Virtual European Prison School

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Virtual European Prison School

The VEPS project is an EU sponsored project coordinated by The European Prison Education Association epea given the number 133878-LLP-2007-GRUNDTVIG-GMP by the EU.

The main aim of the project is to

increase the participation of prisoners in lifelong learning in order to enable their reintegration into the society after release. The project is designed to reinforce the role of educational policies in prisons taking into consideration the Recommendation No. R (89) 12 , EDUCATION IN PRISON, of the Council of Europe . The project seeks to find solutions to actual identified needs of teaching and learning processes in European prisons, and to develop strategic policy statements addressed to the decision makers of penitentiary systems at European level.

The project aims will be achieved

by means of appropriate activities carried out by experienced professionals in this specific field. The project will help to use the best existing practices in prisons in an innovative way. It is planed to transfer, adapt and test effective models from three countries (IE SE, NO) into other four prison systems (BG, CZ, EL, UK). The technology of that transfer will be published on the project website. Making the process of transferring transparent and accessible online is an innovation itself in a closed system as the prison system is. The establishment of a project website, which will serve as a Virtual European Prison School (VEPS) for the wide EPEA membership in 35 European countries, will give a real European dimension of the project. The creation of a European platform for exchange of specialized penitentiary teaching materials, practices, organisational and pedagogical approaches and tools, will set the trends in the field and could encourage innovative processes in other countries not involved in the project.

The implementation

of the module system and the distance learning are effective approaches for making the prisoners’ learning more flexible and individually oriented. The adoption of specialised programs for key competences and personal development give prisoners realistic chances for personal change. Changed attitudes of offenders towards themselves and the general society are considered to be the best way of reducing the level of re-offending. The project will contribute to the incorporation of the tested practices into the national educational and/or penitentiary systems. The project results and the conclusions made will be presented at the planned conference to the key decision makers, responsible for the policies in prisons. The implementation of appropriate educational policies in prisons is not only to the benefit of the learner behind bars, successful re-integration of offenders is in favour of the civil society in general.