ACT!
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Added value of the project, Innovation

Networking and partnership

As mentioned above we will form a cluster of academic and non-academic partners for the first time to have a testing and prove of the mutually developed instruments in practice.

Excellent projects and networks on active citizenship do exist (e.g. http://www.surrey.ac.uk/pips/ETGACE), but they rather concentrate on formal education in schools or are net-works on an academic level or mainly address to ‘active citizens’ who belong to mainstream groups in society. Their web-presence is often static and monolingual. giving only little room to NGOs that are the facilitators of non-formal and informal learning for active citizenship.

Often major stakeholders are not directly involved in the evaluation networks – for instance those organisa-tions working with “difficult” target groups, those which do not have the resources (either financial or skills) to carry out intensive evaluation and those in which the “activity” of the educated citizens is very difficult to dis-cover (e.g. in closed groups as socially disadvantaged youths, rightwing youngsters clubs, etc.). This is also evident for the measurement of the reintegration into society for disabled persons or abused women.

Apart from that, a comprehensive European approach is missing that also takes into account the different political histories of post-communist Eastern European countries.

Finally we have to state that for the beneficiaries as well as for “their” NGOs a multilingual web-solution is evident otherwise a practical approach will not reach the grass-root level.

Therefore we decided to offer a wide range of evaluation methodologies (from quantitative to qualitative ma-terial) to the different target groups and organisations.

Main focus will be put on the identification of indicators, i.e. those variables which give a good hint at the con-ditions and mechanisms of active citizenship as well as its obstacles. Based on the suggestions of the advisory committee of Sir Bernard Crick we will attempt to elaborate a “Citizenship Matrix“, which clearly shows these mechanisms and which will be the fundament of the instruments and profiles (Bernard Crick B, Education for Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools, QCA 1998). [http://www.qca.org.uk/7907.html]

Instruments

We will work with inventories to establish flexible evaluation tools. Concerning the questionnaires this means that users can compose their own questionnaire according to their target groups and situations.

By the collection and development of indicators we will put up the third inventory of evaluation methodologies between questionnaires and interviews. Indicators can be extremely useful to examine effects on “difficult” groups.

Benefit for users

Inventories enable other stakeholders to select the questionnaires, indicators or interview patterns of choice and modify them according to their needs.

Our aim is to offer a multilingual, vivid web-portal that gives good practice materials concerning the evalua-tion to project coordinators, educators and also integrate the target groups. Consequently, based on open source the products will either be given for free or shall be connected to a member’s fee in the community to reach a certain sustainability of the network.

The establishment of blended learning courses and web-based learning material enables instructors (of the network partners) to train pedagogical teams on the spot.

Innovation through integration of European members

Situations are different in the different European member states. But in fact everywhere the problems have the same “charge”. Working with “difficult” groups means everyone is inventing the wheel again and again. A real exchange of best practice (adequate methods for these “difficult” target groups) doesn’t exist. A common search on the European level for best practice and developing strategies towards a more official recognition of citizenship competencies is a necessity under the actual circumstances.