Europe invests a lot of money in international lifelong learning programs, such as Comenius and Erasmus+, which are very useful and popular among teachers and students. Is there something we can do to make these programs even more efficient?
In July, we concluded our Comenius project ‘Mankind in Motion - Challenges and Opportunities’ that united five schools from Austria, France, Germany, Latvia and Sweden in an attempt to investigate migration issues in Europe. In two years’ time, our students made a lot of research, conducted interviews, analyzed statistics, met with refugees and got acquainted with volunteer work. It was a great project and we all felt that we did a great job.
At the same time, thinking about possible future projects, I would like to achieve more applicable to real life results. There is a new Web site - European Shared Treasure - created for project result dissemination, an absolutely necessary thing, but this is a so-called after-project work. What we also need in the future is pre-project work site that will allow teachers and students to research the real needs of existing enterprises, institutions and particular groups of people before writing a project.
Why not create a database, where state institutions and private companies could place questions that need deeper research and pose problems that need solutions. In such a way teachers and students will get practical experience, and companies will get a lot of volunteers and fresh ideas.
European society will get a better return on money invested in such projects. If we had such a database, our students would also get a lot of ideas for research papers and their findings would have real-life application. In fact, students can do a lot more than we usually expect from them.