The Project

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The rationale behind the EFESE project is that Social Security in Europe is more important than ever. Its relevance was clear during the recent economic crisis in Europe where social protection systems helped to limit the effects of the crisis, especially for the hardest-hit. Social security itself is above all a truly European field of expertise, traditionally labeled as the European social model and therefore this more innovative exchange of education on this topic is timely and necessary.

 

The programme aims to develop a joint format for virtual course exchange, to create a joint curriculum and to broaden academic and professional networks. These will be attained a) through surveys of needs, expectations, best practices and evaluation among the organizations and participants involved, b) through IT development of a format as well as the selection of on-line tools for teacher- student and an open on- line platform, c) through specializes pedagogic and didactic support, d) through a feasibility study  into the establishment of a fully recognizes and accredited blended Master in European Social Security, e) through a joint curriculum- building and f) dissemination and networking. These project activities are carried out by each participant and then jointly decided in the Project Broad. The project responds to the need for a truly comprehensive curriculum on social security. In the end, by the completion of the programme there should be attained a) a multidisciplinary and cross- border course exchange on European social security based on a format and b) a feasibility study into a fully recognized and accredited blended Master in European social security.

 

The objectives of the project are:

Developing a joint course format for virtual exchange

The coordination of social security system is a founding pillar of the EU internal market while the European social model is closely linked to European integration. Despite its importance, social security remains a highly national and discipline-specific area (law, economics and social policy) whose study is therefore fragmented. So far no university covers social security education in a truly comprehensive manner, covering at the same time national and cross-disciplinary perspectives. This project aims to create a format that the partners can use to virtually exchange their courses. This represents a new approach to education and opens many new possibilities for students currently not benefiting from exchange. The format will consist of a set of technical standards which will allow their integration in the existing learning platforms at the different participating organizations (e.g. Blackboard or Moodle) and pedagogic/didactic standards that will ensure that a student-centered approach is followed for virtual learning.

Creation of a joint curriculum

The project moves beyond existing cooperation approaches by allowing virtual curriculum exchange. To attain the objective of a truly European comprehensive curriculum on social security, both the teachers and the students will be virtually mobile: originating and being accessible from different parts of Europe. The idea is therefore to join forces between top European universities who provide education in the field of social security and to synthesize fragmented approaches. This paves the way for a common European curriculum. The project also carries out a feasibility study on a possible fully recognized and accredited Master in European social security by the partners. The selection of the courses is done in a way that it covers in a complementary manner the various disciplines and expertise within social security. To keep coherence, the format will be of central importance. The project also brings innovation in teaching across the partner institutions as the format will have a strong pedagogic and didactic component. Moreover, the virtual exchange will be combined with two residential learning moments, the “Young Researcher School” (summer school) which will bring together interested participants around their own research proposals and research methodology, thereby also exploring the potential of “blended” education (i.e. the link between on-line and residential learning).

Broadening academic and professional networks

The project addresses the needs of the following target groups: a) students, b) researchers, c) professionals in diverse (sub-) national social security administrations and d) policy-makers at national, European and international level by providing them the opportunity for virtual course exchange and the availability of selected on-line “open” courses responding to the needs of professional who have a particular interest in the field of social security but do not have the ambition to follow a full course or degree.