had to be attracted and occasions had to be looked for to present results. As President Theijs van Welij met with MEPs like Karin Resetarits to ask about hosting the Informal Meeting of International Student Organisations (IFISO) in Spring 2007, where one day was reserved to Education Unlimited!. During the ESN Erasmus20 conference in the European Parliament AEGEE had the opportunity to ask Commissioner Mrs. Wallström and Head of DG Education Mrs. Quintin for recognition of the work and voice of European Student NGOs, which was greatly supported by ESN and BEST. Since AEGEE is present in most Non EU countries that signed the Bologna Treaty, we discussed together with ESU the possibility of Bologna Process Training by student NGOs at the first ever Tempus Student Conference organised by the European Commission in Brussels in April 2007 - AEGEE had such a TEMPUS student seminar back in the early 90s in Budapest. As a result AEGEE, ESU and the Tempus alumni students submitted a proposal to the European Commission in summer 2007 to organise training activities within the TEMPUS IV programme.
During the annual conference of the EAIA in Trondheim, AEGEE had, on invitation of ESN, the opportunity to get in contact with the international office representatives of universities in Europe. Student organisations were invited to present results of their current projects like Erasmus 20 and Education Unlimited! during the next annual conference, to be held in Antwerp, September 2008.
Via the refreshed partnership between AEGEE and the European Student Union, AEGEE hopes to be able to attend the Bologna Ministerial Meeting in Belgium foreseen for Spring 2009 as observer and to be able to disseminate the results of ‘Education Unlimited! Improving European Education’. If not, AEGEE will have to look for alternative ways, in particular at local level to increase participation in student councils, since there are still millions of students whose voice is not heard at this very moment.
Building partnerships By Asia Piskunowicz The first moments in which the idea of Education Unlimited! started to take shape, early autumn 2007 in Brussels, AEGEE invited other NGOs to the Project Development Meeting, which was dedicated to discussing an initiative on European education. Inviting representatives of student organisations such as BEST (Board of European Students of Technology), EMSA (European Medical Students’ Association) or ESN (Erasmus Students Network) to join the meeting was a strategic decision.
VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE
Many more meetings followed, like Cedefop, EUCIS, Tuning, EVS and the ESU Student Convention in Lisbon. The Convention took place on the eve of the Education Action Week, for which AEGEE sent mailings to all national members of ESU. During this last meeting with ESU, future plans for cooperation were made, e.g the Iceland Case Study Trip on youth & education policy (March 2008) and the AEGEE Flagship project 2008/2009: Sustaining our Future.
58 VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE
AEGEE realised very well that strong partnerships would be necessary for such a big project, and what better way to gain their commitment than involving them from the very first stage. The pluralism of backgrounds – ensured by a different members profile of each organisation, representing different study fields – was a guarantee for touching issues relevant for a broader students’ community. It was an invaluable input/contribution to the content of the project. Without expertise and experiences from various backgrounds, like technical students next to students of medicine, there was a threat that project would reflect a limited perspective, based only on AEGEE experience. Partners could decide on many ways and levels of cooperation. Starting from simple promotion of Education Unlimited! among their members, through participating in project events, to even co-organising actions within the project. At the same time the AEGEE team had several purposes to establish close and strong links. One of them was to be able to reach holistically the community of active students – since AEGEE is mostly related to this type of young people. The natural path to achieve this was to use the network of all student organisations, whose members are all active students. Going through their internal channels meant being able to indirectly reach a wider target group than only AEGEE members, to inform, encourage and empower to improve their education. Another benefit coming from good cooperation was the support that Education Unlimited! received. In case of student organisations it was mainly about delegating participants or speakers to the events, just like ESN, BEST or EMSA did for conferences in Nis and Stuttgart. Valuable support in terms of training came from organisations not merely student-based, in particular Youth for Exchange and Understanding. The above mentioned NGOs were those with which communication went particularly well. Next to them, the project team kept regular contact with the two umbrella organisations – European Students Union (formerly ESIB) and the European Youth Forum - seen as voice of young people in the field of respectively Formal and Non-formal Education. Their input helped to keep the project activities up to date with developments in the field.
Last but not least, all the partnerships were crucial for the impact the Education Unlimited! project had on decision makers and opinion leaders. Of course the team made efforts to reach officials directly, by inviting them to events, or indirectly via media (e.g. press releases sent to Euractiv). However it was joining with partners, being a group of NGOs, that made our voice louder and our message stronger.
Making a buzz Jonna Sijl
Next to the publicity made by the project team, various newspapers decided to publish articles about Education Unlimited! activities. A small collection of these two kinds of PR can be found here:
VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE
External and internal Public Relations (PR) were very important during the project to let AEGEE and the outside world know what was going on and what were the plans concerning Education Unlimited!. The project had its own website (http://www.projects.aegee.org/educationunlimited/), press releases were made and distributed to announce various activities, and a brochure was printed to promote the Education Action Week.
The kick-off congress through Ukrainian eyes
VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE
The article “Bologna Process in Youth View” was published on the Ukrainian website www.osvita.org.ua and in the newspaper “Kiev’s Polytechnic”. It is about the Bologna Process Conference in Stuttgart, February 2007. Why was this international event so important for students from different countries, and especially for Ukrainians? In this article is stated that youth can have an influence on educational reforms, and makes changes in society. There are a lot of universities, that try to establish a new educational system without the consent of students. This creates misunderstanding and even protests against the changes whereas the students feel that the Bologna Process is forced upon them. There is also a brief description of the various workshops that were held during the conference and some thoughts about the situation concerning academic mobility as well as the brain-drain problem. The article encourages young people to become interested in the implementation of the Bologna Process reforms and shows a good example of how NGO’s such as AEGEE, BEST, AESEC, ESIB care for the educational process in the European countries. In the end of article AEGEE and Education Unlimited! are promoted.
Education Action Week, AEGEE Tartu
VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE
The article was published on the Estonian website http://www.ajaleht.ut.ee and in the newspaper â€˜Universitas Tartuensisâ€™. It introduces the programme of the Education Action Day that was organized together with the European Youth Association. It also mentions the importance of Non-formal Education and the purpose of it. As Non-formal Education is the other side of the coin, it is significant to know what opportunities it offers in addition to the Formal Education. The seminar held during the day offered an overview of the methods of Non-formal Education and involved the participants actively in a discussion about the topic.
62 VI. SPREADING THE MESSAGE
Bologna Process â€“ chance or obstacle?, Stuttgart
64 A good way of measuring the results is by looking back at the objectives set at the beginning of the project. The overall goal was “contributing to improvement of European Higher Education by strengthening involvement of young people in educational policies at the grass-root level and bridging Formal (FE) and Non-formal Education (NFE) in a more sustainable way.” More specific, students should be provided with more knowledge about mainly the Bologna Process (BP), Lifelong Learning and Non formal Education. Next to this, the project wanted to contribute to the acknowledgement of Non-formal Education and to encourage pro-active approach of young people to the organisation of education.
During the project many activities were organised around one or more of these objectives. The NFE Book, for example, will be used as a tool towards acknowledgement of Non-formal Education, but also as an instrument to inform young people about the possibilities of this learning method. Overall seen, there are two obvious results of Education Unlimited!: 1) In the field of the Bologna Process the project brought a fresh opinion to the discussion: the opinion of students who are active in NGO’s and the opinion of the students at grass root level 2) The project showed how NFE and FE should go hand in hand in educating people to live and work in the Society of Knowledge In the following two articles the results will be explained further.
Education Unlimited! – Students’ Contribution to Higher Education Improvement in Europe Dragan Stojanovski “Your organization deserves the highest commendation and congratulations … I have found your project very well planned and it augurs well for the prospects of higher education in Europe when organizations of students such as yours take the initiative.” Nikos Kokosalakis, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens (about the BPBP initiative of Education Unlimited!)
Launched in January 2007, the project aimed at a greater involvement of young people in designing their learning experience: expressing and implementing ideas on what and how they want to learn through their education, focusing on the Bologna Process implementation, inclusion of basic European values and foreign language courses in curricula all over Europe and promotion of interesting, attractive and involving educational methods. Focusing on the impact of reforms within the Bologna Process, Education Unlimited! was designed to emphasize the complementarities of Non-formal and Formal Education, creating a bridge between the world of professors, lectures and exams and the world of youth activism, learning by doing and sharing values.
To be present in the center of every relevant debate on Higher Education in Europe – that is the driving imperative for AEGEE since the founding days in the early eighties. To try to contribute to the historic replacement of a centuries old paradigm of teaching with a learner-centered approach to education and the biggest integration in the history of Europe – European Higher Education Area – was a challenge AEGEE decided to take on with all its resources, experience, expertise and enthusiasm, under the Flagship Project 2007: Education Unlimited! – Improving European Higher Education.
The project was implemented through a series of activities at both European and local level: conferences in Stuttgart (Germany), Niš (Serbia) and Paris (France), training courses in Poznan (Poland), Münster (Germany) and Athens (Greece) and the Education Action Week in 16 cities across Europe. The Case Study Trip to Iceland and the publication of the book on “The Best Practices in Non-formal Education in Europe” will bring the project to its end in June 2008, when its results will be presented at a conference in Brussels and in this results booklet.
One could ask: Why now and not earlier? Since the launch of the Bologna Process in 1999, AEGEE has welcomed progress and the continuing determination of the European governments to create the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), bringing European societies, in their diversity and common values, closely together in an endeavor to create a Higher Education system in Europe that is attractive, competitive, efficient, democratic, open and inclusive. As written down by our founders in our organization’s mission, one of our aims is to foster democracy, human rights, tolerance, cross-border cooperation, mobility and the European dimension in the educational sphere. We were active in the field of mobility throughout the nineties, with special emphasis on the less fortunate regions – Southeast Europe and Caucasus. But, as the new, historic wave of EU accession was getting its momentum, our main focus has to good extent shifted to the final step in the project of lasting peace through understanding and cooperation in Europe. Centering all our activities first and foremost in university settings, AEGEE acknowledges the important role of the institutions of Higher Education for the European economic, social, technological and cultural progress and their fundamental role in educating responsible and active citizens and competent and competitive professionals. When launching Education Unlimited! we sensed that it is the crucial moment to stress our determination to work for a European Higher Education Area development build on a vision that is broader than structural changes and instrumental issues.
AEGEE sees the Bologna Process as the historic reshaping of European Education, and believes that it shall be implemented with the maximum contribution from all interested stakeholders, from Ministries of Education to first-year students. Moving away from recommendations for formal concepts to concepts of substantial changes in Higher Education development will bring better results, but will also take more time and energy, as complex challenges are being tackled, and as we still recognize extensive challenges in implementing structural changes. EHEA recognition instruments – ECTS, the Diploma Supplement and the Qualifications Framework – although now widely in use, are often used unsystematically. Incorrect use of ECTS doesn’t measure student workload properly and doesn’t facilitate flexibility and mobility and because of the Diploma Supplement fails to serve commonly agreed learning outcomes oriented approach in education because of inadequate use. National Qualification Frameworks, being implemented at a very slow pace, are often failing to serve as instruments and promoters for transparency, mobility and employability. Furthermore, degree structure reforms are still not followed by enough restructuring at the level of curricula and courses and modules design based on a student-centered concept of proactive and participative education process with major emphasis on partnership with businesses and connection to the European Research Area and increased mobility within fields of studies, institutions and geographical areas.
Therefore we will continue to work on raising awareness concerning the essence of the recognition tools and study cycles and increased cooperation between the major stakeholders, especially at the grassroots level, for their correct implementation and restructuring.
With structural reforms often failing to show expected outcomes, it is finally acknowledged that mobility and other key aspects of the EHEA are closely connected to the social dimension of Higher Education. If higher education reforms are aiming at education and scientific excellence and beyond – competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy within democratic and coherent knowledge-based society – their socioeconomic perspective has to be constantly considered, after being neglected for long time. In the same way, a strong focus on putting EHEA in global context has once again brought forward the issue of the European dimension of Higher Education. Giving substance to the European dimension, as Ministers call it, one of main action lines within the Bologna Process framework, is still highly underestimated and taken as something to be resolved ‘on the way’. Educating students to efficiently respond to the opportunities of globalization has to include European values and European experience in education, which will, together with quality, transparency and flexibility, represent the key factors for the global competitiveness and attractiveness of the EHEA. AEGEE is determined to work for concrete terms and policies concerning the social dimension of Higher Education and improved and extended dialogue on social aspects of Higher Education reforms and for profound and coherent incorporation of European values in Higher Education.
Developing lifelong learning strategies and putting them into practice are issues to be considered in the future, as Ministers also acknowledged that there is a rather modest improvement in this field. This means placing institutions of Higher Education in the context of lifelong learning and delivering education services to facilitate both continuous education and training for graduates, and comprehensive education catch-up for individuals and particular social groups, including fair recognition of prior knowledge and offering flexible and continuous learning paths to students.
Education within an institution of Higher Education, in the context of Lifelong Learning, should be strengthened by the concept of lifewide learning promoting, improving and recognizing skills and competences acquired within a Non-formal or Informal environment. AEGEE believes in the unique complementarity of Formal and Non-formal Education when it comes to providing students with skills and knowledge necessary for their success in the global setting, in the spectrum of generic competences and beyond, while we welcome the Ministers’ statement that recognition of Non-formal and Informal Learning is among an essential component of the EHEA, in an internal and in a global context. AEGEE will continue to work on one of organization’s main focuses for many years to come – development of flexible Lifelong Learning policies and fair recognition of Non-formal Learning by the institutions of Higher Education, based on learning outcomes and quality oriented approach. Looking back at a tremendous year of Education Unlimited! and the dynamic results of all its activities – we can proudly say: It’s good to be back in the center!
The complementary role of Formal Education and Non-formal Education Asia Piskunowicz ‘The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.’
This quote of Herbert Spencer – English philosopher and sociologist – accurately represents the view of AEGEE-Europe on Education, put forward by the Education Unlimited! project.
We believe that through Education individuals should be enabled to act – this means to function and contribute to the society and environment they live in. It’s about more than acquiring pure knowledge. People need to equally develop skills and attitudes. It is the combination of these three that builds the “real competence” of a person. This implies not only understanding particular information, but also ability to apply this knowledge in practice and having a certain approach to doing so, based on one’s motivation, values or beliefs.
Competences are gained through conscious learning in a Formal and Nonformal context, as well as through unconscious – Informal – experience. All in all what matters is what the learner gets out of the process, and not where it takes place, who certifies it or how long it lasts. Despite the fact that Education should be outcome-oriented, different institutions still keep the debate rather around the input or conditions. Instead they should look into possible contributions that different educational approaches can have to the overall aim of Education – empowering people for action. The experience of the ‘Education Unlimited!’ project shows that the problem is twofold. On one hand Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), mostly applying Non-formal Education, are not able to neither communicate clearly nor provide scientific proof for the learning outcomes they achieve. On the other hand the academics and politicians cannot reach agreement on an outcome-oriented model for Formal Education. They initiate reforms, which take a long time to be implemented and of which the factual effects can not always be completely foreseen. So, while the ‘advocates’ of Non-formal Education accuse professors of out-of-date methods, not responding to students’ needs; the Higher Education Institutions isolate themselves from these voices, taking ‘non-formal’ as ‘not-serious’ or ‘valueless’. Bad communication between the parties results in lack of mutual understanding. Eventually the learners are the ones to suffer, while being placed into an educational system that is either unfinished or unrecognised.
Therefore one of the core conclusions and strongest messages of the Education Unlimited! project is that the Formal and Non-formal Education should be seen and treated as complementary to each other. They need to go hand in hand, giving a broader offer of learning experiences. Each of these systems develops different competences in different ways, so both should be accessible for learners.
The complementarity also relates to the three-dimensional concept of real competence: knowledge, skills and attitudes. During the Education Unlimited! seminar in Paris ‘Non formal education – it’s Impact and Outcomes’, participants reflected upon the differences in the learning outcomes of both educational systems. They agreed that currently Formal Education is not made to fully develop and shape personal potential. It covers above all the need for knowledge and also allows a certain skills development, as where the non-formal approach tackles more directly the attitudes and skills development. The participants were asked what they gain in particular through Non-formal Education, apart from the Formal Education. Most often they named: tolerance, respect, responsibility, flexibility, creativity, effective communication, self-awareness, team work, leadership and problem solving - clearly related to the two later elements of key competence.
The preposition of complementarity is at the foundation of the concept of lifewide learning - promoted by the European Youth Forum and supported by AEGEE-Europe – which expands the lifelong learning idea. “The term ‘lifelong’ learning draws attention to time: learning throughout life, either continuously or periodically. The newly-coined term ‘lifewide’ learning enriches the picture by drawing attention to the spread of learning, which can take place across the full range of our lives at any one stage in our lives. (...) The ‘lifewide’ dimension brings the complementarity of formal, non-formal and informal learning into sharper focus. It reminds us that useful and enjoyable learning can and does take place in the family, in leisure time, in community life and in daily worklife. Lifewide learning also makes us realise that teaching and learning are themselves roles and activities that can be changed and exchanged in different times and places.”
The activism of students, involved in NGOs such as AEGEE, is an example of lifewide learning and the complementarity concept. While being full-time participants of Formal Education, attending university courses and exams, they are taking part in activities like training courses, workshops, projects and meetings, often international. In each setting they learn in a different way. Students can develop key competences in this way, benefitting from both systems. It is crucial to underline here however, an alarming finding from the confe rence ‘Bologna – Chance or Obstacle?’ in Stuttgart (Germany), where representatives of several student associations shared a common observation: that the newly introduced Bachelor-Master system threatens students’ involvement in extracurricular activities, such as a NGO membership. Shorted study time combined with the old curricula being more ‘squeezed in’ than ‘adapted to’, makes it very difficult to find time for activities next to university. International participants of the conference strongly agreed that universities should make it possible for students to be active, for example through flexible schedules or alternatives of compensating missed classes. Non-formal activities make youth take initiatives and reflect on their role in the society. This creates conscious and proactive citizens. Formal Education can do this only to a limited extent.
In order to individually reinforce the idea of complementarity, students who are NGO volunteers should to be able to convince deans, professors or potential employers to recognise Non-formal Education. To develop such skills the Education Unlimited! project included in it’s events simulations of tripartite debates between the labour market, institutions of Higher Education and students. Putting young people in the position to present their experience and to justify its value, directly increases self-awareness – an important element of self-directed development and learning.
When it comes to real dialogues, such as the tripartite debate in Poznan (Poland), it became clear that managers and businessmen are far more likely to appreciate Non-formal Education background, though not being familiar with this terminology, then thought in the beginning. When recruiting, employers look for diploma as well as sense of initiative and self-management skills. Among the academic staff, specialists in teaching methodologies, agree that Non-formal Education experience develops a drive for learning, and the ability to learn is highly appreciated by universities. What neither labour market nor Higher Education institutions pay much attention to, is the role of Non-formal Education in social change, even though this is one of its core strengths. As the society becomes more complex, different cultures mix and various institutions are more present in people’s lives, non-formal activities help young people not only to find themselves in these new realities, but also to become actors and leaders of a positive social change. During the Paris seminar, the participants – all being students – pointed at their responsibilities towards the society, among which they mentioned: breaking prejudice, creating social spaces or trying to be role models for other people.
Participating both in Formal and Non-formal Education gives students the possibility to develop in a variety of fields and thus discover their individual potential. They can establish links between courses they follow and activities they get involved in – for example when political science students attend an international seminar on a conflict area and meet people from the place. In many cases universities offer students opportunities to develop their passions, however not always. During one of the workshops a Portuguese girl said that her university refused to support her attendance at an exclusive poetry conference – though she was the only Portuguese invited – because poetry was not in line with her business studies. That made her stop writing in Portuguese and continue her passion in other languages than her own.
The situation of Formal and Non-formal Education in Europe is not ideal. Students and academics would love to see the current Higher Education functioning more efficient. Europe has a broad offer of Non-formal Education activities, which are poorly recognised. Both systems need improvements and changes. Universities should continue their quest for more outcome-oriented and learner-centred programmes, while Non-formal Education needs quality assurance and good external communication.
The European dream of the Knowledge Society actually depends on the assurance of the complementary roles of Formal and Non-formal Education. If we want an ensured high level of knowledge â€“ we need good quality and accessible Formal Education systems, if we want a society, an European community of active citizens â€“ we need more supported Non-formal Education.
VIII. THE TEAM
A lot of people were involved in the Education Unlimited! project. Some were involved for a long time, others for a shorter period of time. It has been rather difficult to make a division between the people from the core team, people that were part of the team for a short period and other indispensable people. A list of this last group can be found under the ‘Acknowledgements’. The lists of the first two groups can be found here.
Asia Piskunowicz (AEGEE-Poznań) Project manager
Anya Shirokova (AEGEE-Moskva) Media relations
Jacqueline Emmerich (AEGEE-Augsburg) Promotion materials coordination
Jonna Sijl (AEGEE-Utrecht) Coordination of the results and the Results Booklet Julia Drews (AEGEE-Berlin) Locals support, Bologna Process content
Kadri Kalle (AEGEE-Tartu) Education Action Week coordination Karolina Zborowska (AEGEE-Slupsk) Fund Raising
Miljan Radunovic (AEGEE-Beograd) Calendar of Events coordination
Pieter Haex (AEGEE-Nijmegen) Treasurer
Tika Tsertsvadze (AEGEE-Tbilisi) Institutional Fund Raising
Vaggelis Monoguios (AEGEE-Athina) Fund Raising
Veronica Stefan (AEGEE-Bucuresti) NFE book preparation, Non-formal education content
Viktoriya Voytsekhovska (AEGEE-Lviv) External cooperation (NGOs, UNESCO)
Violeta Joitoiu (AEGEE-Bucuresti) Website coordination
People who were partly in the team Merche Castillo (AEGEE-Alicante) - content on mobility Sasha Berezko (AEGEE-Ivano-Frankivsk) - webmaster Baris Kayadelen (AEGEE-Ankara)- webmaster Sonia Pavlenko (AEGEE-Oxford) - proofreading
IX. THE JOURNEY
The Journey Asia Piskunowicz Behind every project, there is a project team. Even if often it’s not the most visible, it is one of the most important elements of a successful initiative – its driving force. The team of Education Unlimited! has gone through several stages and many changes, but throughout the whole year some unbelievable people, committed to the project have worked on a totally voluntary basis, making it all possible.
IX. THE JOURNEY
Finding each other wasn’t easy in case of the Education Unlimited! team. It took a while to spot education enthusiasts, experienced enough to dive into international project work. Eventually the team members were coming from such different locations in Europe, that one could easily stretch a map of the continent on them. These diverse backgrounds were both advantage and a challenge for the team work. On one hand individual experiences enriched the group as a whole, on the other hand different views, preferences and standards made working harmoniously together definitely tougher. To balance the reality of distance-communication, two main team meetings were organised. The first one, in Poznan, was like an adventure that many of the participants hadn’t experienced before. Spartan conditions and most unexpected logistic surprises combined with passionate and lengthy discussions about education, created the remarkable atmosphere of that meeting. For the second meeting they gathered in sunny Athens. This meeting was very different. Despite the hard work, they all got affected by the summer feeling and enjoyed the Greek lifestyle, while still managing to fulfil the meeting agenda. In the meantime an occasional part-of-the-team gathering took place in beautiful Valletta. Very specific moments in the teams’ distance work were when writing grant applications. Even though the Poznań meeting was the first time most of the people ever met, they immediately took tasks within the project.
Soon the cooperation forced quick integration of some of them, sometimes even going to the extremes. Writing grant applications was exactly the case: spending time non-stop together on messenger or Skype, discussing the content of an event, calculating budgets or contacting partners brought some team members very close. As always in human relations, in the project people got closer with some and their relationship became friendship, and with some they remained on working terms. What mattered mostly for the project, was that some team members were always there, ready to answer, help and contribute. These people saved the project in its difficult moments. Admirable was the commitment of those team members who stayed with the project to its very end, when all events were over, where there were no more meetings coming up. The usually most neglected part of every project came, and yet still there were people to do it.
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The Education Unlimited! project team went though an enriching and intensive journey, from which everyone took their own different photos and memories, but certainly it is a journey to remember.
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Itâ€™s good to be back Dragan Stojanovski Looking at the Bologna Process in 2008 we can say that the common aims have been followed and the targets are being met by the great majority of 46 countries involved in the process â€“ with evident benefits for both students and institutions of Higher Education. Furthermore, very often reforms shaped by the Bologna Process objectives are used as an opportunity to deal with other problems which have long been known to exist. However, with the Bologna Process being only the framework for reforms and with only the Lisbon Convention bringing formal obligations, different situations can be found across Europe when it comes to its implementation. Because economic conditions vary greatly from country to country, as well as the traditions in education and starting points in the process implementation, there are many irregularities, even misuses in the implementation of the Bologna Process.
There is a need to do more to ensure a systematic use of the commonly agreed Bologna transparency tools, in particular ECTS (whose incorrect or superficial use is still widespread), as a central feature of module design and the Diploma Supplement as well as the challenge of providing clear information about learning outcomes. There is the extremely large problem of recognition of Non-formal Learning as an equal element in Higher Education programmes and the development of national qualification frameworks to place Higher Education deeper in the context of lifelong learning.
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Implementation can often be slowed down by lack of the necessary institutional autonomy to make key decisions or the additional financial resources for universities to deal with the reform. Reforms often have cultural and social implications, making them differently feasible in different perspectives, especially when it comes to degree structure and curricula redesign.
The need for improved dialogue between stakeholders in tackling the challenges of the Bologna Process implementation is now widely recognized. Students are essential actors of this dialogue, which is not easy to induce and ensure, even 9 years after the introduction of the Bologna Process as a historic shift towards a learner-centered education process. There is a need for a change of mentality on both sides. Institutions have to approach the students with trust and confidence while students’ representatives have to step out of the trade-union role and work as a genuine partner in the process, offering experience and expertise, at the same time never neglecting the grassroots, and putting the same effort into facilitating both-way communication with “ordinary” students.
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AEGEE is approaching Higher Education reform in this manner. We are here to serve as a valuable source of learners’ experiences from more than 250 most important institutions of Higher Education in 43 EHEA countries and as an initiator and facilitator of transfer of know-how from successfully reformed systems to the ones experiencing challenges. We want to act as a proactive partner in an extended and improved dialogue on socioeconomic aspects of Higher Education reform in Europe, and want to enhance our part in educating members of the European knowledge-driven society. Educating people entering the global economy job market means to provide them with capabilities of fast analysis, synthesis and application of knowledge, innovative thinking, efficient teamwork and adapting to new working methods – all this in an international context – something that, we strongly believe, can be efficiently acquired in a partnership between Higher Education and Non-formal Learning experience. Finally we hold the background of more than two decades of efforts to define, develop and incorporate the European dimension of Higher Education, and a clear vision for the future of the European Higher Education Area bringing unrivaled academic excellence for the citizens of Europe and the world while standing firmly on European values.
A Glimpse into the future Percin Imrek The Education Working Group (EWG) is one of the Working Groups of AEGEE. It consists of a board (at least 3 people) and around 50 AEGEE-members. The board is chosen every year in February. EWG organizes various activities concerning education in cooperation with local AEGEE’s. Main topics are Mobility, Non-formal Education, the Bologna Process and Lifelong Learning. Examples of events that are organised are the European Day of Languages, Debate School, Socrates Action Week, Mobility Training School (MTS) and the Bologna Process Training School (BPTS). In most of the events EWG deals with the thematic part, while the locals take care of the logistics.
The BPTS has already proved to be such a succesfull event, that it is organised every year. The goal is to inform people about the Bologna Process. In 2007 the BPTS was held in Münster, Germany. This year it will be held in Warszawa, Poland, 29.06- 06.07 2008. Its aim is to inform the 20 participants about the basic ideas of the Bologna Process and to develop activities for its further promotion. High profile presentations and workshops will be held, in which every participant will have time to discuss major issues, such as the Quality Assurance and the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), and to exchange their experiences concerning the Bologna Process. During the EWG board meeting in Istanbul in June 2007 a brand new event came up: Noah’s Ark. This project aims at involving high school students into Non-formal Education before they start university, which will motivate and inform them better at such a young age. Noah’s ark will be organized by AEGEE-Athens.
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The first MTS was held 5th-12th of March 2008 in Mannheim. The project was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research. Subjects were European Higher Education politics, mobility programmes, workshop design and project management. The event aimed at creating constructive multipliers in the field of student mobility. EWG plans to repeat the MTS next year.
Main focus points of all the activities (co-)organized by EWG are: 1. striving for a European Higher Education Area, 2. promoting and evaluating European Education Programs, such as the Lifelong Learning Programme, 3. gathering and spreading information about other educational possibilities and exchange programmes, 4. creating an information network concerning the social and academic conditions at universities all around Europe, 5. starting new projects with fresh ideas, 6. increasing communication between the locals interested in educational activities and last but not least 7. giving information that can help students in building their future careers. In the future EWG will keep using these main focus points in organising projects, such as Socrates on the Move, the Erasmus Manual and the European Day of Languages, conferences and training events. If you are interested in joining or supporting the EWG or one of itâ€™s activities, please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org. EWG will continue its work with a new and fresh board and it is ready to be at your service.
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In this chapter sources of quotes and information as used in this booklet, can be found. AEGEE http://www.aegee.org The Goals http://www.aegee.org/educationunlimited Learning for Life and throughout Life European Commission: Communication from the Commission, Brussels 2001[2007-0228] http://europa.eurapidpressReleasesAction.doreference=IP011620&format=HTML&ag ed=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en Learning by Doing http://www.youthforum.org/en/our_work/Policy_areas/education_priorities.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education Making a Buzz http://www.ajaleht.ut.ee/297410 http://www.osvita.org.ua/bologna/vprov/articles/11.html The Complementary Role of Formal Education and Non-formal Education http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/lll/life/memoen.pdf European University Association, EUA Trends IV Report, April 2005 http://www.eua.be/eua/jsp/en/upload/TrendsIV_FINAL.1117012084971.pdf G8 Moscow Declaration, June 2006 http://en.g8russia.ru/news/20060602/1151807.html Bologna Declaration, June 1999 http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/documents/MDC/BOLOGNA_DECLARATION1.pdf Sorbonne Joint Declaration, May 1998 www.bologna-berlin2003.de%2Fpdf%2FSorbonne_declaration.pdf Lisbon Strategy, March 2000 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/summits/lis1_en.htmFwww.bologna-bergen2005. no%2FDocs%2F00-Main_doc%2F030919Berlin_Communique .PDF
Prague Communiqué, May 2001 http://www.bologna-bergen2005.no/Docs/00-Main_doc/010519PRAGUE_COMMUNIQUE .PDF Berlin Communiqué, September 2003 Fwww.bologna-bergen2005.no%2FDocs%2F00-Main_doc%2F030919Berlin_Communique .PDF Bergen Communiqué, May 2005 www.bologna-bergen2005.no%2FDocs%2F00-Main_doc%2F050520_Bergen_Communique .pdf BFC Bologna Process Stocktaking, May 2005 www.bologna-bergen2005.no%2FBergen%2F050509_Stocktaking.pdf Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, April 1997 http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13522&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SEC TION =201 .html European Students Union, ESIB Bologna with Student Eyes, May 2005, May 2007 www.bologna-bergen2005.no%2FEN%2FPart_org%2FESIB%2F050510_ESIB-Analysis.pdf www.esib.org%2Fdocuments%2Fpublications%2Fbwse2007.pdf European Students Union, ESIB The Black Book of the Bologna Process, May 2005 www.bologna-bergen2005.no%2FDocs%2F02-ESIB%2F0505_ESIB_blackbook.pdf UFD The Bologna Process from a Norwegian Perspective, October 2004 www.bologna-bergen2005.no%2FDocs%2FNorway%2F041014Fact_Sheet_BolognaProcess.pdf European University Association, EUA Trends V, April 2007 http://www.eua.be/fileadmin/user_upload/files/Publications/Trends_V_universities_ shaping_the_european_higher_education_area.pdf BFC From Berlin to Bergen, May 2005 www.bologna-bergen2005.no%2FBergen%2F050503_General_rep.pdf European University Association, EUA The Lisbon Declaration: Europe’s Universities beyond 2010: Diversity with a Common Purpose, April 2007 www.eua.be%2Ffileadmin%2Fuser_upload%2Ffiles%2FPublications%2FLisbon_declaration.pdf
CNE Livre des references, January 2006 www.cne-evaluation.fr%2FWCNE_pdf%2FLivrereferencesCNE.pdf The Novi Sad Initiative Final Document, October 2005 www.nsinitiative.ns.ac.yu%2Fdocs%2FNS_Initiative_Final_Document.pdf BFUGB12 minutes, 13 June 2006 www.dfes.gov.uk%2Flondonbologna%2Fuploads%2Fdocuments%2FBFUG_Board_ 12minutes_fin25July06(2).doc Criteria for new Consultative Members and BFUG Partners, March 2005 www.bologna-bergen2005.no%2FB%2FBoard_Meetings%2F050125_Brussels% 2FBFUGB6_14_Criteria_consult_members.pdf London CommuniquĂŠ, May 2007 www.eua.be%2Ffileadmin%2Fuser_upload%2Ffiles%2FPublications%2FLondoncommuni que.pdf
education will never have limits!!