Policies and technologies for Life Long Learning at the University of Patras
Policies and Technologies forLife Long Learning at theUniversity of PatrasProf. Nikolaos AvourisDeputy Rector for Research & DevelopmentUniversity of Patras, Rio Patras, Greece
Background: lifelong learning in GreeceThe percentage of the population aged 24-65participating in Lifelong Learning in Greece (3%) is wellbelow the European average (9,1%) and the Europe2020 target (15%).The percentage of low achievers in basic skills in Greeceis 27,7%, while the European average lies at 20% andthe target for 2020 is <15%.[National Report of Secretariat for Lifelong Learning in Greece, 2012]
Background new legal frameworkThe new legislation (Law Nr. 3879/2010) sets the basis for the planningand implementation of a national strategy on lifelong learning and forthe creation of the National Network of Lifelong Learning (NNLL), whichencompasses all LLL governing bodies and LLL service providersoperating under the auspices of different ministries. The mapping andregistration of the NNLL members, as well as their consequent briefingon national LLL policy and the priorities linked to quality assurance,validation & accreditation, interoperability & mobility, enhancement ofattractiveness, participation and accessibility are a prerequisite forfruitful interaction within the network.
Background the University of PatrasThe University of Patras, with a history of 50 years, is a typicalhigher education establishment of Greece. It is a publicUniversity with over 20 departments, a student population ofover 20,000 and a faculty of 700. It has good research record.It is striving to provide educational services and producecompetitive research results in a hostile economicenvironment, a region of high unemployment and fast de-industrialisation.The emphasis in on technology and science, linking to theeconomy is rather low.
UPAT: Tools for LLL policyLike most Greek Universities UPATRAS had until recently not includedlife-long learning (LLL) programs in its core activities.So far there have been four lines of activities and institutionalstructures supporting LLL:• The Centre for Vocational Training (CVT)• The Employment and Career Office (ECO)• The Innovation and Technology Transfer Office (ITTO)• The Open Courses Program (OC)
Centre for Vocational Training (CVT)There have been some targeted vocational seminars of theCentre for Vocational Training (CVT) active since 1995. The LLLactions organized by CVT in the 20 years of its existenceinclude: seminars for Energy Auditors, seminar on Informationand Communications Technology for unemployed, aWorkshop on Reference management program MENDELEYand Open seminars on Design and Evaluation of LearningModules on Intercultural Communication. A very modestresult for the size of the University. Most of these activitiesreceived funding from structural EU funds.
Career Office (OEC)1. Office of Employment & Career (OEC)2. Career Counselling Office (CCO),3. On the job training Office (OJTO)4. Innovation & Entrepreneurship Unit (IEU).Among other actions, undertaken there is a promotion of LifeLong Learning activities, usually targeting a wide range ofusers with focus on final year students and recent graduates.
Career Office (OEC): Typical LLL Activities• Organisation of seminars with the “Open workshop” program of University ofPatras Career Counselling Office (CCO) & Library & Information Centre, open tothe public• Guest speeches at the “Second Chance School” and “Centres of Adult Education”of the “Greek Ministry of Education” by CCO,• Organisation of Vocational Training seminars on Education, Counselling, etc., byCCO & Centre of Vocational Training of University of Patras,• Organisation of the “Bloomberg Assessment TEST” by CCO, for Financialand business managers• Organisation of seminars on “IT software training”, concerning management ofbibliographic references, organization of teleconferences, video creation etc., byCCO & external experts,• Innovation & Entrepreneurship Seminars
Innovation & Technology Transfer Office(ITTO)ITTO is responsible for the transfer of technologiesfrom the University campus to the industry so that thepublic can directly benefit from the research results,providing access to new and improved devices, drugs,services, etc. ITTO strives to find the most efficientways to take a concept developed by Universityresearchers and turn it into a product. One of the areasof activity of ITTO is the dissemination of researchresults, thus providing services of lifelong learning.
Innovation & Technology Transfer Office(ITTO)• Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer to Business byfield of activity, including organization of seminars tobusinesses for training their staff in new technologies andcollaboration with business executives to provide consultingand legal support to research groups and developingmechanisms for collaboration for creating new products.• One of the areas of activity of ITTO is the dissemination ofresearch results, thus providing services of lifelong learning.These include dissemination actions for the promotion oftechnological services and valorisation of research results.
OpenCourseWare Program (OC)The Open CourseWare program funded by structural funds(2012-2015). This involves development of material fromaround 400 courses across all disciplines that should be madeavailable to the general public in the form of open courses.In many of the open courses the developed material willinclude video lectures that will be based in great part onlectures recorded from lecture theatres.Infrastructure is being developed for production of thismaterial, including a fully equipped video recording studio andpost-production facilities.
OpenCourseWare Program (OC)The Open CourseWare program has already steered theinterest of a large number of the faculty who plan totransform their courseware to open form, going through aprocess of handling intellectual property issues and othersimilar matters.A debate is currently taking place within this action, onwhether it is worth recording lectures, instead of usingmultimedia material (video, etc.) as sources for inspiringlearners and presenting field studies, rare experiments, invitedprominent lecturers etc.
Key issues• The U.Patras actions are complementary, but they are not coordinated and they donot adhere to a common policy.• A School for Life Long Learning (SLLL) that was envisaged in the new legalframework for Greek Higher Education should be considered as a new institution bythe University of Patras.• The new U.Patras Restructuring Program 2013-15 an opportunity.• What is the experience of establishing such structures and what are the processesfor establishing and implementing LLL policies?• What are the most effective ways for transforming research and learning materialto LLL actions?• What is the role of LLL experts in the process?• What are the measures of success of a LLL program at institutional level?• Who are the evaluators of its effectiveness?