An Erasmus+ initiative has been launched to extend Online Linguistic Support (OLS) to refugees. Erasmus+ OLS currently offers online language courses in EU official languages to higher education students, vocational education and training learners and young volunteers taking part through the Erasmus+ beneficiary institution or organisation. However, the European Commission has recently decided to extend this service to around 100,000 refugees over 3 years, on a voluntary basis and free of charge. ETUCE informs that this should be regarded only as a complementary effort to EU Member States to integrate refugees into Europe's education and training systems and ensure their skills development. In addition, it should be ensured that these online language teachers are qualified language teachers.

ETUCE also considers that while e-learning opportunities can play an important role in improving access to education, online education and MOOCs should not be an opportunity for governments to reduce public funding or to increase managerial control over teachers and academic staff. Moreover, teaching staff, should have the freedom to select and use teaching and support materials which they believe to be appropriate, as set out in the ETUCE policy paper on the 21st century teaching profession and the use of ICT.

Noteworthy is that teachers as experts for teaching and learning and their trade unions, as experts for professional development and social dialogue, should be involved in processes of implementation of e-learning-tools and programmes. In this respect, it is important the prospective ETUCE MOOC on teacher training on Citizenship Education and European Common values; a massive open online course consisting of 6 teaching units focused on democratic and multicultural learning environments; controversial topics; e-safety issues; the prevention of radicalization and ‘the whole school approach’ for social inclusion.

To find out more about the Erasmus+ Online Learning Support initiative for Refugees, click here.

To find out more about the MOOC EU CONVINCE project, click here.