Extended Student Practicum

Since October 2010, the implementation of the Extended Student Practicum of the Department of Primary Education (https://www.eled.uowm.gr/ ) of the Florina School of Social Sciences and Humanities of the University of Western Macedonia is in progress, being included in the Education and Lifelong Learning Operational Program co-financed by the European Social Fund and National Resources (Priority Axis 2 “Upgrading of initial vocational training and vocational training systems and linking education to the labor market”). Students of the Department can select it and therefore, it will be included in their degree as an Elective Course.

The Act was dictated by the need to equip future teachers with qualifications and skills that will enable them to face a complex and ever-changing reality, something that is expected to result from their collaboration with scientists, professors and tools of other specialties.

With the general purpose of expanding, upgrading and improving the existing student practicum of the Department, and given the need to find opportunities to expand the scientific interests and employment opportunities of tomorrow’s teachers, the individual objectives pursued through the Extended Student Practicum are the following:

  1. the facilitation and support of the professional orientation of the future teachers in new professional and scientific directions;
  2. the strengthening of the Program of Studies through the education and training of the students in new subjects and new workplaces;
  3. the connection of the Department with extracurricular institutions and consequently the strengthening of its role at the scientific, social and business level;
  4. the connection of the University of Western Macedonia with certified employment agencies through the use of the possibilities of modern information and communication technologies.

The Department’s practicum can be implemented in the private or public sector in institutions related to formal or non-formal education or in other institutions that are directly or indirectly related to the subjects taught in the Department. These may be: primary school classes, special schools, Roma or refugee classes, reception classes, museums, libraries, research centers, environmental organizations, NGOs, educational software development companies, Children’s Creative Employment Centers, camps, cultural associations, etc.

Since 2013, within the program for the Extended Student Practicum of the University of Western Macedonia, the Department of Primary Education, like all the Departments of the Institution, is registered in the Central Support System of the Student Practicum “Atlas” (http://atlas.grnet.gr). Atlas is a central internet service, which connects the student practicum providers with all the Academic Institutions of the territory, creating a unified database of student practicum positions which are available for selection in the Institutions. At the same time, it offers comprehensive information on issues related to the labor market and students’ first steps in it.

The Department has appointed the Associate Professor Angeliki Sakellariou as scientifically responsible for the Extended Student Practicum, while a three-member Committee consisting of her, the Associate Professor and Head of the Department Mr. Ioannis Thoidis and the Assistant Professor Karolina Retali who evaluates students’ applications.

Students are employed by the institutions for two months, insured through the National Social Insurance Agency and paid for their work by the Extended Student Practicum, without burdening the institutions with financial obligation towards them.

In the context of the design of Extended Student Practicum, collaboration is sought with the Employment and Career Structure (DASTA, http://dasta.uowm.gr/  of the University of Western Macedonia) in order to find suitable student practice positions for groups of students with disabilities, as well as for students coming from vulnerable social groups. In addition, emphasis is placed on undertaking specific activities for the appropriate information, preparation, support and empowerment of specific groups of individuals.

The evaluation of its implementation and of the results of the Department’s actions is carried out through the establishment of a system of feedback and evaluation offered by the beneficiaries, the host bodies and the scientifically responsible person of the Extended Student Practicum. Questionnaires, diaries of beneficiaries, reports of the parties, as well as final reports on the implementation of the actions are utilized as evaluation tools. Since 2018, within the program for the Extended Practicum of the University of Western Macedonia, the Department of Primary Education, the students, the host institutions and the scientifically responsible person use the information system Iposition UOWM https://arch.icte.uowm.gr/iposition/index.php?r=site/index. There, the employers and the students submit the attendance book and complete their questionnaire and reports, while the scientifically responsible person completes a report and an evaluation questionnaire; thus assessing each student.

The academic level of the faculty members, the level of performance of the students, the infrastructure of the Department, as well as the mechanisms that control and evaluate the actions developed on a permanent basis are guarantees for the quality of the implemented actions within the Extended Student Practicum.

The development of the Extended Student Practicum at the Department results in the cooperation of working bodies with the University, the dissemination of knowledge through alternative forms of education and training, as well as the dissemination of research results. In this way it contributes to tackling socio-economic problems and the development of Western Macedonia, which is one of the least developed regions of Greece, and in fact with very high unemployment rates.

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