Young europeans demands another kind of education
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A major consultation exercise developed by the European Commission, titled "A new impetus for European youth", deals with key concepts for future e-learning among young people aged from 15 to 25, such as mobility, intercultural exchanges and citizenship.
The European Comission White Paper on Youth offers a highly interesting perspective on what youth expect from education, and how ICT and e-learning should be adressed in Europe in next years.
As the Report told, in many countries the performance of education structures was severely criticised by young people. They were regarded as unable to provide enough content relevant to young people’s needs and interests. Consequently, education should not be limited to the skills on which the labour market is focused. Education contributes, from an early age, to the socialisation, integration and empowerment of individuals. Young people demand foreign language teaching, preparation for the educational exchanges and mobility programmes run by the European Union; they are interested in many other fields such as modern information and communication technologies, particularly Internet access, and they ask for a stronger emphasis on practical subjects.
Young people also wants another teacher-student relationship, more based on a learner-centered approach. So, learning processes in Europe should be organised as “door openers” that enhance the motivation to learn and lead to a range of further options. Schools should facilitate pupils’ involvement in shaping their own education and offer scope and encouragement for participation and democracy. Furthermore a "blended" (correctly mixed) education should be provided, offering a wide range of methods and material for acquiring the essential skills and tools for life-long learning. Using the Internet and multimedia, alongside theoretical classroom methods and studying at home, as well as youth activities, practical experience and work, will all be necessary.
Among other conclusions, the Report points that Internet access in all schools must be accompanied by better methods for disseminating information with a view to creating effective tools for learning. And, secondly, teacher education should go beyond conventional information technology skills towards "critical technological literacy".
Helping young people in these kind of challenges, YOUTH programme (2000-2006) aim to offer young people the chance to take part in informal educational activities (i.e. exchanges, the promotion of youth initiatives, or voluntary service projects) with a view to gaining formative experience that will help further their social and vocational integration.