Young Europeans Learning about Politics (YELP)

YELP (coordenado pela Bélgica):

 

YELP - Young Europeans Learning about Politics

 

YELP is a project for innovation and cross-fertilisation and spread of EU content aimed to promote discussion and reflection on EU issues and to enhance knowledge about the EU and its processes in a way to achieve active European citizenship among students.

Voter turnout in Europe is declining; membership in political parties is shrinking. Young people would rather spend their energies elsewhere. According to the research on perceptions and behaviours of young people on political participation and EU citizenship published by the EACEA, and a study of Eurostat and a questionnaire in our own schools, there is a real need for YELP. The May 2014 EU election saw the lowest voter turnout on record. There is a lack of interest in political and social life, and there is incapacity of youngsters to define their own political views. The reason for youth for not joining political life is the existence of potential barriers to participation. This is the result of the negative image of the world which is constantly being created by the media and eventually leads to passivity in political life. The aim of this project is to prevent this situation by providing young people with the necessary knowledge, skills and competences. We will not only provide our own students with this knowledge, skills and competences; but we want to create learning resources and tools that can be used by all European youngsters. We want to contribute by adapting young people and by encouraging them to play a crucial role in the development of organisations and society. We want to create the need in the young people to be and act in a significant manner and to have a forward thinking influence on shaping the political community.

The Teaching and Learning Survey (Talis 2013) shows there is a need of high quality and well-trained teachers because they have an important influence on ensuring that learners develop the skills and competences by a rapidly changing global labour market.  A SWOT-analyse in all partner schools exposed some insufficiency in staff. Therefore Yelp will invest in teacher training. Teachers will be trained to improve their knowledge and skills and become experts for further dissemination of the Yelp-ideas. Knowledge exchange between partners will generate new insight ideas and integrates existing tacit knowledge. Yelp is aimed at strengthening the professional profile of the teaching personnel and the school policy.

Thanks to the organisation of Yelp-activities all four partner schools will enforce the relationship with parents, the local community and business companies. Yelp can be seen as a ‘community connector’. This partnership in which both the school and the community contribute directly to the strengthening and development of each other can provide a firm foundation for both educational renewal AND community regeneration. Yelp can also be seen as a ‘parent connector’. When schools, teachers and parents work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer and like school more. And Yelp can also be seen as a ‘business connector’. The school world and the world of work represent very different perspectives and ways of thinking: In the school world focus is on curricula and the content of formal educational programmes whereas the world of work focuses on the requirements of production and recruitment. In order to bridge these different perspectives a good cooperation between the school world and the world of work is necessary.

In recent years employers are increasingly looking for people who have obtained not only academic qualifications but who can also demonstrate that they have a wider range of practical skills that cannot all be learned in formal education. These ‘soft skills’ cannot easily be ‘taught’ in formal education because they are learned through ‘hands-on’ practical experience and thus are much more effectively gained in non-formal environments. Yelp is a very important provider of non-formal education to acquire young people with a wide range of skills to participate in society.

Each EU country is responsible for its own education and training systems, but the EU supports them to set joint goals and share good practice. Yelp is a project of sharing good practices (Inclusion, Clil, good working parent council, …) and setting joint goals.

Yelp can help to prepare European youngsters for challenges and opportunities of a changing world thanks to the approach of inclusive (an entitlement for all young people regardless of their ability or background), pervasive (not limited to schools but the whole community) and lifelong education (continuing throughout life).

Yelp is a concrete, ambitious but realistic project designed on the needs of all partner schools to empower European youth and teachers.  The aims of this project cannot be achieved on national level.