First, we will shortly present the idea of the project and the way how it was initiated. The goal of our project is to develop and validate a competence development program for adult educators working with target groups such as immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers. The focus of the program is the development of entrepreneurship and digital entrepreneurship skills. The idea of the project was developed by a coordinator (Klaipeda University) on the basis of the analysis of relevant materials published on EPALE platform. Since EPALE has different topical focuses each month, a lot of relevant resources are being published specifically to reflect the certain topic. Moreover, on-line discussions, blog sessions, seminars etc. for target groups are organized. This allows to collect a lot of useful and relevant information under some specific topic (in our case immigrants’ integrations issues) and to determine some relevant ideas for further research.
After having developed the idea and the goals of the project, we started thinking about the effective partnership for the project activities. By that time, we have already had two more partners (from Latvia and Estonia), with whom we worked in a consortium in another Nordplus projects, however we needed a partner from a Scandinavian country in order to develop a successful partnership and fulfil the Nordplus Adult programme requirements. We decided to use the “Partner search” tool provided on EPALE. We specifically searched for an organisation involved in adult education that would have expertise in work with immigrants and asylum seekers. The search engine on EPALE platform allows to set the search according to very important criteria such as “type of organisation”, “type of activity” etc. that simplifies the search possibilities and makes the search activity effective. We succeeded to find several organisations that had the necessary experience for our project idea. We emailed all of them and received positive replies from all of the organisations. Therefore, it is very important to mention that organisations that have registered themselves on EPALE platform are very motivated to find project partners and to participate in projects. That could not be always said about other search engines, where registered organisations are not responding to invitations or
do not exist at all. After having communicated with the selected partners, we have chosen the most suitable partner for our project and started to develop the project idea in full consortium.
Further on, we had to prove the need for such a program for adult educators. Therefore, we have carried out some research in order to justify the relevance of our project. Given to the data of context analysis (carried out by partners during the project preparation stage), the participating Nordplus countries are highly interested in the effective ways of the integration of immigrants and asylum seekers into labour market. As the development of ICT prompts new ways for business development (one of the ways is digital entrepreneurship), the educational programmes for target groups of adults should appear in order to fill in the gap in knowledge and skills. However, at present, there are no specific programmes for immigrants and asylum seekers in the field of digital entrepreneurship in partner countries. The programme will be specifically sought to train adult educators to work with immigrants and asylum seekers and develop their competence in the field of digital entrepreneurship. Trained adult educators will start implementing innovative programmes for target groups of adults (including immigrants and asylum seekers) thus reflecting the needs of labour markets, target groups.
In the next step, we had to elaborate the plan of the project activities.
We believe in the added value of our project. First, we believe that project results will raise the awareness of Baltic countries' adult education organisations and stakeholders in the field of immigrants and asylum seekers integration. We strongly hope that Lithuania together with neighbourhood countries will improve the quality of adult education programmes, develop innovative programmes (as in digital entrepreneurship), will contribute to promoting of collaboration between adult education and business sector, and adjust adult education to the needs of socio-economic context, etc. Second, we believe, that the project will contribute to the improvement of the learning process of adults. The project will promote new teaching-learning models, new didactical approached to competence development, attracting more adult learners from different target groups. The competence approach and new methods of competence development will promote the tacit knowledge of students and graduates on how to start their own business etc. Thus the project would enhance the rates of employability among adults. Third, we implement the vision of adult education institutions as services providing institution in a close cooperation with local business community. Therefore, we develop competences of administrative and education staff in work with community by involving it into mutually beneficial projects etc. Fourth, we seek to make an impact on various groups of adult education stakeholders (adult educators, adult learners, researchers, vocational education, labour market representatives, policy-makers, etc) and people related to education, increasing their entrepreneurship capability to act under new opportunities. Fifth, we promote the intercultural dialogue and understanding among Partners countries, stimulate collaboration and synergetic effect, complex approach to solving of similar problems and special emphasis on quality but not on comparison.
The results of the project will be presented at the Nordplus project database. Moreover, EPALE platform will be widely used for the dissemination purposes. So EPALE community will be well-informed about the project activities. Via EPALE platform the associations of adult educators in partner countries will be switched in the dissemination activities. We hope that the interest with the project will be very great.
Information about the author:
dr. Julija Melnikova
Faculty of Humanities and Education Sciences
EPALE ambassador since 2016