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First SEECEL Regional Conference

Zagreb, Croatia, 14 May 2010 –  “The beginning of a lifelong relationship” is how Bo Caperman from the European Commission DG Enlargement, one of the main supporters of the South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL), described the first SEECEL regional conference held between 10 – 11 May, 2010 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The conference entitled “From policy principles to policy action: South East European region's response to the European Small Business Act's recommendations for lifelong entrepreneurial learning” gathered international and regional experts who participated in developing entrepreneurial learning as a key competence. The conference should be an excellent starting point in resolving currently inadequate policies for the promotion of entrepreneurial learning in the region was the opinion of Sanjin Arifagić of the Regional Cooperation Council.

National experts from eight countries, nominated in line with the procedures identified through SEECEL’s strategic document, attended work group activities where they focused on the strategic development of entrepreneurial learning as a key competence with a specific focus on three ISCED 2 sub-groups: Learning Outcomes, Teacher Training, Entrepreneurial School Model; two ISCED 5/6 sub-groups: Curriculum Development, Entrepreneurial University Model; and the development of systematic training needs analysis (TNA) on a national and regional level.

Tihana Kraljić of the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship of the Republic of Croatia, a co-founder of SEECEL, said that „[SEECEL] demonstrates how eight countries have come together for the purposes of co-working developments in entrepreneurial learning.“

Six working groups were comprised of eight national experts coming from each SEECEL partner country and an international expert who coordinated the work groups and provided them with case studies and examples from their respective countries to further encourage discussion.

The conference succeeded in creating a common language and community of practice in the region for the development of a common but adaptable methodology.  

National experts in ISCED 2 work groups (facilitated by international experts from Denmark – Ms Susanne Gottlieb, Mr Hans Joergen Knudsen, and Mr Hans Christian Ralking) have identified the necessary changes that need to be realized in respective national curricula to describe key competences in entrepreneurial learning through learning outcomes; defined the requirements for teacher training according to national curricula; and, illustrated different models of entrepreneurial schools.  

ISCED 5/6 work group (led by international experts from Albania – Mr Gavril Lasku, and from Tunisia - Mr Lassaâd Mezghani) conceptualized learning outcomes according to national curricula; and, identified conditions necessary to qualify universities as entrepreneurial institutions.

TNA national experts with Mr Igor Nikoloski, international expert from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, defined the drafting of regional methodology and questionnaire for regional TNA essential to the implementation of regional training needs analysis; defined the ways of implementation of the first pilot regional TNA, and promotion and dissemination of results.

SEECEL’s format and platform of discussion have been a crucial starting point in enabling significant achievement in opening discussion and creating way for reaching common agreements in the development of policies and methodologies in the fields of ISCED2, ISCED 5/6 and TNA in the region. „I am fully sure this conference will be soon considered as one of the leading and most prestigious regional events in the field of education and entrepreneurship“ said Dijana Vican of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia.

“When right people gather around the table, problems become opportunities, even if the table is virtual” commented Efka Heder, director of SEECEL, when presenting SEECEL`s online community of practice, a tool which will allow national experts to continue the work they started during the conference. “This conference is a great start, but hard work is still ahead of us” she said addressing the participants. Ms. Heder added that “We should continue to build upon the efforts of SEE countries to bring forward developments in increasing economic competitiveness as it pertains to EU recommendations for entrepreneurial learning.”
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