Ilfov County School Inspectorate pays increased attention to educational projects with European funding, for improving the quality of educational services and strengthening the European dimension in education. European projects also play an important role in optimization language learning and transnational cooperation between schools, promoting intercultural awareness and innovation in educational leadership, pedagogical methods and information techniques.
EDUCATION AND SKILLS THROUGH INTERNSHIPS
The Ilfov County School Inspectorate implemented five projects with European funding between 2019 and December 2023, on Priority Axis 6 – Education and Skills. Two of them (“PROFESIONIST – Practice for a successful career” SMIS Code: 132827 and “STAGIAR 2020 – Transdisciplinary internships dedicated to students” SMIS Code: 132828) were implemented in the period August 2020 – November 2022 and aimed to increase participation in workplace learning programs for secondary and non-university tertiary education students and apprentices, focusing on economic sectors with competitive potential through internships for students. The target group was represented by students from 5 technological education high-schools in Ilfov county, from the communities of Brănești, Buftea and Dragomirești-Vale, which come from less developed regions, specifically from neighboring counties, but who have been enrolled in schools in Ilfov county.
EDUCATION THROUGH THE SECOND CHANCE PROGRAMME
Through three other European-funded projects (“Education, a continuous chance” – ID: 133158, “Back to school” – ID: 136044 and “A second chance for education” – ID 136066) ending this month, the Ilfov County School Inspectorate has provided the Second Chance program in 18 educational schools in 15 Ilfov localities, ensuring access to over 1000 beneficiaries in the county. Thus, the following beneficiaries were selected:
- early school leavers aged 12-16 years old who are at least four years older than the age of the unfinished class
- employed young people aged 16-24 who have not completed compulsory education
- adults aged 25-64 who have not completed compulsory education
Support for returning to school and completing courses through the Second Chance program for young people or adults who have dropped out of school also consisted of grants (up to 1,500 lei/level of study completed), material support (school supplies, hygiene and sanitation packages) and lifelong career guidance and counselling services.
The target group also included more than 400 pre-university staff (teachers and assistant teachers) who benefited from in-service training programs in the areas of dropout prevention, ADS – career counselling and guidance, and trainer/training instructor.
NON-FORMAL OUTDOOR EDUCATION
Another project of the inspectorate to be completed in December 2023 is “PRO INGENIO-Educational practices and interactive learning to stimulate students’ thinking”, SMIS Code 154259, Component 1: Nonformal education in outdoor system. The project aimed developing outdoor non-formal education in the schools of Dascălu and Crețești-Vidra, both in terms of activities with students and teacher training. The aim of the project was to identify the needs of pupils for a better adaptation of the learning process, to accelerate the inclusion process of the people targeted by the specific activities, and to increase the quality of life through education. In this way, pupils belonging to vulnerable groups developed complex competences, attitudes, skills and abilities. Teachers have also improved their skills to promote quality educational services geared to the needs of pupils and an inclusive school.
The main areas of intervention through the project were:
development of an integrated outdoor non-formal education hub and integrated prevention measures to improve and increase pupil participation in primary and secondary education
training of the teaching staff of the two schools through the “Specialized professional development program in the field of organization and delivery of outdoor non-formal education for teaching and support staff in pre-university education”
implementation of the “Innovative program of outdoor non-formal education” involving 350 children from the two partner schools in the project who are at risk of leaving school early. The children enrolled in the project benefited, through the innovative program, from educational activities oriented towards the development of vocational skills through workshops and thematic circles, socio-educational activities of cognitive development, logical skills, language and reasoning skills, along with outdoor group educational activities with a role in the development of team spirit, communication, civic spirit and community relations.
ISJ ILFOV – DOUBLE ERASMUS ACCREDITED INSTITUTION
Ilfov County School Inspectorate is implementing two Erasmus accreditation projects in the fields of School Education (2021-2027) and VET (2022 – 2027).
Accreditation 2020-1-RO01-KA120-SCH-095531 in the field of School Education facilitates the organization and implementation of a consortium of 16 primary and secondary schools, with the aim of empowering teachers with innovative teaching methods and strengthening the capacity of school management in Ilfov County to engage in Erasmus mobilities and implement high quality European partnerships. The project also aims to improve communication skills in a foreign language and intercultural dialogue by students and teachers in participating schools. In the first two years of implementation, 58 European mobilities were carried out in Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, Czech Republic and Greece, consisting of teachers and principals participating in training courses in the fields:
- 21st century pedagogy
- classroom management solutions for teachers: new methodologies, effective motivation, cooperation and evaluation strategies
- integrating creativity and innovation in teaching
- teaching languages and foreign cultures
- digital tools for mathematics, with a focus on Geogebra and LaTex
- European partnerships, leadership and management for school headteachers
The 58 external learning mobilities were the benchmarks for the organization of dissemination and transfer activities within the pedagogical meetings at county level, but also at the level of each school, part of the accreditation consortium. The testimonies of the participating teachers indicate a high degree of satisfaction with the learning experience, the trainers and the course curricula, but also with the cultural experience, an important aspect targeted by the Erasmus projects.
The Erasmus accreditation project Vocational Training – VET, 2021-1-RO01-KA120-VET-000047829 is managed by a consortium coordinated by ISJ Ilfov in partnership with 8 high schools from Ilfov county. The main objective of the project is to increase the attractiveness of VET education and to create a competitive VET network for vocational training, to which VET teachers, principals and economic agents contribute. Therefore, the development of VET teachers’ teaching skills through participation in training courses and job-shadowing activities was envisaged. In the first year of implementation, 29 external mobilities were organized, of which 21 were job shadowing activities in Spain and Greece for specialists in the fields of services, mechanics and forestry. Eight teachers participated in the courses “New trends in Urban Greening” and “Virtual reality in education” in Denmark and Greece respectively.
The learning experiences were fully appreciated by the mobility participants and were subsequently used in practical-applied activities, enhancing the quality of the high school-economic- agents partnership.
The results of the first year of the project implementation have been the use of new approaches in the teaching of VET subjects and the organization of internships for students in line with European standards. Further work will be done to make the internship partnerships between high schools and economic agents more effective and to propose new and attractive curricula, to be decided by the high schools.
An important aspect in the implementation of Erasmus accreditation projects is the focus on Erasmus standards: inclusion and diversity, sustainability, digitization and active participation in the network of Erasmus organizations. These values have been benchmarks for an integrated approach to both education in general and vocational and technical education, enhancing the quality of in-service teacher training and student performance.
Overall, the educational projects with European funding implemented by ISJ Ilfov have contributed to the promotion of educational leadership adapted to the challenges of today’s society in the European context and to the use of inclusive and innovative practices for preventing/reducing early school leaving and increasing students’ school participation. It also highlighted the increased attractiveness, quality and relevance of vocational and technical education in Ilfov County. All this has been achieved as a result of the development of an effective policy in the field of continuous training of human resources, oriented towards impact areas and the challenges of the changing European society.
Phd. Cristina PETRE-GHIȚĂ,
Deputy General School Inspector
Phd. Daniela BARBU,
School inspector for educational projects