The New beginning at EPAL initiative, designed to upgrade the role and image of VET in Greece, sets students’ and society’s needs at the epicentre of action. The scheme foresees a series of ESF-funded interventions to build up the key competences of learners through psychosocial and cognitive support.
Launched in October 2017, New beginning at EPAL (1) includes actions such as:
- introduction of alternative learning methods and remedial courses in Greek language and mathematics;
- recruitment of psychologists;
- actions to improve the school environment;
- strengthening of teacher and school networks to initiate dialogue, exchange practices, support cooperation in teaching design, and promote student and teacher visits to other network schools;
- designing action plans linking VET with local communities and establishing cooperation with the greater educational and scientific society. These action plans can include STEAM (2), social, entertainment or cultural projects. The best projects will be awarded:
- upgrade of school internet equipment to promote networking;
- teacher training in active, participatory and experiential learning methods;
- scientific and pedagogical support throughout the year.
New beginning at EPAL (3) promotes an alternative approach in remedial courses, designed to offer pedagogical support and improve learner performance through collaborative teaching during Greek language and mathematics courses. EPAL school teachers are supported by psychologists (4). Interventions are targeted to first grade EPAL students and aim to improve their literacy and numeracy competences and assist their smooth integration into school.
New beginning at EPAL is currently piloted in nine EPAL schools: five in Athens, two in Chalkida, one in Lagada and one in Lesvos. From the next school year, it will be expanded to all EPAL schools (approximately 400). Remedial courses may be applied to other EPAL grades in the future. An overall budget of EUR 26.3 million has been earmarked for a four-year implementation period.
On completion of the pilot phase, evaluation meetings will be organised to assess the procedures followed, suggest necessary improvements, and record the educational and other material created.
(1) EPAL are upper secondary vocational education schools.
(2) Science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM)