Well, what a final year we have had in the Pro-VET project. If you remember, we started way back in 2018 with a consortium of 12 partners. There were four from western Europe; JAMK UAS (FI), Aeres UAS (NL), WCI (IE), and ITB Uni HB (GE), four from Serbia; UNS, UB, NSSB and VISER/ATUSS, as well as four from Russia; RSVPU, IPPSP, MIIGAiK, and TSU. And so it remained as we started 2022, which, as the project had been extended by 12 months due to the ravages of the pandemic, was in fact our fourth and final year.
Unfortunately, in April 2022, all four of our Russian partner universities, being state funded institutions, fell victim to the consequential sanctions imposed as a direct result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and were expelled from the programme by the EU. During our collaboration over the preceding three years we developed some good personal friendships with respected colleagues from these institutions, and we wish them all a safe and secure future wherever they may be now. Until the point at which the EU took the decision to exclude these institutions from the consortium, great progress had been made in both Russia and Serbia towards meeting the project’s main goal. I am sure you will remember that we had promised to produce six VOOCs; three in Russia and three in Serbia. As it was, we actually produced four credible online courses in Russia, and three in Serbia.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all Russian and Serbian colleagues for their sterling work in creating these online learning resources. No easy task when it is your first attempt. Special mention in this regard must go once again to the VOOC development team from Novi Sad School of Business (NSSB) and the University of Novi Sad (Faculty of Economics) (UNS). The course this team created was accredited in Serbia as a credit-awarding course for the professional development of in-service vocational teachers. This remarkable achievement was recognised by the consortium when they received an award for outstanding excellence during the final roadmap conference in Belgrade.
In the main photo of this article’s the Pro-VET group is in Belgrade.
The final gathering of the consortium came in October 2022 when the University of Belgrade hosted a roadmap conference in Belgrade, Serbia. The conference was attended by the Assistant Minister for Development of Dual Education Programmes, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Republic of Serbia who, in the opening session, outlined the steps being taken to develop VET currently. Through the following three days, which showcased the project’s holistic work over the preceding years, it was apparent that Pro-VET’s work was indeed in line with the ongoing work at the national level. Indeed the roadmap of recommendations for developing VET teacher education would not only compliment the national strategy but enhance it considerably.
Finally, I would like to offer my thanks once again to all our Pro-VET team members, past and present, for their dedicated work over the past four years. I sincerely wish you all the very best of luck in future endeavours and I looking forward to working with you collaboratively in the future.
We are Pro-VET, we are Pro-VET!
Text by Graham Burns, Project Manager
Jamk University of Applied Sciences
Photo 1 by Dr Julian Ng (Warnborough College (Ireland).
Photo 2 by University of Belgrade