Telecentre Europe and I-LINC Awards Finalists and Winners Celebrated in Ghent

By Ekaterina Fedotova

On October 7, 2016 the exquisite Pacification Room of Ghent City Hall hosted the finalists and winners of the 2016 Telecentre Europe and I-LINC Awards. The Awards Ceremony marked the culmination of the conference and celebrated organizations and individuals who enable people to get to grips with technology.

The guests were welcomed by Mayor of Ghent Daniël Termont, who talked about the value of including all members of society in this digital era and the valuable work and impact of Digipolis, the TEAC16 host organization in Ghent.

The ceremony was hosted by Telecentre Europe (TE) community and event manager Ekaterina Fedotova who explained the competition scheme, spoke about the value of such awards, and introduced the presenters and finalists in each category.

The awards were presented by the Ceremony honorary guests and Telecentre Europe Board Members. They greeted the finalists, announced the winners, and handed over certificates and trophies (which were 3D printed following the future technologies topic of the conference). And of course, numerous pictures were taken to capture the festive moments in the beautiful medieval hall surrounded by colleagues and friends.

In 2016, Telecentre Europe Awards Competition was held for the 4th time, and this year was organized together with the I-LINC project.  The entries in four categories were received from all over Europe. Telecentre Europe would like to thank all the nominators for sharing amazing stories of people and organizations striving for digital inclusion and enabling youth empowerment and employability. Such applications help nominees themselves see the value they bring to the society; and sharing experiences enables others to improve their work.

We were honored to meet our finalists and learn more about their achievements during the conference and award ceremony.

14 finalists in 4 categories and their incredible stories of dedication, passion, and diligence

Best Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Awards were presented by Mayor of Ghent Daniël Termont and TE Board member Mariusz Boguszewski, CTO of FRSI in Poland.

The finalists are:

The voting in this category was quite even, but finally Biblionet was named the winner for transforming Romanian public libraries into vibrant community hubs offering new services and 21st-century technology tools. Thanks to this partnership 3000 librarians have acquired basic computer skills, 1500 public libraries were equipped with ICT, reaching over 600,000 first-time Internet users.

Representatives of the I-LINC project, Jose Maria Bolufer (Head of sustainable innovation, Telefonica, Spain) and Iva Walterova (I-LINC project officer, TE) awarded the Best Practice finalists:

Romanian project Digital Storytelling was chosen as the winner in the Best practice category. Within this project young people learn to build digital stories using various programmes and applications and then become mentors for seniors who put their memories of loved ones in short movies. This type of practice allows the digital preservation of cultural identity of communities, digital literacy and digital inclusion of vulnerable groups.

Best Digital Changemakers 2016 finalists are:

Awards to Digital Changemakers were presented by Mara Jakobsone (Chair of Telecentre Europe Board, Vice-President of Latvian ICT Association LIKTA) and Andrea Parola (TE Advisory Board member, general manager for European e-skills Association).

The winner in this category Goran Jovisic established several e-learning portals for uniting all activities in the ICT education and trained 5000 citizens; prepared 4900 unemployed young people in the use of ICT and internet, and supported Roma people to localize free educational applications in the Roman language. But his main passion is using legal software in Serbian schools.

Best e-Facilitator is a special award in the telecentre Europe community. E-facilitators are the people who are the heart of the centres, they are the ones helping users to see new prospects, enable new employment opportunities and improving the communities. Best e-facilitators in 2016 were by awarded by Jason Blackstock (Head of STEaPP Department of University College London) and Pedro Aguilera (TE Board Member, project manager at Esplai Foundation, Spain):


The community voted for Antonio Manuel Gonzalez Perez to be the Best e-Facilitator in 2016. Antonio works in one of the most deprived areas in Southern Spain. Despite lack of funding, he kept the centre open, which turned into an aid centre, where users overcome personal and social barriers and are trained in ICT for employability. The evolution of the community became a reality thanks to Antonio and his colleagues: from digital literacy and social inclusion in 2008 to robotics and advanced programming in 2016 aiming at better digital competences and job placement.

Antonio was strongly supported by his colleagues and peers during the voting, and they were so happy for him to win that produced a short congratulations video, which was a great surprise for Antonio at the Awards ceremony.

The Telecentre Europe board and staff hope all the winners and finalists continue their valuable work and know that their impact will live long into the future. Congratulations!

Background

Thousands of individuals and hundreds of organisations around Europe work daily with communities to empower citizens through technology and the Internet. Telecentre Europe Awards acknowledge their innovation, dedication and the inspiring role they play to many people.

To enter the competition, in 2016 e-facilitators and changemakers were nominated by their colleagues, while partnerships and best practices were put forward by one of the participating members.

This year it was agreed to have the final decision made not by the closed jury, but by the Unite-IT community members. Unite-IT is the informal online platform and network of people working in the field of digital inclusion, and we thought it is fair to give everybody a chance to have their say in what they think are the most powerful entries. So the final selection was done through an open online voting by community members. Each member could vote for one entry per category. The votes and profiles then were checked for authenticity; and double/triple votes in the same category were disqualified. Thus the results were achieved.

Big thanks to the I-LINC jury and Unite-IT members who read through the entries and cast their votes.

#TEAC16 – the best Annual Conference so far!

By Gabriela Ruseva

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Telecentre Europe held its 9th Annual Conference in Ghent on 6-8th October, co-organised with our Belgian member Digipolis Gent and the I-LINC Platform. The 3-day event was attended by over a 100 invited participants and took place in the beautiful central hotel NH Belfort where guests enjoyed 2 days of keynote speeches, interactive sessions, networking and sharing, as well as a lot of fun and inspiration. An award ceremony in Ghent City Hall followed up by live music and dancing in the medieval cellar was the highlight of this positive experience. Great hands on experiences were also offered to participants who had the chance to visit local telecentres guided by enthusiastic staff of the Digipolis team and experience cutting-edge technologies at the Ghent Interactive Digital Fair on the 3rd and final day of the event.

Overall, the dynamics of the event were very positive. Inspiring, and sometimes even contradictory, keynote speeches served as provocative inputs for the debates which followed. Then we were back to plenaries for more inspiration and back to interactive sessions for sharing and reflection.

Perfect mix of attendees

This year participants came from ever more diverse backgrounds, probably thanks to the proximity of the event to the heart of Europe. The majority of them were from telecentre networks and NGOs working in the digital inclusion field. However, we also welcomed policy makers from Belgium and the EU, companies, libraries, youth centers and public authorities. Furthermore, I-LINC stakeholders and young ambassadors added to the lively mix.

We were honored to have the Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation and Digital Agenda Mr. Alexander De Croo who confirmed his government’s commitment to develop digital skills for all as one of the main pillars of Digital Belgium.

20161006-p1220642“Governments think that to ensure that everyone benefits from the digital opportunities it is enough to put the infrastructure in place – the networks, the equipment. This has to change! Education, throughout life, is the infrastructure of the future and governments need to invest in it.” said Mr. De Croo.

Despite his busy agenda he took the time to reply to questions from the audience. He is seen as the first minister who actually knows what digital literacy is about and understands the need to develop skills hand in hand with deploying digital infrastructure.

From the private sector, we had Saskia Van Uffelen from Ericsson BeLux. Did you know that she is actually one of few non-tech people in the company? Her background as a teacher allows her to see skills development in the workplace from a different angle! From CISCO we had the pleasure to welcome Karsten Simons who spoke about CISCO Networking Academies making a difference all around the world. He and Martine Tempels from the Belgian telecom Telenet both agreed that soft skills such as communication, media literacy and critical thinking are equally important in today’s workplace.

Interactive sessions and discussions

Maybe the best part of this year’s conference was the interactive part – everyone was genuinely eager to contribute and exchange.  In the Future Trendspotting session participants were asked to let their imagination free and picture the future workplace. They discussed what new alternatives are there to the 9-17h working day and whether we are ready to meet the challenges.20161007-p1230816

The parallel “How to…” sessions were very practical and hands-on, and session leaders gave very concrete and applicable advice to their audiences. Most attended sessions were “How to run an hour of code” and “How to run a hackathon” with “How to run a digital storytelling service for migrants” also attracting a lot of interest. It was really difficult to choose!

On the second day of #TEAC16 we also had a discussion panel that focused on youth employability and specifically on the I-LINC platform – a place for various stakeholders from formal education, non-formal training, employers’ world and youth to come together and engage in a debate. The platform 2.0 is being launched with more possibilities to exchange good practices, share about recent policy developments and make new contacts. The panel brought together representatives of EU Commission, education and industry to discuss this burning issue. The video of this panel will soon be available on the I-LINC platform.

Unconference and project lightning talks

During the Unconference session participants were able to put on the table whatever burning issue they have in their hearts and minds. Some discussed digital skills particularly relevant for SMEs, which provide 2/3 of all workplaces in EU. Others cared about media literacy for youth in the context of the refugee crisis. Other topics included entrepreneurship, DigComp, Open data, etc.

The conference closed with six project lightning talks about coding, teachers’ online collaboration skills, organising a hackathon, enabling parents to understand their kids’ digital life better, and more, and more.

The lively event was filmed and many of the participants were asked for statements about the conference itself, Telecentre Europe network and other topics of interest. Videos will be available soon on our YouTube channel.

We are already looking forward to our #TEAC17 in Barcelona!

European Conference in Ghent to address future of work in digital era

TEAC16 Event Press Release

91% of all citizens in Flanders are connected to the internet at home, 78% own a laptop and 58% are the proud owner of a tablet.[i] These recent figures show that we all like to buy the latest digital devices and update our homes with the latest technologies, but digital skills are indispensable in the workplace as well. The latest digital evolutions translate themselves into new demands at the office, for both the employer and employee. Which skills are increasingly important in the job market and how will organisations adapt to future technological changes? These are among the issues that will be discussed at the Telecentre Europe Annual Conference jointly organised with the first I-LINC international event in Ghent from October 6-8.

Belgium assumes leading role in Europe

Experts, stakeholders and organisations from across Europe will gather in Ghent to discuss the future digital challenges and the impact this will have on employment. Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Digital Agenda, Alexander De Croo, will talk on the opening day of the conference about the pioneering role Belgium plays with regard to digital innovation and entrepreneurship within organisations and government.

Alexander De Croo said, “The development of digital economy will define our future welfare. Governments and institutions must show courage and ambition. Belgium has the potential to become one of the leading countries in Europe, but only if it decisively focuses on digital frameworks. Therefore, our strategy ‘Digital Belgium’ focuses on bringing digital skills to people and linking them to the right job. Together with other public and private organisations such as Telecentre Europe, we aim to be one of Europe’s leading digital countries by 2020.”

Ghent invests in e-inclusion

Nine out of ten future jobs will require digital skills. This does not only demand a systematic policy on a national and international level, but also requires the support and effort of local governments. Thanks to their commitment, more and more people are given the chance to unlock their digital potential, regardless of age, social or cultural background.

The City of Ghent has been committed to e-inclusion for the past ten years with Digitaal.Talent@Gent, a program in collaboration with Digipolis and the Public Centre For Social Welfare. All citizens of Ghent can develop their digital skills through a variety of projects. Even vulnerable groups such as the underprivileged, senior citizens and people with disabilities are given the change to discover their digital talent.

Deputy Mayor of Ghent, Martine De Regge explained, “Every citizen of Ghent deserves to have access to the digital world. In order to guarantee access for everyone, the city has set up 75 telecentres across Ghent. You can visit these centres if you want to use a computer with an internet connection, but also if you want help or advice from one of the computer volunteers.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Beside Deputy Prime Minister De Croo, fellow Belgian Saskia Van Uffelen – CEO of Ericsson BeLux and ‘Digital Champion of Belgium’ – will address the future revolution in the job sector caused by these digital changes. Recent research has shown that 65% of the jobs of today will not exist anymore by 2020[ii]. How do we prepare ourselves for these changes and make sure that our employment rates keep rising, as well as productivity rates?

Experts and academics will share their ideas and vision with members of the European Commission. Not only business and the private sector, but the public sector too will need to stimulate and encourage companies and organisations to adapt to these future digital changes in the workplace.

Putting words into action

The so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is one of the major challenges and opportunities for Europe. It describes the changes ahead as a result of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Drones, Robotics, the ‘Internet of Things’ and many other emerging technologies and working practices.

Laurentiu Bunescu, CEO of Telecentre Europe added, “This event also presents the first I-LINC international conference. I-LINC is a platform and a community of experts and organisations that foster employment and entrepreneurship through digital skills. We help young people and interested organisations in addressing employability related issues in the light of these emerging technologies.”

The conference brings together organisations, governments and industry to share ideas and to brainstorm the future challenges for jobs and employment in the context of these future changes. Through debates, hands-on workshops and enticing talks, the event aims to set out the future synergy between work and digital skills.

Māra Jākobsone, Chair of Telecentre Europe said, “A key aspect in teaching skills, which was long underestimated, is finally being recognized by the new EU skills agenda – the importance of lifelong and non-formal learning opportunities. The non-formal education community, represented by Telecentre Europe members offers efficient and fast ways to upgrade digital skills requested for job through mentoring and project-based learning. At the event, more than 120 delegates from 70 organisations in 25 countries will share their experience of helping European citizens to acquire digital skills for future work.”

[i] IMinds, 2016

[ii] World Economic Forum 2016

See full Press Release

 

Telecentres in Ghent: A Step Towards Digital Inclusion

For those TEAC16 participants who come to Ghent earlier and have registered before August 31, TEAC16 host organization Digipolis offers a guided visit to three different Telecentres in Ghent. Learn more about Ghent telecentres.

by Sara Van Damme, Digipolis Gent

preview_dsc_9563-jpgokTelecentres were created all over the city for  people who don’t have access to a computer at home or at work. Apart from free internet access, the centres allow citizens to work on their digital skills through guided sessions or interactive and hands-on workshops. You can find telecentres in libraries, community centres, local service centres and many more public city facilities.

These telecentres aim to be approachable and easily accessible for people from all social classes and backgrounds, so that everyone has a chance to learn how to work with a computer, write an email or use a certain computer program.

Although all telecentres offer the same basic digital facilities, we do distinguish three different types of telecentres, each with a different focus:

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  1. The first type provides free WIFI, so that visitors can surf the internet and access their email free of charge. Moreover, the basic Microsoft Office programs allow visitors to type out texts and use Word or PowerPoint for example.
  2. In the second type of telecentre there will always be a supervisor present, who will happily assist and help the visitor with his or her requests and wishes. E.g., (s)he could show them how to send an email, how to work with a tablet, or secure their ICT software with the latest virus scanner.
  3. The last type of telecentres offer digital courses and lessons on top of all the advantages from the other two types of telecentres.  Some courses are free, others require a rather small charge (max. 1 Euro per hour).

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Thanks to these three different types of telecentres, we can help and improve the digital skills of all citizens in Ghent, no matter what their needs or requirements may be.

Needless to say that we cannot organize this all by ourselves and depend on the support, help and open mentality of all the supervisors working in the centres. These supervisors are a diverse group of volunteers, who all have one very important thing in common: they like to help people. Their enthusiasm and drive encourage us daily to think and dream big and they allow us to keep on growing and expanding the program.

Together, we will continue to join our efforts and help to reduce digital exclusion.

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I-LINC at TEAC16

by Iva Walterova, Telecentre Europe

I-LINC, which is developing a sustainable and all-encompassing platform on the topic of ICT (for) learning and inclusion, offers its growing community of registered users an online environment for networking, participation, and learning that focuses on boosting the employability and entrepreneurship capacities of young people.

The Telecentre Europe Annual Conference: Digital Skills for Future Work is hosting the first I-LINC international event. The I-LINC platform is a vehicle towards this central theme of the Conference and has significantly contributed to shaping of the programme and the audience at the event.

Benefitting from gathering useful resources available on existing platforms, through networks and initiatives, and adding its own valuable content, I-LINC is developing a vibrant community of stakeholders in the field of digital skills for employability and entrepreneurship and linking them to the main beneficiaries – young people. I-LINC features a wide variety of resources and networking spaces, including learning opportunities, relevant policies, best practices, events, stakeholders in the field and the possibility to connect with them, funding opportunities and many others.

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In order to introduce TEAC16 participants to all the various elements of the platform and the benefits that they and their stakeholders can gain from I-LINC after joining the community, I-LINC is featured throughout the event. This way, at the end of the Conference participants will be equipped with a practical tool that they can use in their work on digital skills towards future jobs.

The I-LINC platform will be briefly introduced during the opening plenary on the 1st day of the Conference by Telecentre Europe CEO Laurentiu Bunescu. On the 2nd day of the Conference a number of aspects of the I-LINC platform will be discussed. First, during the Discussion panel, the platform will be shown in more detail. Later, during the Unconference, a workshop will be led by I-LINC young digital changemakers, who were carefully selected and have been working with the project since its onset. These young people will present their achievements and experiences with the platform and its tools. I-LINC will also be presented later at the Lightning Talks, where challenges and accomplishments of the platform and community will be described. Last, but not least, Telecentre Europe & I-LINC Awards will be presented to winners of the Best Practice and the Best Digital Changemaker contests during the evening social event. The awards will recognize work that is relevant both to the central “Digital skills for future work” theme and to the I-LINC objectives.

The Conference team would like to invite all the participants to learn about the possibilities offered through the I-LINC platform during the event and explore the platform at http://www.I-LINC.eu.

Ghent Digital Interactive Fair – Where Dreams Become Reality

by Sara Van Damme, Digipolis Ghent

Have you ever dreamed of living in a world, in which everyone can embrace cutting-edge digital innovations? Your dreams can become reality at the Ghent Digital Fair!

Once a year, we organize an entire week of digital fun and education in the city of Ghent, also known as the Digital Week. To highlight this week’s unique and innovative character, it kicks off with a spectacular opening event: the Digital Interactive Fair.

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This afternoon perfectly combines fun with technology and gives visitors the opportunity to get to know new and innovative start-ups, try out new technologies and simply discover all the wonders that our digital future holds. From drones and virtual reality to robots and 3D printing, there is something for everyone!

20150418_0302.JPGOne of the key aspects of this Digital Fair is interaction with the public. The organizers don’t want the visitors to just stand there and listen, we want them to try out, discover and experience technologies first hand! There will be plenty of workshops, try-outs and hands-on demonstrations for young and old. On top of that, the fair and all the organized workshops are entirely free of charge. That way, everyone has a chance to discover the future and dream big!

Do you want to join us and discover new technologies too? Visit our Digital Interactive Fair on Saturday October 8 and explore how dreams can become reality!

Exclusive: Pre-opening tour for TEAC16 participants! Saturday October 8 at 13:00
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Before the Digital interactive Fair opens to the public, Telecentre Europe Annual Conference participants are invited on an exclusive tour to discover all the wonders that our digital future holds.
You will have a unique chance to meet with brilliant minds and try out new technologies, from drones and virtual reality to 3D printing.

Oh yes, it’s time to dream big!

Project Lightning Talks at TEAC16

We are pleased to announce the projects that will be presented on October 7 during the Project Lightning Talks plenary session at the Telecentre Europe Annual Conference in Ghent.

   

Each presenter will only have five minutes and will answer the same questions to get to the insight of their projects:

  • what social impact it made,
  • what you would change,
  • what you would keep the same,
  • what you learned.

Lightning talks will be followed by brief questions from the audience. The talks will not cover the typical project quantitative results and deliverables, so this is the chance for you to get acquainted with them, to be well prepared for the talks.

We have a broad geography and variety of projects, with hackathons and online learning being the focus of many.

1. I-LINC
Ms Iva Walterova,
project officer, Telecentre Europe, Brussels, Belgium
Mr Bastian Pelka,
Research Council, Technical University Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany

I-LINC aims to develop a sustainable and all encompassing platform on the topic of ICT (for) learning and inclusion.  The I-LINC platform is an online environment for networking; participation and learning that will focus on boosting the employability and entrepreneurship capacities of young people.

The project benefits and gathers existing platforms, networks and resources that are available on the topic of ICT (for) learning and inclusion. The project also develops an active community of stakeholders in the field while linking them to the main beneficiaries – young people.

2.  FIT4JOBS
Mr Manus Hanratty, European projects executive, FIT Ltd, Dublin, Ireland

Europe 2020 indicators for poverty and social exclusion state that “the unemployed faced the greatest risk of poverty or social exclusion”. Europe 2020 strategy has set the target of ‘lifting at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and social exclusion’ by 2020.

FIT4JOBS can tackle this issue as it provides in-demand technical skills and “life/soft/people” skills, that employers need, and gets job seekers (back) to work. FIT4JOBS is a replicable project, a multi-stakeholder partnership, a best practice, a Digital Inclusion vehicle, empowerment instrument, with high multiplier/SROI effect, high and immediate financial ROI.

3.  Project Generation 0101
Ms Zagorka Prce Veseli, Coordinator of developmental programs, Centre of Technical Culture Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia.

Generation 0101 is project implemented in Croatia, Turkey, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus and Italy, financed by Erasmus+. The project contributes to solving the issues of youth unemployment and bridging the gap between digital industry needs and number of skilled employees.

The conducted research on Digital Agenda revealed differences in quality of ICT education of youth, as well as differences in youth perception of their ICT skills and employers’ perception. The research is summarised in Guidelines for policy makers developed on EU and national levels. Based on the research, seven ICT curricula were developed: e-journalism, community web radio, mobile app development, web design, video, easy coding and online collaboration. 35 youth workers educated 245 young people to prepare them for employment in digital industries.  As a final exam, hackathons were organised where educated young people developed digital solutions for 13 selected NGOs.

4.  Social Hackathon Umbria 2016
Mr Altheo Valentini, European Projects Manager, Associazione Centro Studi Città di Foligno, Foligno, Italy.

More than 50 young hackers and different non-profit organisations from all over Italy took part at the Social Umbria Hackathon at the Study Center of Foligno last 6-10 July 2016, competing in a digital marathon with the final aim of developing socially useful projects.

The event was an absolute novelty in the Umbrian regional context. Supported by the Erasmus+ programme, within the framework of the Generation0101 project, as well as by the eSkills for Jobs campaign, the Digital Agenda of the Umbria Region and the Municipality of Foligno, #SHU2016 offered excellent learning and networking opportunities to young people from Italy and abroad.

5. Project Online4EDU
Ms Nenja Wolbers, Project Manager, Stiftung Digitale Chancen, Berlin, Germany.

The aim of Online4EDU project is to introduce online collaboration tools to teachers and thereby support the use of digital media in their teaching practice. Often digital media is not yet included in school education, which is and will be a great challenge regarding the need for media literate citizens and the lack of IT-specialists.

Online4EDU enables teachers to use technology in a confident way, so that they can pass on the digital skills to their students. This aim is achieved by a developed blended learning training and certification system. Five partner organizations from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland and Germany developed a course and training that complies with the ECDL-Test standards for online collaboration tools.

6. ABC digitale – a platform for digital citizenship experiences and open learning
Ms Claudia Iormetti, Coordinator of Youth Area, Open Group, Bologna, Italy

ABC Digitale inscribes digital skills in an open framework of accessibility and digital citizenship. It looks to individuals and his needs in the information and communication society. ABC Digitale target groups are all stakeholders who want to learn about skills and digital education and those who want to develop their knowledge in digital environment. The platform offers current issues, training and innovative courses, news and tools for professional context, family or school.

ABC Digitale, moving from a dynamic definition of competence, develops its routes moving from the person and his/her needs.  Workshops and training are adapted to specific needs and based on five main dimensions: be informed, interact, communicate, be safe, manage problem situations.

7Digikriebels
Ms Sara Van Damme, project manager, Digipolis Gent, Ghent, Belgium

Digikriebels is a project, which focuses on vulnerable families, in particular (grand)parents and their pre-schoolers. During a course of 4 lessons they are introduced to a collection of educational games, in order to enhance their ICT and media literacy. Digikriebels aims to give parents more opportunities to support their children in making the transition to the first grade of primary school.  In the last lesson the kids are invited to practice together with their (grand)parents. This course not only boosts the parents’ confidence, but also reinforces the relationship between school and home.

You might have heard of these projects, but definitely haven’t heard what made them successful, what went wrong and what could be done better.

We look forward to seeing you in Ghent and discussing our projects!