The Seminar Co-construction and Social Inclusion in Education, which was held on June 25 at FPCEUP, presented the outcomes of the European Project COSI.ed: Co-created Education Through Social Inclusion.

Developed in collaborative partnership with institutions from 5 European countries (Norway, Denmark, Poland, Spain and Portugal), COSI.ed kicked off its activities in 2021, inspired by the outcomes of a previous projects named Marginalisation and Co-created Education (MaCE).

Fruit of the evolution from MaCE to COSI.ed, the main goal of the programme became the enlargement of good practices for social inclusion of young people within the context of vulnerability or risk of abandoning education or training. The focus was put on 4 major aspects: 1) the importance of context; 2) indirect approach; 3) the co-construction of learning and 4) literacy for equality. At the same time, collaborative processes of knowledge construction and decision-making were emphasised, centring the educational process on the relationship between the young person and the educator adult.

Involving the local community

Professors Amélia Veiga and Ana Cristina Torres, both members from FPCEUP’s CIEE, took part in the project, in addition to Professors Eunice Macedo, Sofia Santos and Master’s alumni Mariana Fonseca.

It also included the active participation of young students and professionals from Matosinhos-based Escola de Segunda Oportunidade (ESOM), who were involved in a series of actions, including the promotion of research and learning activities applying the principals of indirect approach and the equality literacy framework; as well as the promotion of Collaborative Competence Groups with the community: young ESOM professionals, Master’s students, political decision-makers and researchers external to the Project.

Quo vadis, inclusion policies?

O COSI.ed also focused on the comparative analysis of social inclusion policies in the five participating countries, which pointed towards the intersection of the two ideas: on the one hand, the construction of more inclusive societies and, on the other, the promotion of opportunities. In this context, Professor Veiga underlines, “inclusion is looked upon as a social concept; not merely as an educational concept.

In Portugal, some aspects of these Inclusion policies were included, a.o., in the “Education and Training White Paper, which underlined the importance of Life Long Learning and the partnerships with the private sector; or even the Education Legislation 46/86, which imposed compulsory education up to the age of 15, thus promoting equal access.

In order to disseminate good practices, several reports produced over the last three years are now available in English at the COSI.ed website.