Inter Alia’s Strategy for Education
Inter Alia perceives education as the space that includes all kinds of learning, methods and systems of providing as well as the process of acquisition of knowledge, skills and information, together with values, beliefs and habits.
On December 14, 1960 UNESCO adopted the Convention against Discrimination in Education. This was the first legally binding international instrument entirely dedicated to the right to education as a fundamental human right. While the Convention is formally endorsed and celebrated by all UN member states, the way it is operationalised is problematic in most cases. With a few exceptions, education systems fail to create a level playing field for participation and enable learners in putting acquired learnings to the benefit of themselves and their communities. Besides, the bulk of formal education curricula also reflects the prevalence of the nation-state, as a dominant narrative and political praxis, along with the vices it entails for the openness and inclusiveness of the learning process.
Education is a unique experience that can both liberate and oppress. In order to advance towards Inter Alia’s mission for an inclusive and assertive European civil society, education is positioned strategically among our vision and actions. We firmly believe that how a “good citizen” should look like, is the extension of what a good student is – critical, resilient, bold, cooperative, empathetic.
Inter Alia’s strategy for education aims to enable the learner to put in practice all the previously acquired knowledge, through the formal education system, in a non-formal way, or informally in line with her needs and aspirations. We aim at creating hubs of learning where a continuous two-way process takes place; one that offers participants new learnings and another one enabling reflection and improvements in education provision. We aim at supporting personal educational advancements and processes, through the design of a system that is flexible enough to respond to changes, to embrace cultures and to take into account recent multidisciplinary achievements for the productive transmission of knowledge.
Inter Alia’s strategy for education is based on the following principles:
Inclusion is about working WITH and learning FROM the diversity of learners, as every small or bigger failure to apply inclusivity, only perpetuates and reinforces the existing system of unequal access to education. As the education systems across the world fail to fully involve a number of marginalised groups and individuals, Inter Alia aspires to respond to the needs of the least empowered first; through tailor-based programs and diversified topics.
Inclusivity also refers to the parties engaged in the learning process. We believe that to reach the full potentials of an educational venture and ground it into a social context, it is essential that all interested parties (e.g. learners, educators, policy makers, parents, employers) are invited, informed and included in the design, decision making and implementation.
Innovation can be an important driver of progress and well-being. At Inter Alia we see particular value in the coexistence of innovation with the principles of sustainability and democracy within the educational system. In this way, both educators and learners are able to position themselves confidently and fruitfully towards uncertainties of the modern world and adapt to changing needs of learners, on the one hand, and to changing conditions for education providers, on the other. Our approach nurtures learners’ and educators’ skills for innovation while fostering reflection on ethical, social and political aspects and externalities of innovation.
We aim to offer programs that cover for the existing gaps between the skills and attitudes developed by the formal education system and those required for a sustainable society and labour market. The application of non-formal education with focus on the development of soft and transversal skills (communication, creative thinking, teamwork, self-motivation, risk-assesment, conflict resolution) are both an aim and a tool due to the openness of the method and the richness of its potential. In addition, through this approach we aspire to accommodate different learning attitudes and non-conforming behaviours (based on the formal education experience).
Educational opportunities offered by Inter Alia result from learning need analysis and are designed to adapt to change and diverse circumstances. In building and implementing its educational programmes, Inter Alia collaborates with various actors at different levels such as schools, universities, organisations and educational authorities. Through this process, along with different research activities, we aim to understand the needs of participants and offer educational opportunities that are relevant and useful for them. At the same time, activities are designed to foster reflection and be open to adjustment according to the learning environment and its dynamics.
Although the educational needs of the learners are very specific, and differ from one system or community to the other, IA’s international outreach and involvement contributes to the geographical inclusion of experiences and good practices, as well as access to potential users. In that regard, we aim to continue the process of exchange across countries, continents and cultures, thus creating an additional value to already existing methods and practices.
How to meet the objectives of the strategy:
- To use an intersectional approach in the design of training programmes
- To promote new and innovative methods of non-formal learning within the formal education system via the involvement of teachers and other stakeholders from the formal education in IA’s training programmes.
- To approach, involve actively and connect education institutions, and other education providers, together with (potential) learners in order to set the common ground.
- To focus on the development of civic education programmes where experience is valued as the main provider of educative practices coupled with exploration, experimentation, and community development, resulting in the acquisition of life skills.