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World of Work
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Apr 30, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In many European countries, there is a considerable “gap” between what is learned in the classroom and the real life context of pupils’ world (New Skills for New Jobs flagship initiative, 2010). Part of the problem lies in the fact that teachers have limited access to resource materials, through which to emphasize relevance (Developing Key Competences at School in Europe. Challenges and Opportunities for Policy, 2012). Furthermore, most curricula are examination-driven, as a consequence of which teachers adopt a highly didactic approach to cover the syllabus and meet the expectations of students, teachers and parents. As a result, pupils are not adequately prepared by the education system for the world of work. (Proposal for key principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care, 2014). To address the above mentioned challenges, the WOW project combines the efforts of 7 relevant organisations from 3 European countries (Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany) to create innovative methodical materials and an online platform to increase the relevance and quality of “world of work”-related subjects in lower secondary education schools. Furthermore, the project will seek to address the reported lack of resources and insufficient level of specific competencies among teachers in this educational area. The consortium consists of 2 enterprises - active in the field of school education; 2 universities; and 3 schools, thus ensuring that the WOW outputs will be designed, developed, tested, validated and disseminated through cooperation and exchange of expertise among some of the leading European experts in the relevant field. More than a total of 4800 pupils in lower secondary education, teachers and parents will participate in various project activities, i.e.: testing of the WOW outputs, validation, demonstration workshops, targeted dissemination and direct use of products. Roles and responsibilities between partners have been distributed and agreed to ensure that business, academic and school expertise are applied in a balanced way to guarantee the successful implementation of each of the 6 main work packages, covering all project activities throughout the project lifetime. The duration of the project is planned for 32 months, which will be followed by additional activities to ensure sustainability of results. The project foresees the following activities and outputs: *to produce an evidence base research on good practices and major challenges with regard to “world of work”-related subjects provision in partner countries, as well as across Europe. *to design, develop, test and validate WOW methodical materials for teachers in “world of work”-related subjects in lower secondary schools; *to organise and carry out 16 creative workshops for teachers and pupils in Slovakia and the Czech Republic to demonstrate in practice how to apply the WOW methodical materials; *to develop a WOW video, which will serve as a practical visualisation of how methodical materials could be applied in curricula and out of class activities; *to create and launch a WOW online platform (free interactive tool), where all materials will be uploaded in four language versions, to allow for future exploitation and sustainability of project outputs; *to carry out one large dissemination event for national and international stakeholders. Project impact and longer term benefits: *For the target groups: - pupils: increased knowledge, related to the world of work; developed skills to allow for well-informed further education and career choices, as well as decisions throughout professional life; increased desire for professional development and more focused learning by seeing the link between education and the world of work; - teachers: increased level of competencies to teach “world of work”-related subjects in school; increased knowledge about different resources and ideas to provide education that is linked to real world and expectations of community; raised professional profile to deliver high quality teaching and adopt new methods and tools in “world of work” field. *For the project partners: opportunity to integrate good practices for training and education of lower secondary school teachers; reinforced cooperation with partners from other countries. *For other relevant stakeholders: improved awareness among parents and policy makers about the importance of world of work related subjects and an opportunity for them to be proactive in children’s school life; the WOW project could serve as the evidence base for launching discussions on future national reform, with regard to the provision and curricula of “world of work”-related subjects, which would contribute positively to the overall quality of the education system.
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