The ESLplus project is implemented in the framework of the EC proposal "Key Action 3: Support for policy reform - Prospective initiatives, European Forward-Looking Cooperation Projects in the fields of education and training, and youth" (EACEA/33/2014) under the Erasmus+ Programme which target is to support innovation in practices and policies across educational and youth sectors.
Title of the project:
European ESL-Platform and Support Services (ESLPLUS)
Duration of the project: 01 January 2016 - 31 October 2018
Total budget for the project: 666.169 EUR
Aims and activities
Early school leaving has been recognised as a pressing concern all across Europe for many years. The need for professionalizing the prevention of early school leaving (ESL) and early leaving from education and training (ELET) is heavily felt in every country in Europe. The EU has recognized the urgency of the situation. The outputs of this project contribute to EU policies that are to enable students to complete their secondary studies successfully.
The ESLplus project aims to reduce disparities in learning outcomes affecting learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, that is why we planned to systematically collect, analyse along standard criteria and to share knowledge, practices, and applications related to the topic of reducing early school leaving at a European level.
The intention was to develop a European Learning Space which offers high-quality content and expertise accumulated mainly at local and institutional levels. In the first year, a needs analysis was carried out for identifying the real needs of different target groups, besides we made contact with experts from all around in Europe.
Two main goals of the project are:
- To pool knowledge and experience with a user-friendly online portal (ESLplus Portal) for knowledge sharing what will enable policy makers, educational institutions, school leaders, teachers and parents to identify and reduce early school leaving in their surroundings. The ESLplus Portal is a European Learning Space on ESL, a dynamic, interactive and fresh designed portal, in line with the latest trends for maximizing the user’s experience. The published professional materials as well as the provided services (a structured good practice repository, ESL Library and Glossary with professional background materials, interactive statistics showing countries’ ESL related situation, network space including webinars, training courses, and personal stories of students and teachers) are linked by an open tag-system that makes the portal user-friendly and easy-researchable.
- To found a Europe wide network called the Alliance for Dropout Prevention in Europe (ADPE) by inviting practitioners, experts, relevant institutions, and professionals at policy and practical levels. ADPE is a professional community of teacher educators, school workers, service providers in close connection and collaboration with other experts and networks at both national and international levels.
The methodology was to start by a needs analysis of potential end users of the portal and other stakeholders and to build the development on the results of the needs analysis. The needs analysis was elaborated by project partners who all have a close connection with practitioners or decision and policy-makers in the field of education. The focus of needs analysis was on identifying the portal’s main target group and revealing their real needs and demands before collecting, selecting and developing the portal’s content.
One of the main parts of the portal is the above mentioned good practice repository that provides help mainly for frontline practitioners shared by their international colleagues. A standardized form of good practices has been developed; the aim was to create a form that helps good practice uploaders publishing their practice in a way that means real help for end users. The mentioned tag-system was developed too, the process was based on a profound literature review.
In case of ADPE, a network building has been started by direct mails and by a survey among the interested future members and ESL experts.
The primal outcome of the project is that as ESL is a complex problem only complex help, structured information and cross-sectoral cooperation can be effective if we would help actors in need. Both main outputs, the portal, and the association serve it with each their elements.
As next steps partners have started working on designing and gathering professional content for the portal what is based mainly on the results of the needs analysis and the literature review. Partners continue this work and invite contributors from all European countries as well as encourage experts and practitioners for joining the Alliance for Dropout Prevention.
There are three main outputs:
- The ESLplus Portal, a 4-language interactive learning space where the users have a lot of possibilities to improve their ESL-related knowledge. The 4-word slogan comes from the project acronym, in line with the offered opportunities (PLAY with the statistics module and the policy learning game; LEARN from others' good practices and stories; USE and adapt the newly learned knowledge; SHARE own ideas, experiences, cases).
- INCLUDER mobile application, a policy learning game, which helps to understand the different reasons and the complex issue of ESL. It widens the decision-makers’ knowledge and sensitivity towards the risk of ESL with the help of gamification.
- Alliance against Dropout Prevention Europe, an international community in which the members can exchange their experiences and visions, and where new ideas are born. Joining ADPE is free, our slogan is: “Together we can make a difference”.
The most important outcome of the project is the realization that however, ESL is a common issue in Europe, the reasons and the necessary interventions have to be different according to contextual factors. Only providing structured and targeted information and continuous support for local actors can be effective. The ESLplus partnership believes that the results contribute to the European policy goals and wide range of dissemination activities and the involved professional partners (Sch.Ed.Gw, CEDEFOP, E2C…) deeply embedded in the European policy space, guarantee the utilization of the 3-year long work.