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Norway Grants project in Lithuania

What valuable knowledge and skills the experts of public sector gained from the training on social cluster competence development programmes?

 In 2015 the project Promotion of Sustainable Development by Strengthening the Social Clustering in Public Sector, financed by Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014, was launched. The aim of the project is to contribute to the regional policy objectives, to promote sustainable development, to strengthen the capacity and cooperation in the social sector, as well as social clustering between local and regional partners. The project was initiated by Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences in cooperation with Norwegian partner Flexible Education Norway, Vilnius College of Design, Limited liability company Gintarinė Akademija, Lithuanian College of Democracy, Utena, Druskininkai, Prienai and Birzai District Municipalities and their subordinate institutions. 

As a result of the project, the competence development programmes were created for public sector institutions’ specialists aimed at increasing of administrative and public competences, comprising inter-institutional social partnership, inter-sectoral and inter-personal trust, systemic problem resolution both in public and private sectors.

– The benefits and value of such trainings and competence development programs is long-term. Although the results of the project cannot yet be evaluated on the local or regional level, we can obviously see the changing approach of the project partners towards the social communication: on the websites of the partner institutions and organizations appears the new and specific information, related to trust, tolerance; we can notice the increasing awareness about volunteering, community movement and NGO initiatives. Development programmes, like safe and friendly neighbourhood, partnership between public, private and NGO sectors, philanthropy, etc. are implemented not only in the major cities and towns of Lithuania, but in the regions of the country as well”, assoc. prof. Giedrė Kvieskienė from Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences explains the benefits of the training and competence development programmes.

Assoc. prof. Giedrė Kvieskienė has shared the results of the European Union-based research, indicating that the EU average of adult learners in non-formal education amounts to 36.8 per cent, while in Lithuania it makes only 29, 9 per cent. Respectively, the EU average of adult learners in formal education equals to 6.2 percent and in Lithuania it is 4 percent.

  • Competence development for adult people adds to strengthening of positive attitude towards their personalities, raises their self-esteem and self-confidence. Moreover, the capacity building and training has a significant impact on the learners’ reflections, related to better employment and career opportunities, financial status and community relations, declares prof. Giedrė Kvieskienė.
    – We expect that influenced by the project, the increasing  inter-sectoral trust, the specialists of our country will consider heterogeneous development opportunities, including virtual learning modules, created as a result of the project, that will help to continuously acquire, improve and strengthen social cluster competencies.

Project coordinator

Norway Grants project results – The Benefits of Social Clustering in the Lithuanian regions

Social clustering is one of the key instruments in Europe, pertaining to social policy modernization and integration. In order to develop the competencies, relevant to public sector and social clustering, in 2015 the project Promotion of Sustainable Development by Strengthening the Social Clustering in Public Sector, financed by Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014, was launched. The project was initiated by Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences and implemented in cooperation with Norwegian partner, Flexible Education Norway, Vilnius College of Design, Limited liability company Gintarinė Akademija, Lithuanian College of Democracy, Utena, Druskininkai, Prienai and Birzai District Municipalities and their subordinate institutions.

As a project outcome, the country’s researchers have developed the study modules on social clustering aimed at our country’s public sector officials and academic community to facilitate the development of social cluster modeling competencies in order to optimize the implementation of social innovation and as well as to initiate it.

–  As every innovation is related to a variety of activities, for its implementation it is necessary to be able to design a cluster, which allows you to search for optimization, relevant to social innovation implementation. The public sector officials have an opportunity to develop the aforementioned competences while studying the modules, whereas the academic community gains knowledge on initiation and implementation of socio-educational innovations, which are enabled by creation of clusters, declares assoc. Prof. Vilija Targamadzė of Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences.

According to the researcher, social clustering is not a novelty in Lithuania, however the lack of competencies, pertaining to their understanding and design, is obvious. Assoc. Prof. Vilija Targamadzė explains, that in order to deal with emerging social or educational problems, it is necessary to concentrate forces on the resolution of the problems, taking into account their context, relevant to the rise and prospective. However, our experts and public sector officials often lack those competences.

– The famous saying “Think globally and act locally” is a perfect fit for the social cluster development in Lithuania. It is essential for our specialists to be able to identify the common social problems and mobilize the regional forces for the resolution of the issues on a regional level. Such approach would result in creation of significant regional connections, which would ensure the relevant functioning of the social cluster and give grounds for innovative approach in problem solving process”, emphasizes assoc. Prof. Vilija Targamadzė.