Projects completed 2001-2004

ACP service contract with the EC (2002-2003)

PRESENTATION OF THE ACP SERVICE CONTRACT WITH THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Early February 2002 the Coimbra Group (CG) signed a service contract with the European Commission to carry out a preparatory study for a Higher Education Cooperation Programme between the EU and ACP countries.

The contract had an initial duration of 11 months and aimed to provide the European Commission with a programme proposal in order to implement the Common Framework for Cooperation with Third Countries in the Higher Education sector. Last December (2002) the European Commission granted a contract extension of two and a half months in order for the Coimbra Group to be able to carry out the extra tasks agreed upon in last year’s follow-up meetings. A new two-months’ extension was granted in March 2003 in order to continue the dialogue with the European Commission and to finalize all the tasks.

Regular follow-up meetings were held with the EC during these months.

For the purpose of this contract an Executive Committee was set up. Its members are Prof. Joaquin Carrasco (Salamanca, Chair of the ACP Task Force), Prof. Pierpaolo Faggi (Padova) and Mr. Christian Duqué (Louvain). The Executive Committee together with the ACP Task Force worked closely with the CG Office in Brussels.

A call for experts was launched among the CG universities. The CG Office received 86 applications from 17 Universities. 34 experts carried out 21 field missions in the ACP region, the geographical distribution being as follows: 18 missions in Africa, 2 in the Caribbean and 1 in the Pacific. The ACP Task Force was consulted for these decisions

Missions were carried out mainly in September and October 2002. The visited countries included: Ghana, Sudan, Botswana, Dominican Republic-Haiti, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Barbados, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo-Congo Brazzaville, Senegal-The Gambia, Angola-Mozambique, Zambia, Papua New Guinea-Fiji, Madagascar, Mali, Burkina Faso, Rwanda-Burundi, Tanzania-Malawi, Kenya, Benin-Togo, Cameroon and Gabon.

During the consultations, experts were asked to take into account the general objectives and guidelines of the implementation of the Common Framework: perspectives for co-operation within institutionalised networks; identification of needs and priority fields of intervention. The Terms of Reference for missions were elaborated by the Executive Committee and the CG Office, and they were approved by the ACP Task Force and the European Commission. The main issues to be analysed by the experts were:
- Overall framework of co-operation (education national policy, presentation of the system of higher education, other donors’ programmes in higher education, …);
- Identification of needs in higher education;
- Identification of activities with regard to the Common Framework;
- Management capacity of international university co-operation.

Mission reports were analysed and evaluated by the Executive Committee and the Office. On that basis, the Executive Committee and the Office gathered beginning of December to work on a draft final report and a financing proposal for a future EU-ACP Co-operation Programme in the field of Higher Education. The proposal was finalized and approved by the ACP Task Force in a meeting held in Brussels on December 16.

A first version of the final report was passed on to the European Commission late December 2002. However, the EC continued the dialogue with the executive Committee and the CG Office during the first months of the year. Extra support was offered by expert Prof. Jean-Claude Willame (Louvain) who was on mission to Congo-Kinshasa and Brazzaville and later on invited by the executive Committee to monitor the finalization of the documents.

The ACP Task Force gathered again on the occasion of the General Assembly in Granada (April 23, 2003) where the Executive Committee presented the final programme proposal to the Task Force and had it approved. A final report will be presented to the European Commission on May 15, 2003.

For further information and more details regarding this project: quici[at]coimbra-group.eu

ACP Final Report

ODETTE (2001-2004)

The partnership proposed ODETTE to give a substantial contribution to the training of ICT-literate teachers who are fully prepared to perform the huge task of educating young European citizens to live, work and further develop themselves in a world permeated with ICT applications. Apart from improving their training, use of the outputs of the project also gave the teachers a European dimension in their teaching abilities.

ODETTE aimed first at the development , application and evaluation of a protocol methodology to promote flexible teacher training (primary and secondary levels). Flexible arrangements included seeking efficient ways to train teachers at a distance using ICT, focussing on supervising practice in schools and creating opportunities for trainees to share experiences. The methodology was intended for in-service training and training of prospective teachers.

Second major aim was to establish a central electronic platform, first to facilitate contacts in the project, later for general use in the profession.A third aim was the establishment of a database of relevant information concerning the use of the protocol.

The project developped, tested, improved and made available for all teacher trainers the three tools mentioned above. Dissemination was an important part of the project.

  • Project organisation: Leiden and Coimbra Group office
  • Coordinator: Dr Pieter Vroegop, Interfaculty Center for Teacher Education and Educational Development - ICLON.
    E-mail : vroegop[at]fsw.leidenuniv.nl
  • Project partners: Leiden (coordinator), Leuven, Coimbra Group, Toulouse (Inst Form des Maitres), Poitiers, Padova, Groningen, Joensuu, Turku, Uppsala, Edinburgh, Graz.

SEUSISS (2000-2003)

SEUSISS (Survey of European Universities - ICT Skills for Students & Staff) was a multinational project funded by the EU under the Socrates Programme. The project conducted investigations about the ICT experience, skills, confidences and attitudes of students and academic staff at the participating universities. We also worked with senior management of these universities to ascertain the ICT skills which they expect their first degree-students and other graduates, and hence staff, to have and the strategies (procedures and mechanisms) which they apply to achieve these goals. We worked with the participating universities to devise appropriate skills profiles for graduates in a 5 to 10 years perspective. Major and local employers of the graduate of these universities have also been contacted to ascertain their needs with respect to ICT skills profiles in new recruits of all types and ages and their perception on their changing needs in across a 5-10 year period.

Outcome: The project produced a comparative qualitative and quantitative report on the findings for Rectors and senior staff of Universities. A one-day seminar was held for senior staff to engage them in discussions of the broader applicability of the findings and to aid us in creating a good practice guide to the development of ICT skills strategies for universities.

SPOT PLUS (2001-2003)

SPOT PLUS (Students' Perspective On Technology in Teaching and Learning in European Universities - Participation and Learning of University Students) aimed at exploring, conceptualising and developing university students' perspectives with regard to a targeted use of ICT for educational purposes.

In particular, four issues were be investigated, which represent potential motivations on the students' side and influence the value of higher education to their eyes:

  • ICT as a means to develop a number of "transversal skills", such as social, communication and organisational skills, which are fundamental to live and work in the Information Society. The critical use of ICT integrated with traditional classroom-based lectures would allow students to mature their key competencies and transversal skills, increasing their employability and savoir-être-related skills.
  • ICT as a tool to develop a collaborative approach to learning and to stimulate a more autonomous, learner-centred and democratic way of learning. By increasing the degree of familiarity with technological devices allowing remote communication and distance learning, students are introduced to a complex scenario, in which they are part of a learning community and experience self-managed learning processes.
  • ICT as a tool to reduce barriers of access to higher education for those segments of student population that are less favoured in social, economic, organisational or physical terms.
  • ICT as a tool to add an international component to the study experience of most European students, which prepares, follows and complements the physical mobility of European students across national borders.

The project activities helped to assess the added value brought about by the use of ICT for didactical purposes in terms of collaborative learning methodologies, access for less favoured categories, effective development of students' transversal skills, and enhancement of the outcomes stemming from physical mobility experiences.

cEVU (2001-2003)

The proposal originated from the collaboration of 5 international university networks:

  • EuroPACE
  • EUNITE (European Universities Network for IT in Education)
  • ECIU (European Consortium of Innovative Universiteis)
  • Coimbra Group
  • EUA (European University Association, merger between CRE and Confederation of EU Rectors' Conferences)

One company was involved for services support as well:

  • EPYC, spin off company of EuroPACE, KU Leuven and Gemma Frisius Fund

This project positioned itself in the ongoing evolution in Europe, implementing ICT in education as a strategic issue for future university development. It wanted more precisely to contribute to the development of a EUROPEAN virtual UNIVERSITY (EvU), providing building blocks for extension of the idea of a EvU gateway (Sevilla meeting) into a fully functional collaborative environment.

The networks proposed to collaborate within the following three primary areas of activity:

1. The design of joint working practices, models and policies for distance and online education.
2. The development of teaching and learning services, building of the technical infrastructure for a cEVU.
3. The development for validation of new innovative online environments and materials (pilots).

The main objectives were the development of validated models and ideas for a European virtual university, based on regional and transnational collaboration between existing European universities, as part of their mainstream education in all subjects areas and levels, and founded in the use of innovative online pedagogy.

HECTIC (2000-2001)

The HECTIC project was formulated and presented to the European Commission as an attempt to bridge the gap between EU policies and university strategies.

This explains the title of the project ‘EU Policies and Strategic Change for eLearning in Universities’. We got Commission approval and started working at the end of February 2001 when the project preparation group elaborated the design into a project plan. A group of university rectors or senior academics associated with the rectors would meet together with experts in ICT/ODL in Higher Education, officers of relevant offices of the European Commission and the project group in an intensive two-day workshop (realized 16-18 September 2001) to discuss successively the actual situation with regard to the introduction of ICTs in universities, and how far this has proceeded compared with some years ago; the developments in university tasks and performance which the participants expect to be needed in the coming 5-10 years with respect to the recently established European policy objectives; whether universities would be able to manage such change; and what is lacking to achieve change; the workshop would then be asked how to deal with the challenges defined and how the European Union and National authorities can assist in facilitating universities to respond. These discussions would result in conclusions and recommendations which will be circulated to a wider group of 150-200 university leaders and ICT/ODL experts to check the validity of the work in the small group of some 40 workshop participants. After this check the report will be revised, published and presented to the European Commission and to the European universities.
The workshop concluded that very important work has been done, without and with national or EU support, by many enthusiastic academics in many subject areas, but that most of these results had failed to have a sustainable impact outside their subject areas and on their institutions’ policies.
The conclusion followed that most European universities are still far from having implemented the use of ICTs in their teaching and learning and other main processes, and this certainly if strategic issues like considering the pedagogic opportunities and effects of the use of ICTs are taken into account. These would enable universities to cater for new student populations including adult learners in addition to better serving the usual ones. Strategic decisions include setting of priorities and will need strategy implementation usually of a longer duration than the terms of office of rectors. On the other hand they will position the university in its local, regional, national and international context which fit the strengths and values of the university: in its market niche.
The workshop also concluded that expectations of national and EU politicians and the capabilities to respond of the universities are still far apart. Universities are accused of not wanting to respond while in reality the situation is much more complex. A permanent dialogue with real commitment from both sides, between political authorities and university leaders resulting in the identification of the real obstacles and finding ways to take them away would be needed to arrive at the situation that all actors aspire: a European Higher Education fully capable to educate and train all in need of such education, inside and from outside Europe, in open competition with market players from USA, Australia, etc, but loyal to the practices, norms and values that have made European universities unique.

Coordinator: Coimbra Group: knudsen[at]coimbra-group.eu ; J.haywood[at]ed.ac.uk ; P.Floor[at]BB.Leidenuniv.nl

LABORIENT (2002-2003)

LABORIENT, GUIDANCE AND LIFELONG LEARNING COLLABORATION NETWORK was one of the 6 project approved in the frame of the first call for proposals of the Joint Actions of the SOCRATES, LEONARDO DA VINCI and YOUTH Programmes in 2001

LABORIENT aimed at developing a virtual collaborative learning platform among Guidance and advising professionals, policy makers and to a further extent users aiming at defining a new Lifelong Guidance concept with the regional level as the focus and establishing a common knowledge ground to support policy orientation, definition, implementation and evaluation at regional and local level and the respective integration of action.

OBJECTIVES
Thus, the "LABORIENT" project “Guidance and Lifelong Learning Collaboration Network ” aimed at developing a virtual collaborative lifelong guidance platform among guidance and advising professionals, policy makers and users aiming at defining a new Lifelong Learning Guidance model and the respective integration of strategies with the regional level as the focus and establishing a common knowledge ground to support policy orientation, definition, implementation and evaluation at regional and local level and the respective integration of action.

PARTNERSHIP
The project builded on existing Regional Administrations’, City Administrations’ and Universities’ primary networks which intended to explore, in a cross-sectoral multi-actor approach, the value added that lifelong learning & new technologies may bring, when systematically and creatively used, to the organisation and delivery of Career Information and Guidance services, as well as to the development of a European professional culture among guidance workers.

TRENDS

1. Individual Careers services aggregated under a common brand or service delivery
2. Moving from a general service to a tailored service to meet client needs
3. Increasing guidance delivery to meet lifelong learning requirements
4. Empowering clients to meet their guidance needs themselves
5. Expanding the horizons of guidance professionals from specialised to multiple competencies
6. Ensuring continuous developments for guidance professionals
7. Expanding labour market information services international, national, regional and local Labour Market Information
8. Implementing quality frameworks for service delivery

COORDINATOR: Scienter España (contact person Begoña Arenas: barenas[at]scienter.es)

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