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Citizen Laboratory
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This Strategic Partnership project brings together organisations active in the field of non-formal education in 4 European countries. The consortium consists of a diverse range of educational providers with various level of experience, international involvement, target groups and history. All the participating organisations identified European citizenship and entrepreneurship education as a priority topic for them and decided to make the topic their strategic focus. This project will help them to concentrate during a period of 2 years on developing innovative approaches in their work with adult learners through the use of non-formal education. The ethos of the project is centred around entrepreneurship and citizenship, since we believe that there is a large overlap of characteristics that make a good entrepreneur and an active citizen. Both of them need analytical thinking, they need to see problems in their surroundings and identify solutions to these problems and they both need can-do mentality and positive thinking to be able to effect a change. An entrepreneur implements solutions through business, creating jobs and through economic means. An active citizen uses different means - mobilising public support, turning attention to a problem, convincing political representatives about possible solutions. However, we believe these characteristics are lacking among the citizens in European countries. European citizens are often passive, they wait for the state to solve their problems, they feel frustrated by news from media but they are not ready to take action, think about solutions, propose them to the public, volunteers and be pro-active. Active citizenship is very much based on attitudes and skills rather than mere knowledge. Therefore, non-formal education is an important tool in promoting active citizenship. Non-formal education is suitable for working with attitudes and skills of learners. Adult learners need a positive educational experience to become active citizens. They need to overcome the feeling that they cannot change anything, that nobody listens to them. The Citizen Laboratory project will help us develop innovative methodology for citizenship and entrepreneurship education of adult learners, and it is an initiative for creation of positive attitude of adult learners making them aware of their knowledge and giving them new skills to cope with the modern time. Taking in consideration that this project involves partner country which is not a European member, we believe that this project will also build up on the knowledge in Macedonia, but also will bring various conclusions for all participants coming from very different backgrounds. Bearing in mind the different social, educational, economic and cultural characteristics of the 4 countries involved in this project, it is visible that this compilation brings out great diversity of attitudes and ways of living which strongly correlates with the topics of being active member of the society and the predispositions of doing business as a successful entrepreneur. We believe that exactly these terms are the base of the international dimension of the project creating unique opportunity for adult education. The project will involve adults working in education (teachers, professors, trainers), people who have been out of work for long time and adults who are working or are correlated to the institutions working as social services in the partners countries (national social service, NGOs working on social topics, official social issues advising centers). In addition, the project activities will be supported by internet technology and communications tools. The project has numerous objectives among which we will point out the following: - To enable the participating organisations to focus strategically on citizenship and entrepreneurship education - To facilitate exchange of experience and good practices, collect existing resources and valorize existing expertise within the organisations - To use the existing know-how to create new innovative methodology for citizenship education, to test this methodology and improve it - To explore possibilities to connect non-formal education with modern information and communication technologies - To establish deeper and sustainable partnership among the participating organisations - To provide unique learning experience to the adult learners participating in the blended mobilities

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