All project partners participated in the creation and implementation of the activities on Work package 1 – European HEI e-repository of good practices to socially inclusive learning culture and EWS: four higher education institutions – Universitatea 1 Decembrie 1918, Alba Iulia, Romania; Universidade da Madeira, Madeira, Portugal; Universita Degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy and College of Vocational Studies for Preschool Teachers and Medical Nurses, Vrsac, Serbia as well as two non-governmental organizations – CESIE, Palermo, Italy and Western Balkans Institute, Belgrade, Serbia.
The organization and characteristics of higher education, the way it functions, the problems HEIs face and the dominant categories of underrepresented students in higher education differ greatly from country to country. Representatives of higher education institutions of the countries participating in the project described the basic characteristics of the higher education systems of their countries from the point of view of inclusive education policy and practice. Thus, in the section of the repository called High Education Systems we have contributions from Italy, Portugal, Romania and Serbia. Each partner identified and described most common social inclusion issues affecting tertiary underrepresented students (opportunities, challenges/obstacles/problems/situations) on the state level. This task was carried out through a desk research, small-scale literature review, describing education systems at the institutional level, especially consulting the documents and measures related to socially inclusive learning culture and EWS.
Recognizing, devising and creating examples of good practice was a particularly demanding and interesting challenge for all partners on the project. Our goal was to make more visible the diversity of problems of underrepresented social groups in the educational systems of different countries, as well as the variety of solutions to facilitate their enrolment in higher education institutions, to support them during their studies and after graduation to assist them with their future employment. In the selection of examples, we were guided primarily by their functionality, efficiency in solving specific social needs in certain circumstances, innovation, sustainability, the potential to be replicated in other environments and the relevant resources they have developed.
The methodological framework, criteria for the selection of examples and the method of data collection were developed by partners from Serbia – College of Vocational Studies for Preschool Teachers and Medical Nurses and the Western Balkan Institute. We defined the key elements that each example should contain and created a unique structured table, with guidelines for describing individual parts of each good practices, which all the partners used in shaping the examples from individual countries. The project partners collected the data by surveying representatives of higher education institutions in their educational systems and by desk analysis.