Project “YOUth Ambassadors of Non-Formal Learning”
Interviewer: Maëlle Julou
Interviewee: Maria Megalopoulou , “O Kupos” Seminars
Date and location: Thessaloniki, 15/06/2020
List of questions for the Interview:
- Is the law defining NFE in your country? If yes, please describe what the law says.
According to the Greek Legislation (law 3879/2010) no formal education includes:
- Initial Vocational Training
- Continuing Vocational Training
- General Adult Education
- The Apprenticeship Class, which is a fourth year after graduating from the vocational upper secondary school (EPAL).
- Please describe the existing strategies, action plans that define non-formal learning in your country?
There is no comprehensive national framework for recognizing no formal-education and tools to validate it have not been developed yet. Therefore, people have not the right to see their learning process assessed with a legal documentation. However, the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) (law 4115/2013) has developed certification to recognize the skills and knowledge of professionals educators and training staff.
- Have you been involved in the development of a strategy / action plan / law in excess of the NFE issues?
The founder of the organisation, who is also my mother, was the one pushing for strategies and action plans to happen for non-formal education outside of Kupos. I always strongly agreed with her point of view and her dedication in this matter. I think the way I can get involved is by promoting NFE as much as possible and provide some results and conclusions are we can find ourself on the field.
- Do you work on promoting NFE and how?
Promoting NFE is basically the essence of our work here at Kupos. We propose seminars about history, philosophy, crafts, creative writing, theater, all sorts of things. We believe it is important to promote NFE, not only talking about it but showing people, through their experience with us, what NFE can do to them as persons. Then they talk to their friends, and it goes on.
- For your institution/CSO how young people recognize NFE?
To facilitate the recognition of non-formal learning, we can give a paper that says that “we certify that this person attended the seminar..”, and this person might use it as a recognition of skills or interest in the job market. For example, if this person comes here and takes part in a “public speaking seminar” here, it is important for that person to have this paper to understand he or she got this skill and feel good about it, but also for his/her actual or future employer.
But the recognition of NFE needs to good further than the system of certifications, we need to establish a better way of understanding the skills and knowledge learned through the non-formal education in general. This is what is really important, not only the certification that sometime doesn’t mean anything.
- What are you doing about NFE in term to make closeness with youth?
We don’t have youth as our target group of people but they are an important part of our participants, especially young adults. A thing that we like otherwise is to have groups with a lot of different ages. Also, we started a course called “Youth theater”, for which the participants are mostly teenagers.
- Have you involved young people in the process of bringing about things that are relevant to non-formal education?
The participants have their part into the process of thinking about non-formal education. Of course, there is evaluation from them, and we take this very seriously as it is very important to adapt to the needs and take feedback. We also want the subjects to be useful for the participants, and for them to take something from this for we take some demands when it is recurrent. Young people who are also proposing seminars are taking a lot from this experience, usually it is very rewarding.
- Should the Government get involved and make an even bigger contribution when it we are speaking about youth and policies about youth?
If something happens about non-formal education for youth in the public sector, it is almost always a personal initiative, and voluntarily. I regret to say that but I firmly believe that nothing will change in the next 15 years, because they will stay as they are if it is easier. They will not hire more people for non-formal education. If they will start this it means that someone might have to have an additional training, in order to have an additional task, in order to make the same job. If they hire another person it is going to take part of the salary of the others and it is not the best option. Anyway, what I always say is that if the public sector is involved, it is most likely that it is not going to be done, even if things should works differently.