In 2009, the Sicily region and Indire signed an agreement to promote the joint management of the funds of Erasmus+ and the European Social fund for education and training.
This initiative, funded under axis 3 “Education and training” of the 2014-2020 ROP- ESF Sicily programming, aims to incentive and support the collaboration between schools and universities in Sicily and Southern Mediterranean countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan) by facilitating the exchange of best practices and defining common planning structures. It also aims to develop the networking between institutions and the enhancement of the educational offer of the Island. The objective is to increase incoming and out-going flows and to create an increasingly open and international mentality, able to support the exchange of new practices, innovation driven by the virtuous circulation of ideas, inclusion and integration between peoples.
According to the agreement, Indire, being an intermediate body, carries out the following activities:
- Intervention actions for the Sicilian university system aimed at strengthening and increasing opportunities for individual learning mobility and the consolidation of a network between Sicilian universities;
- Intervention actions for upper secondary schools to favour mobility between teachers and students, cooperation for innovation and good practices exchange;
- Intervention actions for cooperation, with the aim of strengthening the cooperation of the Sicilian school and university system, in particular with same type educational institutions in other Mediterranean countries;
The Erasmus+ programme is a strategic tool to reach these objectives. In particular with action KA103 (Higher Education Mobility in Europe), which enables students and teaching staff to carry out study periods abroad in European universities; with action KA107 (School Students Mobility) which offers to teachers didactic activities, courses and job shadowing opportunities in partner schools in Europe; and finally, with eTwinning, the largest digital community of teachers active in cooperation projects between schools.
The aims of the initiative are many: to create an internationalisation path going from school education to University and Higher Education for Art, Music and Dance (AFAM) institutions; to incentive participation of economically disadvantaged people and logistically disadvantaged countries; to attract students from abroad to involve them in the Sicily excellence sectors (agriculture, oenology, architecture, cultural heritage, naval engineering, etc.)
Involving foreign students in projects carried out in the Sicilian territory is an added value for the Sicilian context, especially concerning the cultural enhancement of the personnel involved in the activities and the Italian students who befit from these paths. This is also an added value as far as the quality of the didactic offer is concerned, as the involvement of participants coming from different cultural backgrounds contributes to give to the training a new international dimension, open to interdisciplinarity, inclusion and peaceful co-existence among peoples. It also poses new and interesting challenges for the teaching staff, such as the adoption of didactic methods adequate to multi-language and multicultural classes and contributes to increase universities’ success in the global competition among tertiary education institutions, one of the key factors of attractiveness for a territory.
Activities for Higher Education
- Increase of the number of scholarships for Higher Education (KA103) for all Sicilian universities, AFAM and ITSs institutes participating in the initiative.
- Increase of the number of scholarships for non-EU mobility (KA107) for all Sicilian universities and participating AFAM and ITS Institutes, both in relation to outgoing and incoming mobility. Absolute priority is given to the planning of mobility with countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan).
- Increase of the value of scholarships for economically disadvantaged students (based on ISEE – equivalent financial situation index – parameters).
- Cooperation activities between Sicilian higher education and that of the countries of the southern Mediterranean area also in virtual mobility (projects for online educational activities in the context of Intensive Study Programmes/Summer Schools, research projects on areas of common interest with Foreign institutes, functional to activate long-term collaborations).
Activities for schools
- Increase of the mobility of teachers and school staff (the call issued under Erasmus+ was used for the year 2019 and places were allocated according to the ranking of the list compiled according to KA101).
- Increase of the mobility of pupils in Sicilian schools through eTwinning, by assigning – through a specific call – to the best performing schools on the platform, a contribution for the physical mobility of students and their teachers to the foreign partner schools. Schools registered on eTwinning are invited to respond to an ad hoc call by submitting a pupil mobility project in one of the partner schools with which the Sicilian school has an active eTwinning project. On the basis of a grid of criteria, the Erasmus Agency evaluates these projects and can offer a contribution to the school to allow the mobility of pupils. Priority is given to eTwinning projects with countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
Promotion and valorisation activities
Indire is committed to the promotion of the internationalisation of the Sicilian system through contacts with embassies and Italian cultural institutes in the countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean, besides using the contacts already included in the eTwinning network. Some Sicilian schools registered in eTwinning already participate as partners in projects involving schools of Mediterranean countries: the aim is to extend the geographical context involving an increasing number of schools of the region and other counties.
The project activities are promoted through the website “Study in Sicily”, its linked websites and Indire’s social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr). The best practices and successful stories will receive a quality award and will be further shared on social media, on the various platforms, and during the events.
Indire provides support and consulting services to the potential beneficiaries through various channels:
- telephone or email helpdesk;
- ad hoc consultancy through face-to-face appointments during the information days;
- webinars on specific topics;
- drafting of short guides and handbooks in Italian;
- production of video tutorials
The evaluation of the projects is carried out in compliance with the provisions of the document “Selection criteria for operations financed by the ESF pursuant to Art 110 par. 2.a) Regulation (EU) no. 1303/2013 “, adopted during the Supervisory Committee on 10/06/2015 and updated following the written procedure no. 11/2018, information note. no. 16780 of 12/03/2018, while administrative checks are carried out on the basis of the provisions of art. 125 EU Reg. 1303/2013 and in line with the procedures identified by the Managing Authority.
The agreement identifies INDRE as an Intermediate Body for the implementation of interventions under Axis 3 “Education and Training”, priority 10i), specific objective 10.2) Improvement of the key competences of students, Action 10.2.3 Internationalization actions of educational systems and mobility (Unique project code – B69F19000150006) and on Axis 5 “Technical assistance”, specific objective 5.A) Strengthening the processes of programming, implementation, management, monitoring, control and surveillance of the interventions envisaged by the operational programme, and specific objective 5.B) Improving the system for evaluating the operations envisaged by the OP – (Unique project code – B69F19000160006), pursuant to art. 123 of EU Regulation no. 1303/2013.