Tungumál: Lykill að háskólanámi
Erindi flutt á málþingi í tilefni Evrópska tungumáladagsins, 3. nóvember 2005
Björn Þorsteinsson, doktor í heimspeki og stundakennari við Háskóla Íslands
1. The participants and their orgainzations
a) Björn Vilhjálmsson, project manager in Hitt Húsið, is the main beneficiary of the ICE-STAFF exchange and placement project. He supervises LANDKÖNNUÐUR- STARFSNÁM HINS HÚSSINS, a vocational training project for young unemployed people (18-25 years of age) living in the municipality of Reykjavík. Hitt Húsið is the only cultural- and information centre in Iceland, especially directed at young people (16-25 years) and centre of unemployment projects for young people in Iceland.
Youth unemployment in Icland became a very visible problem in the early nineties when the economy was in a slump, and Hitt Húsið (HH) became involved in developing projects for young unemployed people. After a period of research and experiments with different kinds of courses, seminars and training possibilities, these experiences were in 1995 extracted into the project "Landkönnuður" (Explorer), a 6 month educational- and job-training project that has had the very reasonble success rate of 65-70 %, i.e. 7 out of 10 have either found a vocation and/or went back to school to continue or restart their studies.
b) Mike Bell is project manager at PROJEKT RABARBERLANDET, a local socialproject operating in "inner Nørrebro", a district in the centre of Copenhagen. The area has a high proportion of immigrants, unemployment and other social problems, like criminality and drug consumption. The project "Rabarberlandet" has had very good success and received a lot of praise for activating the local population (especially the young) in projects aimed at vocational training, bettering the local environment and to develope the participants´ responsibility for their local surroundings and of their own lives.
c) YEN (Youth Express Network), is a European network of social-workers with the aim of furthering the techniques and models of working against marginalization and social exclusion of young people, i.e. working for social integration. The "Social Integration" seminar i Bucarest offered an opportunity to meet and communicate with people working in the youth field in various countries of Europe, and to gain from them ideas and working methods, that may be of help in developing good training projects in Iceland, as well as contacts that can partner in international projects.
2.Goals of the study visit – training.
The main goal of the staff-exchange was to visit and to get a working knowledge of the structure of "project Rabarberlandet", the working methods and the paedagogic theory that is the basis of their work.
A secondary goal was the "social integration" seminar in Bucarest as a means to make new contacts and to gain insight into other theories of working with and making projects for young people at risk due to unemployment and other forms of marginalization.
3. The agenda.
The staff exchange took place in the period of 6. – 19. March 1999. I was in Copenhagen between 6-9th of March, then flew to Romania on the 10th – 15th and then stayed in Copenhagen again, from the 15th to the 19th , on which I left for Iceland with the evening flight. The program was as follows:
8-9th march Stayed at the main office of Rabarberlandet, meeting different project leaders and being introduced to the structure of the organization. Hours; 09.00-16.00.
10-13th march Social integration – seminar. Working with the theme of the seminar during those three days from 09.00 – 19.00, through lectures, work-groups and plenary discussions.
15th march Arrival from Romania and visit to project GADEPULSEN (the street pulse), a project for youth at risk (15-25 years) in the neighbourhood. Gadepulsen consists of a meeting place from where the participants organize activities such as sports, outings and other social arrangements, and serves also as a jobtraining placement. Hours: 11.00-17.00.
16th march Project Gadepulsen – hours: 9.00-17.00. Staying on the scene and mixing with participants and project workers.
FORUM THEATRE. Visited an organization of second generation immigrants from Turkey, where they use forum theatre for young people as a means of understanding their situation and the conflict of belonging to two cultures. Introduced by Emel Aydin, workshop leader. Hours: 20.00-23.00.
17th march UNG I PARKEN (Young in the park) is a project where young criminals and young at risk participate in local projects, work local jobs and receive vocational training placements at a local level, during which they receive courses and relevant education for the particular vocation. Hours: 9.00 – 17.00.
18th march LOMMEPENGEPROJEKTET (pocket-money project) is an initiative to work against irresponsible behaviour of teenagers in the agegroup 12-17 years of age. The participants do different kinds of jobs related to the local community and that have a potential to create new jobs, that have meaning and a growing potential. The participants receive DKK 30,00 an hour for a max of 8 hours a week for participating in the project. Hours: 09.00 – 17.00.
19th march RABARBERLANDETS INFORMATIONSCENTER / INTERNETCAFE (R. informationscentre / internetcafe) is realized in cooperation with the Local Community Centre, the local high school, the youth centre "Kick" and Rabarberlandet. This project is aimed at all age groups in the local community and is a vocational training placement for young people wanting to specialize in computer technology, including training courses in various computer programmes, home-page making and networking. Hours: 9.00 – 17.00.
4. New learning methods.
Here is an organization that has had success in working and networking in the local community. It was very encouraging to see how much can be done within the local community to work as an intigrated whole in adressing various topics and problems in the neighbourhood. The learning points here are: The local community as a resource, equality and personal integrity as an approach to solving problems and finding new strengths in the local population and empowerment; ie. helping or giving tools to youth and other locals so that they can realize their own potential, organize and / or help themselves.
2. YEN-social integration seminar:
Here was an opportunity to meet with project leaders and participants in the field of vocational training and youth work from various European countries, create contacts, exchange ideas and information on theories and practice and to work with the theme of social integration on an international level. It´s very important to get possibilities to meet with people working in ones´own field and to see how different nations approach the same problematics in different ways and with different emphasis on different aspects of the job.
5. Pros and cons.
The pros are many as this is an opportunity to widen ones horizon, discourse with people working in the same field, to get new ideas and to see ideas put into practice in local settings and meet and talk with participants in various projects.
The cons are few, but one might wish that opportunities like this one were offered regularly and on a premanent basis and that the grants were larger, so that it would be possible to travel more widely during the project and visit more people and places, and thus make the benefits of the exchange even bigger.
6. Ways of dissemination
The nature of this exchange project is such that the most important part of the dissemination process is embedded in the exchange itself, that is when an organization meets an organization through the meeting of individuals from the organizations concerned. It is through these personal confrontations that interest, rapport and empathy is developed and knowledge and information is disseminated.
In my own organization the fact of my participation in this exchange has woken an interest in the organizations visited, their areas of work and their working methods as seen through the presentation material I brought back and my briefs on the organizations. Lastly the new ideas will be seen in parts of the of my organization.
7. Final remark
This was a very good opportunity for me to visit an inspiring local community project that has received very good remarks in Denmark, as an innovative way to work with the local community. Involving people of all generations, but mainly the young, in their community and invoking a feeling of belonging to and responsibility for the well being of all within the area.
Also it was very satisfying to meet with collegues of different nationalities to exchange and to compare ideas and working methods, to get an insight into the problems facing the former Eastern European countries concerning unemployment, education, vocational training, etc.
Finally, it is very satisfying to be able to participate in an European program that is directed at one´s professionality, with the added bonus of meeting people of other nationalities. In this way one gains insight into the similarities and differences of our neighbours and fellow Europeans, but mostly that we have more in common than apart.
Project manager, Hitt Húsið.