At the beginning of the week I had the chance to be a participant of the Symposium on recognition of youth work and non-formal learning, organised by the EU – CoE youth partnership.

The symposium gathered almost 100 participants: experts on youth work from youth organisations, researchers, representatives of the European Commission and the Council of Europe, SALTO Resource Centres and National Agencies, European Youth Forum, national governments, social partners and UN agencies (ILO, UNESCO).

We were there for establishing a common ground for a medium and long-term coordinated strategy toward recognition of youth work and non-formal learning in Europe. In other words, “for kicking – off” a process like the Bologna process, that would help youth work and its outcomes become visible and valued by higher education, employers and society, in general.

Monday morning we started with presentations about existing instruments and tools for recognition (Youthpass, Youth worker portfolio, European skills passport) and with a fair of the present youth NGOs. This is where I started talking about the innovative education model that CROS has been developing in the past 3 years.

You can see below one of the documents that synthesize our work and explains the model (vision, mission, values and strategy).

The official start of the symposium followed with speeches from the EU Ambassador to the Council of Europe(CoE), the Head of Youth Department of the CoE and the President of the European Youth Forum. They all referred to the policy paper Pathways 2.0 towards recognition of non-formal learning/education and of youth work in Europe and stated the importance of having recognition on four levels:

  • formal (a form of validation of learning outcomes and certification)
  • political (recognition in legislation and involvement of NFL providers in political strategies)
  • social (recognition of the value of the competences acquired through non-formal learning)
  • self-recognition (every beneficiary should be able to assess his/her competences)

The next session of the program was called Viii! – A very important inspiring input! and it had also three speeches:

  • Tatev Margaryan – on writing the history of non-formal education(NFE) in Armenia and on how NFE changed her life and the life of her family
  • Gabi Solomon – on how my first international experience changed my life and on how CROS educational model is about living a happy life – the life you choose for yourself
  • Tarek Amraoui – on the life of a ethnic Moroccan in France and on how hatred can be positively channeled through NFL and NFE

After this I received a lot of feedback about the model, about what we do and about how our work can be an inspiration:

I was happy during your presentation. I wanted to be part of the pictures you showed! freelance consultant and trainer

I saw you presenting the model (having the student in the center) and I immediately saw my teacher. For him, learning was holistic, there was much more to learning than grades and exams. trainer at Ejsberg Youth School, Denmark

I want to apply your model on what we’re doing and see how it works in a different context. I have another metaphor for education and what we do. I see the learner as a butterfly and I see us – the providers, as gardens. We have to be green enough, colourful enough, we have to provide nectar (learning) suitable for the buterfly. teacher, University College Syddanmark, Denmark

The next two days were dedicated to 8 working groups and I belonged to workgroup 7 – “Involve stakeholders of the employment sector”. Our experience from CROS proved to be valuable to the group and we talked about how we can “translate” what we already do into a language that is familiar to employers and HR directors. Of course, the purpose of learning is not only employability, but our students should be also attractive on the competences market.

For me, the conclusions of the symposium were marvelous. They were presented by our general rapporteur, in the therms of Stephen Downes – “10 things we really need to learn”:

    1. Predict consequences
    2. How to read – how to approach the flood of information
    3. Distinguish between truth and fiction
    4. Empathise – the ability of understanding others
    5. Be creative – find solutions
    6. Communicate clearly and get your message across
    7. Learning to learn
    8. Staying healthy
    9. Value yourself
    10. Live meaningfully

The statement that will be produced with our input by the expert committee will reflect all this and much more; it will be the start on recognition of youth work and non-formal learning, from a strategic point of view.

CROS model is clearly linked with at least five of these conclusions and has a lot of indirect links with the other five. This event, the event Vlad attended in London and all the feedback we received clearly shows the social recognition of the CROS educational model and the path we need to take towards political and formal recognition. We’re getting there… !

Many thanks to Marta, Gisele and Ruxandra for making it possible for me to attend! Many smiles and hugs to the wonderful people I met there!

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Vio says:

    Gabi, this is great news! 🙂
    Also like the butterfly metaphor of the Danish fellow 😉

  • Gabi says:

    Thank you, Vio! 🙂 It is indeed very good news. The strategy for recognising non-formal learning is linked to the European Agenda on Education 2020… and that means it will take a while… but we are on the right track.

Leave a Reply