The 2nd partner meeting took place in Munich, from 9th to 10th October 2017. The event was hosted by the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (Germany).
The partner organisations discussed VNIL (validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes) in Higher Education from different ankles, such as with regard to its meaning for
The overall question was how VNIL is changing the learning, teaching and organisational culture in Higher Education.
Moreover, the partners during the meeting developed a common approach for conducting case studies in all participating countries. The case studies are expected to deliver important insights into migrants' and refugees' experience with VNIL, as part of their integration in the welcoming country. The interviews will be conducted with students and VNIL practitioners as well. After completion, the cases will by analysed with a view to identify common succesful or challenging aspects of the cases. Following this, an open call for case studies will be published.
Last but not least the partnership over the past months has elaborated guidelines for HE staff, to help those professionals supporting newcomers and refugees in accessing Higher Education. Key issues were: What do newcomers and refugees normally ask? Which are their worries? And if they ask questions, what answers do they receive? In summary, the guidelines are meant to help HE staff to understand which are the questions of newcomers and what to answer when those questions are asked.
The number of refugees and new migrants who reach Europe, escaping from wars or critical life conditions and looking for new life opportunities, has increased dramatically in recent years and is likely to continue growing in the coming years. These newcomers face many challenges in settling into Europe and among these are the obstacles to accessing the labour market or continuing their studies.
Migrants and refugees are in practice often prevented from enjoying their rights by many legal and practical barriers. This also represents an obstacle to their integration in hosting societies. One of the main challenges newcomers and refugees face is that, although they are often educated and skilled, their competences may not be recognised in the host society. There are many reasons for this: their skills and knowledge may not fit into predefined bureaucratic policies and procedures; documentation is lacking; or the curriculum they followed does not match certification structures in the host country. This hinders their access to the labour force and to continuing their studies, jeopardises their chances of fully integrating in the new society as citizens, and represents a source of discrimination and social marginalisation. The main purpose of the VINCE project is to adapt existing proven methods to include disadvantaged people in higher education (HE), so that they meet the needs of the newcomers.
An efficient assessment of migrants' and refugees' prior learning can be critical in enabling them to access the labour market and/or continue their educational studies and improve their qualifications. Recognising and validating the skills and competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning supports the social inclusion and empowerment of migrants, who often have limited opportunities to access formal education. The process of validation of non-formal and informal learning helps to bridge educational inequalities, and offers further pathways for the development of the skills needed in life and in the labour market. Furthermore, by being given the chance to describe their educational and employment experiences and supported in a reflection and analysis of their prior learning, they will be enabled to begin to establish links between that and future opportunities for in education and work, bridging the gap between past and future.
The XPLOIT project was created to enhance the exploitation of the many European learning projects. Most of them are producing excellent materials and resources which are vanishing after the end of the funding period. The question was (and still is) why and the mission was to find a systematic practice in supporting new infrastructures in the local communities to make use and adopt those many resources.
One of the main findings of the project was that every community has to find its own way of using outcomes or European projects based on the local needs, capacities and stategic perspectives. It is very important to identify the key drivers in a learning community, the challenges they have to deal with and the capacities of the community in place. This finding is building a strong bridge to the DISCUSS-project because it points at CoPs bringing together experts working within the EU-projects who can adopt the findings and materials produced theit to local needs from an abstract and theoretical point of view and local experts who are able to define and express the needs of a community and its capacities.
The focus of the project is the question whether it is possible to adapt successful mechanisms of open innovation to open organizations. In open organizations people from outside the organization are not asked for cooperation because of their individual knowledge but are integrated as a person with all the competences they have. To do so it is not only important to have open organizations. You also need open persons. It is important to know a lot about the competences needed in one organization and the competences that are offered by an individual. And it is important for managers to be open, act as an open person and to act in an open organization. The competences they need for this shall be trained by a serious game application.