Project is implemented in the framework of year 2009 program of the European Integration Fund for Third-country citizens funded by European Union (75%), and (25%) funded by Latvian state budget.
From March 2011- June 2011 Education Development Center (EDC) implemented the project “Intercultural interaction, diversity and tolerance” in the framework of program for European Integration Fund for Third- country citizens.
The aim of European Integration Fund for Third- country Citizens is the integration for third- country citizens in Latvian society, by promoting its latitude, tolerance and improving the competence of pedagogues in their work with third- country citizens.
The general aim of the project “Intercultural interaction, diversity and tolerance” was the integration of third- country citizens in Latvian society, by promoting society’s latitude, tolerance and by improving pedagogues’ competence. On the basis of long-term traditions in intercultural education and by continuing the started work in the project ”Development of teachers’ professional competence in intercultural education”, the team of EDC is certain that one of the most effective ways for achieving this aim is the capacity building of both the individual pedagogue, and each education institution for the development of a favorable and inclusive environment in which everybody feels accepted and which allows everybody to learn, to share, to give and take in order to form strong fundaments for their future. Such successful action of pedagogues and educational institution may happen if it is based on knowledge and skills in issues concerning intercultural communication and if these skills and knowledge translate into daily actions.
According to this the learning program “Improvement of Teacher’s Professional Competence in Intercultural Education” developed and approbated in 2010 was improved, several professional development activities in 5 Latvian regions took place, as well as the methodological material ”Intercultural communication” was re-designed, which will be available for everyone both in EDC web site www.iac.edu.lv and in further education program. Those interested in the program can apply in EDC the program and the methodological material includes the following content areas:
- What is intercultural communication
- Cultural aspect in intercultural communication;
- Communication in multi-lingual environment;
- Pedagogical and psychological aspects of intercultural interaction;
- Intercultural education;
- Social aspect of intercultural communication;
- School as a social system
According to the reviews of project members and work evaluation of the project group in the framework of activities performed during the project, EDC has managed to give remarkable contribution for the integration of the third-country citizens in Latvian society which means the specific and general aim of the project was achieved. Pedagogues who were involved in project activities have improved their knowledge and skills in issues concerning intercultural communication; they have in more details got acquainted with current situation in Latvia, reconsidered their attitude towards third- country citizens, their needs and potential in promoting the development of Latvian society, as well as understood how much daily work of teachers can improve or delay not only the opportunities of each child to gain qualitative education and form into the participatory member of the society, but also the integration processes in Latvian society in general. Updated professional development program for teachers, which was acquired by 169 seminar participants, in future will be part of EDC offer and will be available for everybody who is interested, including managers of educational work, who choose the content teachers’ professional development.
The methodological materials are available for everyone in EDC web page, the articles published in the project and reviews in mass media, in their turn, have promoted discussions in the society and helped to form favorable attitude towards increasing diversity by using the base of topical information.
As pedagogues are among those professions, which directly meet with various people, education of pedagogues may be considered as the most effective and strategic permanent investment in promoting inclusive and tolerant society in Latvia.
The result of project is also the methodological material “Intercultural interaction” (http://www.iac.edu.lv/assets/Uploads/Materiali/IACGramataL2.pdf, worked out by EDC which is envisaged to encourage pedagogues- practitioners to think, to search possibilities and solutions in their class and school, to listen more attentively to their pupils, to look outside the school, to search for rational, creative and working solutions to ensure that the existing diversity is a resource and benefit for successful and harmonic development of every individual and the whole country.