EU Study Visit: Greece 2013

13 06 2013

During April this year I had the opportunity to participate in a Transversal Study Visit that was held in Corinth, Greece. Various organisations are involved in delivering these opportunities including CEDEFOP (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) and the UK National Agency, Ecorys. Study visits are part of an EU Lifelong Learning Programme, and are designed to allow education specialists and decision makers from different EU countries to come together to discuss a particular topic and share good practice.
I participated in a week long study visit entitled “Raising awareness of protection of the environment” which was part of the greater theme “Education for active citizenship and sustainable development”. 13 people from across the EU were invited to the event, which was aimed at sharing and generating ideas to encourage people of all ages to adopt a more positive attitude towards the environment and develop a sustainable ethos. P1220610
To begin the week, all participants presented themselves to the group and gave examples of how they are trying to raise awareness of protection of the environment within their organisations. It was pleasing to see the similar approaches being taken by different countries as well as learning about some new innovative techniques. During the week we visited 6 schools in the surrounding area to learn about the practices they had put in places, including initiatives such as Eco Schools.P1230265
Deni Papadopoulou (our host) had arranged a very interesting programme for us as we were able to visit schools in both poor and rich areas, as well as see age groups ranging from pre-school to college. This gave us a good introduction to the Greek education system and allowed us to see the differing problems experienced when trying to promote protection for the environment. Each school was incredibly welcoming and eager to show us their “green initiatives”. Students performed plays and gave presentations detailing their achievements as well as their aspirations for the future. Examples of current projects included having eco gardens to grow food, testing the water quality to pressurise the local government into improving it, making recycled projects to sell, running events in conjunction with the local community and going outside for at least one lesson every week.
We also had the opportunity to participate in cultural visits to places like the archaeological sites in Ancient Corinth, Epidaurus and the spectacular old Monastery of St George situated by Doxa lake.P1230390 P1230199This allowed us to learn more about Greek culture and its effects upon education, as well as giving us time to reflect on what we had seen at the schools and discuss our study topic.
At the end of the week we had a big discussion tying together everything we had learned and wrote a report highlighting some of the good practices discussed as well as looking at problems and ideas for solutions, exerts of which will be published on the CEDEFOP website.
Overall this was an amazing experience and I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone! Visit http://studyvisits.cedefop.europa.eu/ for more information about visits.
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