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Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat belts! We’re setting off on a journey that connects cities through education

Edited on

28 January 2021
Read time: 3 minutes

Welcome ON BOARD! This journey of learning starts in a city in the province of Barcelona called Viladecans. But Viladecans isn’t just any city. If there’s one thing it’s known for it’s that the city has always been committed to education, with the firm belief that it is the most powerful tool for improving not only quality of life but also the city’s own efficiency and competitiveness.

With the strong belief that education does not only take place within school but anywhere and anytime and the importance of all city stakeholders in the education process, Viladecans launched in 2013 the Educational Innovation Network (EIN). EIN is a network that puts together mainly the public administration, schools, families, companies in order to jointly promote the educational success and innovation.

From 2013 to 2017, after some years with many projects and experiences with an EIN, was the time to thing bigger, and URBACT Programme and the ON BOARD project appeared at the right time to support the EIN in the definition of the action plan for the coming years. The recognition of the EIN as URBACT Good Practice in 2017 allowed us to take part in the ON BOARD project, which apart from transferring the EIN to other EU cities, allowed to immerse in an exchange and learning process together with our partner. The ON BOARDproject was thus conceived as a means to consolidate the EIN along three axes we had spotted as opportunities for improvement: 

  1. Including entities and young as active members of the network.
  2. Establishing clear indicators to assess the results and guide decisions for the future.
  3. Ensure the EIN’s future sustainability.

With URBACT and the ON BOARD project, the Viladecans EIN, which was already in motion, really hit its stride.  We started exchanging experiences with the cities of Nantes, Tallinn, Halmstad, Poznan and Albergaria-a-Velha, which helps enrich the EIN project.

Six stops were laid out on the flight path, one in each city. The first, in Viladecans, was to share strategic lines and goals for the project and to confirm the political support in the transfer and improvement of the EIN. At the second, in Halmstad (Sweden), teachers took the floor to reflect on how they can network and promote educational innovation; several pilot projects were shared, in a marketplace format, which partners would then adapt to their own cities and help them in the transfer process (? Això no é si queda bé). The third, in Albergaria-a-Velha (Portugal), discussed how the private and business sectors and universities can collaborate with schools to carry out innovative projects. Then in Tallinn (Estonia), non-formal education organisations, as well as local cultural, sport and leisure associations and entities shared their ideas to extend learning beyond class hours and school walls. Great ideas came out!

When there were just two stops left, the journey hit some turbulence, in this case in the form of a global pandemic. Covid-19 interrupted all in-person meetings, which had to be adapted to an online format, but the journey continues… 

Do you want to learn more about the Viladecans Transfer Story? click here!