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European Union Investment in future This project is funded by European Union from European Social Fund PROJECT: PROMOTING EMPLOYABILITY OF YOUNG POPULATION AT GEOGRAPHICALLY ISOLATED / REMOTE ISLANDS IPA4.1.5.2.02.01.c07 Project coordinator: Project partners: EU implementing body level 1: DEŠA – Dubrovnik SVIMA Association for Civil Society Organisations and Civil Initiatives Development Association for Sustainable Development of the Island of Rava Craft College Secondary School of Electromechanical Engineering Varaždin Government of the Republic of Croatia Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs ACTIVITY 1.2.2. CARRYING PEER-REVIEW (COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS) - HOW DIFFERENT EU MEMBER STATES / REGIONS COPE WITH THE ISSUE OF YOUNG POPULATION’S EMPLOYABILITY AND SOCIAL INCLUSION AT EUROPEAN ISLANDS PEER-REVIEW REPORT Delivered by: Nenad Vakanjac January 2015
Transcript
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European Union

Investment in future

This project is funded by European Union

from European Social Fund

PROJECT:

PROMOTING EMPLOYABILITY OF YOUNG

POPULATION AT GEOGRAPHICALLY ISOLATED /

REMOTE ISLANDS

IPA4.1.5.2.02.01.c07

Project coordinator: Project partners: EU implementing body level 1: EU implementing body level 2:

DEŠA – Dubrovnik

SVIMA – Association for Civil Society Organisations and Civil Initiatives Development Association for Sustainable Development of the Island of Rava Craft College Secondary School of Electromechanical Engineering Varaždin

Government of the Republic of Croatia

Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs

National Foundation for Civil Society Development

ACTIVITY 1.2.2. CARRYING PEER-REVIEW (COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS)

- HOW DIFFERENT EU MEMBER STATES / REGIONS COPE WITH

THE ISSUE OF YOUNG POPULATION’S EMPLOYABILITY

AND SOCIAL INCLUSION AT EUROPEAN ISLANDS

PEER-REVIEW REPORT

Delivered by: Nenad Vakanjac

January 2015

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The content of this document is the sole responsibility

of DEŠA – Dubrovnik and project partners

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1. Data sheet of the Peer-review

CONTACT INFORMATION

Name of the national expert responsible for the peer-review Nenad Vakanjac

Telephone, fax, e-mail 091 595 34 06, [email protected]

Other persons responsible Not applicable

MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE PEER-REVIEW

To analyse (i) the extent of Croatian policy framework that deals with the employability and

associated social inclusion issues of the young persons from geographically isolated/remote

Croatian islands (ii) how relevant Croatian measures are managed by the national line

institutions and local authorities

To pinpoint main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

To assist the pilot-network/pilot-coalition members to further understand how well relevant

policy framework and measures work in their EU member states and, hence support the pilot-

network/pilot-coalition members in making concrete recommendation for improvements

TYPE OF THE PEER REVIEW

Single Peer-review, non-reciprocal

Reciprocal Peer-review

Peer-review in a Network

SCOPE OF THE PEER-REVIEW -

AS PER LATEST REVISION OF

RELEVANT PROJECT ACTIVITY:

- National policies/strategic measures relevant for the

sustainability and social cohesion of geographically

isolated/remote islands in the context of the European

Structural and Investment Funds

- Sharing of good practices concerning the national and

regional policy frameworks and specific

measures/practices in different EU member states

aimed at developing the new approaches to

distance/open education and geographically distributed

educational institutions/networked educational

provision in the context of European islands’

communities.

- Sharing of good practices concerning the national and

regional policy frameworks and specific

measures/practices in different EU member states

aimed at designing the flexible educational/training

models at islands

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QUALITY AREAS - LIST OF SPECIFIC PEER-REVIEW ISSUES FOR THE FOREIGN PEERS (AS

PEER TERMS OF REFERENCES FOR PEERS)

Foreign peer from an EU member state 1 - National policies/strategic measures relevant for the

sustainability and social cohesion of geographically isolated/remote islands in the context of the

European Structural and Investment Funds

The specific objective of this foreign expert’s peer-review assignment was to assess how effectively

national policies/strategic documents address the sustainability and social cohesion of geographically

isolated/remote islands, including the employability and associated social inclusion issues of the

young islanders, in the context of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds

Subsequently, the assignment was composed of the following activities:

a) Tailor-made workshop

An expert will develop and deliver a tailor-made workshop for the representatives of Croatian

organisations involved in the project on the topic of (working title of the workshop) “How can – or could

- new EU policies help islands to face their challenges, and seize opportunities?”. The maximum

duration of the workshop will be 3 hours (including a coffee break). The following list of sub-topics shall

be covered– the list is not exhaustive and other appropriate sub-topics / elements may be included as

well:

The main features and impact of the ESPON (European Spatial Planning Observatory

Network) project/targeted analysis EUROISLANDS-The Development of the Islands –

European Islands and Cohesion Policy (i.e. deeper knowledge of the European islands

situation, classifications, policies and future potential and other elements of relevant reference

framework for further political development) with emphasis on the impact of the

initiative/project on the smaller European islands (i.e. less than 10.000 inhabitants);

The new generation of the ESPON 2020 programme and its potential relevance to European

small islands

The new 2014 – 2020 Cohesion Policy and European small islands;

Allocating the EU’s ESI Funds while taking on board European small island’s dimension –

potential/concrete special status for European small islands in the context of the new ESI

Funds

ESI Funds Structured Dialogue launched in 2014 – main features and first

milestones/outcomes of the initiative (accomplished in November-December 2014);

Good practice examples from the EU member states – effective inclusion of the small islands

issues in national Operational Programmes for the European Regional Development Fund

and/or the European Social Fund

b) Structured discussion/small-scale audit

Following the completion of the workshop, a structured discussion /small-scale audit of relevant

strategic priorities/measures will be conducted on the basis of other relevant activities carried put

within the framework of the project.

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Foreign peer from an EU member state 2 - Sharing of good practices concerning the national and

regional policy frameworks and specific measures/practices in different EU member states aimed at

developing the new approaches to distance/open education and geographically distributed educational

institutions/networked educational provision in the context of European islands’ communities

The specific objective of this foreign expert’s peer-review assignment was to facilitate the sharing of

good practices the national and regional policy frameworks and specific measures/practices in

different EU member states aimed at developing the new approaches to distance/open education and

geographically distributed educational institutions/networked educational provision, as a contribution to

improved development on and in European islands’ communities.

Subsequently, the assignment is composed of the following activities

a) Tailor-made workshop

A staff member/expert from the Lews Castle College will develop and deliver a tailor-made workshop

for the representatives of Croatian organisations involved in the project on the topic of (working title of

the workshop) “Development of the new approaches to distance/open education and geographically

distributed educational institutions/networked educational provision, as a contribution to improved

development on and in European islands’ communities”. The maximum duration of the workshop will

be 3 hours (including a coffee break). The following list of sub-topics shall be covered– the list is not

exhaustive and other appropriate sub-topics / elements may be included as well:

An overview of the Isle of Lewis and (if applicable) other smaller Scottish islands (with less

than 10.000 of regular inhabitants) covered by the University of the Highlands and Islands

(UHI) services, including specific geographical features and unique challenges particularly in

relation to island(s) small size, population density/demographic issues, isolation/remoteness

and high dependence on specific economic activities/economic vulnerability;

The effectiveness of national and regional (NUTS II and, if applicable, NUTS III level)

policies/strategic frameworks that have a direct impact on Scottish islands development;

The development of the UHI, with emphasis on the UHI’s partners, i.e. colleges, research

institutions and local learning centres, based on smaller Scottish islands,

The impact of the UHI’s concept on the local economy /creation of jobs at smaller islands,

employability and social inclusion of the young population from the smaller island and (if

applicable) to the temporary/permanent growth of the island’s population.

Specific features of the Lews Castle College, including the impact on relevant issues;

The main features of the “remote students” from the islands with low population density,

including students enrolled in different vocational training (adult learning) right through the

undergraduate and postgraduate degrees;

Other good-practice examples from the EU member states on the new approaches to

distance/open education and geographically distributed educational institutions/networked

educational provision, as a contribution to improved development on and in European islands’

communities;

The “top-down” approach in developing relevant initiatives (distance/open education and

geographically distributed educational institutions/networked educational provision) Versus the

“bottom-up” approach, i.e. the animation of the smaller islands’ grassroots communities for

participation in the development of relevant initiatives;

The role of the Structural funds (European Social Fund and European Regional Development

Fund) in the overall development of the island and, in particular, in the development of UHI’s

network– an overview of relevant strategic priorities/measures within Scottish Operational

Programmes (OP) for European Social Fund and/or European Regional Development Fund as

well as specific projects designed/EU grants obtained for the development of the UHI’s

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network on the basis of the OPs strategic priorities/measures.

b) Structured discussion/small-scale audit

Following the completion of the workshop, a structured discussion /small-scale audit of relevant

strategic priorities/measures will be conducted on the basis of other relevant activities carried put

within the framework of the project (i.e. Baseline assessment of Croatian policies, measures and

incentives oriented towards the sustainability of the islands’ communities in the context of the

employability and social inclusion of young population).

Foreign peer from an EU member state 3 - Sharing of good practices concerning the national and

regional policy frameworks and specific measures/practices in different EU member states aimed at

designing the flexible educational/training models at islands

The specific objective of this foreign expert’s peer-review assignment was to facilitate the sharing of

good practices concerning the national and regional policy frameworks and specific

measures/practices in different EU member states aimed at designing the flexible educational/training

models at islands. Such educational/training models should:

Contribute to the process of enriching and activating untapped islands resources for

educational/academic purposes;

Lead to the growth of the island’s population outside the summer season (e.g. “Winter/Spring

Academies” or similar on-going activities);

Support local and sustainable energy actions, i.e. sustainable energy planning and

awareness;

Be based on the firm potential in terms of the utilisation of the EU structural funds (European

Social Fund and/or European Regional Development Fund) for its development and

implementation.

Subsequently, the assignment was composed of the following activities

a) Tailor-made workshop

A staff member/expert the Samsø Energy Academy will develop and deliver a tailor-made workshop

for the representatives of Croatian organisations involved in the project on the topic of (working title of

the workshop) “Development of the measures/practices aimed at designing the flexible

educational/training models on the basis of the Samsø Energy Academy example”. The maximum

duration of the workshop will be 3 hours (including a coffee break). The following list of sub-topics shall

be covered– the list is not exhaustive and other appropriate sub-topics / elements may be included as

well:

An overview of the island of Samsø, including specific geographical features and unique

challenges particularly in relation to its small size, population density/demographic issues,

isolation/remoteness and high dependence on specific economic activities/economic

vulnerability;

The effectiveness of national and regional (NUTS II and, if applicable, NUTS III level)

policies/strategic frameworks that have a direct impact on the island’s development;

An overview of the development of Samsø as Denmark’s renewable energy

island/demonstration case since 1997, including the impact of relevant concept on the local

economy and creation of jobs;

The Samsø Energy Academy: vision, mission, core activities, an overview of the exemplary

activities (researches, exhibitions, workshops, corporate events for various target groups,

including the Energy Camp, Samsø Energy Tours, Energy Safari Samsø Skive, etc.)

The role of the Structural funds (European Social Fund and European Regional Development

Fund) in the overall development of the island and, in particular, in the development of the

Samsø Energy Academy – an overview of relevant strategic priorities/measures within Danish

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Operational Programmes (OP) for European Social Fund and/or European Regional

Development Fund as well as specific projects designed/EU grants obtained for the

development of the Samsø Energy Academy on the basis of the OPs strategic

priorities/measures;

Public participation, local ownership and community organization with respect to the Samsø

Energy Academy;

The impact of the Samsø Energy Academy on the employability and social inclusion of the

young population from the island of Samsø and (if applicable) to the temporary/permanent

growth of the island’s population..

b) Structured discussion/small-scale audit

Following the completion of the workshop, a structured discussion /small-scale audit of relevant

strategic priorities/measures and envisaged educational/training models of Croatian organisations will

be conducted on the basis of other relevant activities carried put within the framework of the project

LIST OF THE PEER-REVIEW TEAM MEMBERS WITH NAMES AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Function Name Institution E-mail

Peer-review

National

Expert

Nenad Vakanjac not applicable [email protected]

Peer 1 Christian Pleijel Sweco TransportSystem AB,

Sweden

[email protected]

Peer 2

Frank Rennie Lews Castle College, University of

the Highlands and Islands,

Scotland

[email protected]

Peer 3 Søren Hermansen Samsø Energy Academy,

Denmark

[email protected]

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Søren Hermansen cancelled his peer-review assignment on 5 January 2015.

Subsequently, it was not possible to engage his replacement neither from Samsø Energy Academy

nor from other relevant institutions in Denmark or other EU member state

DATES OF THE PEER-REVIEW MISSION AS PER QUALITY AREAS

Quality areas Dates

National policies/strategic measures relevant for the sustainability and social

cohesion of geographically isolated/remote islands in the context of the

European Structural and Investment Funds

19 – 20 January

2015

Sharing of good practices concerning the national and regional policy

frameworks and specific measures/practices in different EU member states

aimed at developing the new approaches to distance/open education and

geographically distributed educational institutions/networked educational

provision in the context of European islands’ communities

21 – 22 January

2015

Sharing of good practices concerning the national and regional policy

frameworks and specific measures/practices in different EU member states

aimed at designing the flexible educational/training models at islands

Not applicable – see

the Important Notice

above

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SIGNATURES OF THE PEER-REVIEW TEAM MEMBERS

___________________________

NENAD VAKANJAC

____________________________

CHRISTIAN PLEIJEL

___________________________

FRANK RENNIE

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2. Key conclusions of the Peer-review visit (including specific policy

recommendations)

QUALITY AREA 1:

NATIONAL POLICIES/STRATEGIC MEASURES RELEVANT FOR THE SUSTAINABILITY AND

SOCIAL COHESION OF GEOGRAPHICALLY ISOLATED/REMOTE ISLANDS IN THE CONTEXT

OF THE EUROPEAN STRUCTURAL AND INVESTMENT FUNDS

I.

The ESPON 2013 programme has firmly established the term insularity within the framework of

relevant EU cohesion policies: the insularity is, hence considered to a permanent feature affecting

negatively, directly and indirectly, the attractiveness of European islands and subsequently lowering

their performance in terms of sustainable development. These characteristics of islands are not

compatible with attractiveness principles of the dominant development model, which is characterised

by mass production of standardised goods and the knowledge intensive and highly multi-specialized

urban economies. As a result of the EPSON 2013 programme, relevant EU policies firmly

acknowledged that activities on islands:

Can not enjoy the privilege of economies of scale as islands are characterised by limited

variety and quantity of resources;

Can not have good accessibility and low transport cost, as islands are isolated and remote

areas; Can not profit from agglomeration externalities as islands have limited markets and

activities.

Each national strategy should adapt to islands’ specificities and needs the guidelines of the 2020

European strategy. The fact that European islands have specific characteristics and permanent

natural handicaps should not lead to the conclusion that islands are handicapped territories. On the

contrary this supports the view that islands need the right strategy to valorize these characteristics

within the European and the global environment. The modification of the European EUROPE 2020

strategy to national islands’ 2020 strategies yields three priorities:

EUROPE 2020 Strategy Islands 2020 Strategy

Smart growth: developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation

Qualitative islands: focusing on well branded, quality products and services using local resources destined to niche markets

Sustainable growth: promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy

Green islands: reducing the use and growing the reuse of scarce resources such as water, land, energy

Inclusive growth: fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion

Equal Opportunities islands: giving the same opportunities to insular organisations and populations to perform as in European mainland

Other principles have to be followed when designing national islands strategies in order to achieve

territorial cohesion. These include:

(a) the respect of the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty towards the regions with permanent natural or

demographic handicaps (articles 174, 175 and 170);

(b) the provision for equivalent opportunities to all European citizens to achieve their goals;

(c) the respect of the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity; and

(d) the promotion of endogenous development.

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In addition to the above principles, a policy framework for islands should respect differences among

islands arising from the different intensity with which the insularity characteristics act on attractiveness

and the overall performance of the European islands. The intensity of policy options, as well as the

funds, should be adjusted accordingly

II.

The Treaty on the functioning of the EU (article 107, 3,c) allows EU funds/aid to be used at the

national level to facilitate the development of certain areas where it does not significantly affect

competition (“category c” regions). In this category are included areas with a GDP per head below the

EU-25 average, those with unemployment over 15% higher than the national average or those with

major structural changes as well as regions with permanent obstacles (islands with a population of

5000 or less, regions with low population density etc); this means that an island of 6000 inhabitants

affect competition more than a central continental area with some million inhabitants and high

unemployment rate. EU has to reconsider the criteria of this “category c” in order to take into account

in one hand the magnitude of population in order to respond to the criterion “affect competition” and in

the other hand the attractiveness parameters of different EU regions; such a modification would

include all the EU island regions and islands within this category.

Having said that, the Local Actions Groups created by Leader initiative comprising the principal local

actors could assume the elaboration and implementation of the Rural Development Plans on the

island level.

III.

The training and the lifelong learning of employers, self-employed, employed and unemployed people

adapted for small and isolated populations. The promotion of e-learning services, the financing of high

level courses for small groups , the financing of specific studies, necessary for the success of local

development plans, out of the island are some examples.

IV.

Concerning the implementation and the monitoring of a policy adapted to the specific characteristics

and needs of the islands, the unavailability of data at the island level- restricts a more analytical work

as the use of NUTS 2 and NUTS 3 information (when it is available) cannot reflect the islands’ reality

(archipelagos, coastal islands). Specific analysis/data gathering at the national level should fill this

gap.

V.

When it comes to the ESPON 2020 programme, EU Member States have been working on shaping

the Cooperation Programme for ESPON 2020 and a draft version of the Cooperation Programme has

now been prepared. The ESPON 2020 Cooperation Programme will address Objective 11 as follows:

“Enhancing institutional capacity and an efficient public administration by strengthening of institutional

capacity and the efficiency of public administrations and public services related to implementation of

the ERDF, and in support of actions in institutional capacity and in the efficiency of public

administration supported by the ESF”.

The ambition is to renew, refocus and upgrade ESPON learning, including the issues related to

European islands, from the experience from the ESPON 2013 Programme implementation.

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Building on this overall mission statement, the draft ESPON 2020 Cooperation Programme sets out

five specific objectives for activities during 2014-2020 in order to: (1) produce territorial evidence

through applied research; (2) upgrade knowledge transfer and support to users in targeted analyses

and policy briefs/working papers; (3) improve territorial observation of Europe and tools for analyses;

(4) widen outreach and uptake of territorial analyses; and (5) deliver a more streamlined administrative

structure to promptly inform policy processes.

VI.

On the basis of Article 5(6) of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 (Common Provisions Regulation), the

Commission set up an expert group with partners at EU level in the field of the European Structural

and Investment Funds (ESI Funds), for the programming period 2014-2020.

The "Structured Dialogue with European Structural and Investment Funds' partners group of experts"

was formally established through Commission Decision C(2014) 4175 of 26 June 2014. The mission

of the Structured Dialogue group of experts is to establish an open, frank and informal dialogue with

partners working in the field of the ESI Funds. The Structured Dialogue is a mutual trust building

mechanism in order to bring the ESI Funds closer to civil society, assist the Commission in the

development of this policy in the different areas of expertise and to discuss the implementation of the

ESI Funds.

The group shall have the following tasks:

to support the work of the Commission as regards the development of cohesion policy, the

policy of rural development, the Common Fisheries Policy and the integrated maritime policy

in different areas of expertise, in particular in relation tođ the thematic objectives set out in

Article 9 of Regulation (EU) 1303/2013;

to assist the Commission on questions relating to the implementation of support from the

European Structural and Investment Funds in so far as they are based on Regulations (EU)

No 1303/2013, No 1299/2013, No 1300/2013, No 1301/2013, No 1304/2013 and No

508/2014;

to monitor the evolution of policy in the field of partnership and multilevel governance;

to bring about an exchange of experience and good practices in the field of partnership and

multilevel governance.

The members of the Structured Dialogue are umbrella organisations at EU level. Small European

islands will be represented by two experts from European Small island Federation – ESIN: Mr

Christian Pleijel with Mr Elefteris Kechagioglou as a substitute.

The first meeting of the "Structured Dialogue with European Structural and Investment Funds' partners

group of experts" was held in Brussels on 12 November 2014. The meeting, inter alia, stressed the

importance of: Community-Led Local Development - CLLDs (in jargon also known as local action

groups). One-size fit all policies as well as sector-specific policies have shown their limitations in

addressing local needs. CLLD is inspired from the LEADER approach, which has been successfully

implemented since 1991 in the context of the EU support to rural development. In 2014-2020, CLLD is

open to all ESI funds and compulsory under the EAFRD. Finally, multi-fund approaches are possible,

but experiences to date are limited A single methodology for CLLD is applicable across all Funds and

regions EAFRD, EMFF, ERDF and ESF. Hence, all territories can benefit from relevant EU support,

including European small islands (both rural and urban areas of small islands).

When it comes to the specific issue of insularity/European small islands’ issues, relevant DG Regio’s

statistics expert complained during the meeting over the fact that there is no data on European small

Islands below municipality level.

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Relevant expert argued that the requirement that 40% of Structural Funds for islands should be ESF

is inappropriate and should be reduced by half to reflect the fact that ERDF is a better programme for

addressing structural handicaps and ESF is less suited to areas with low population.

VII.

In Croatia (as in several other EU member states with small island territories), there is a lack of

comprehensive data (what is “young” islander ; how many young people are lacking jobs (except in

summer), gender perspectives), there is a lack of explicit consequences if we do nothing, and there is

a lack of responsibility given to the young themselves, with support , funding and mentoring.

Croatian young islanders seem to think that it is possible to create new jobs and other lifelong learning

opportunities in the areas of quality tourism, visitor centres/small-scale expert academies, local

product branding, small ecological footprints, energy saving projects, low-carbon transports – “Green

jobs” - see Annex 2. of this Peer-review Report for relevant details. During the peer-review

assignment, a small-scale audit/structured discussion with Croatian counterparts was undertaken by

means of the Six Thinking Hats tool - the tool for group discussion and individual thinking involving six

colored hats. "Six Thinking Hats" and the associated idea parallel thinking provide a means for groups

to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way, and in doing so to think together more

effectively. Six distinct directions are identified and assigned a colour. The six directions are:

Managing Blue - what is the subject? what are we thinking about? what is the goal?

Information White - considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?

Emotions Red - intuitive or instinctive gut reactions or statements of emotional feeling (but not

any justification)

Discernment Black - logic applied to identifying reasons to be cautious and conservative

Optimistic response Yellow - logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony

Creativity Green - statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes

VIII.

Croatian national authorities/line institutions should be duly taken into consideration the fact that

proportionality which effectively means that small and geographically isolated islands require more

support than mainland/more developed island areas to deliver the same goals due to the additional

costs of insularity. Small islands should qualify for a specific additional allowance, as well as higher

co-financing rates (higher intervention rates) to reflect the additional costs of insularity. However, it

would appear that at this juncture the European Commission is not considering providing any extra

funding to geographically disadvantaged areas on the basis that such specificities are not considered

problems; rather such areas should look towards their potential and opportunities. It is also of the

opinion that there is no one policy suited to addressing territorial challenges and that these are best

addressed at Member State or regional level. Therefore, it is proposed that relevant civil society

organisation in Croatia separately, and collectively through the networks at the national/EU level,

target its lobbying efforts at Croatian Government/line institutions in particular, to ensure that future EU

funding programmes are developed to address small and geographically isolated islands and

peripheral areas’ unique social and economic circumstances.

Islands are markets/territories apart and State Aid rules should be applied flexibly. There should be is

a common set of principles for small and geographically isolated islands governing EAFRD , ERDF

and ESF reflecting EU2020 through common thematic objectives to be addressed by key actions for

each of the funds. Relevant civil society organisation from Scotland and Ireland argue that ESF is of

less benefit to islands than ERDF because ESF deals mainly with social issues, training, etc, and is

more suited to urban areas, and also because of the low population base, i.e. they argue that this rule

must be made more flexible as ERDF is a more suitable vehicle for the islands.

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QUALITY AREA 2:

SHARING OF GOOD PRACTICES CONCERNING THE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL POLICY

FRAMEWORKS AND SPECIFIC MEASURES/PRACTICES IN DIFFERENT EU MEMBER STATES

AIMED AT DEVELOPING THE NEW APPROACHES TO DISTANCE/OPEN EDUCATION AND

GEOGRAPHICALLY DISTRIBUTED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS/NETWORKED

EDUCATIONAL PROVISION IN THE CONTEXT OF EUROPEAN ISLANDS’ COMMUNITIES.

I.

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) is the only university based in the islands of

Scotland. The UHI in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland is a distributed Higher Education Institute

spread over 15 academic partners and more than 50 local learning centres, covering in excess of

40,000 km2 of northern Scotland, including over 90 inhabited islands and some of the most sparsely

populated corners of mainland UK. Since 1993, the UHI has focused on bringing higher education

opportunities to people in geographically dispersed locations throughout the Highlands and Islands of

Scotland, and by recent extension, to other parts of the UK and Europe. These students are typically

cast as 'remote students' (i.e. remote from the main teaching campus, but the essential point is that

students do not need to leave their home area in order to pursue their studies. As a federated network

of 15 existing colleges and research centres, it is spread over a very wide geographical area with the

second lowest population density in Europe. There is no university actually located within this large

region, although a number of of Higher Education institutes have supported students in the region

through distance and distributed learning. UHI offers access courses in further education and

vocational training, right through to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. There is some

specialisation of subjects by the different colleges, but most degree courses are delivered jointly

across the UHI network. This means that the aim of networked courses is to ensure that wherever the

student is located, a range of courses can be studied. For these reasons, distributed learning (as

defined below) represents and attractive solution to enable the UHI to deliver diverse formats of

educational resources (usually, but not always, digital) throughout the region. A key characteristic of

UHI is therefore the networking of courses, such that students in any location can study courses

delivered from other parts of the network that are offered using a range of advanced technologies that

can supplement or replace face-to-face tuition. Furthermore, UHI aims to be responsive to the local

(region-specific) context in its choice of curriculum and research focus. For further details/slides see

Annex 3. of this Peer-review Report.

II.

From this context it can be seen that the UHI has a strong interest in the support of distributed learning

systems that are flexible enough to permit easy access to multi-mode educational resources, over a

wide geographical area, to small rural communities on islands and mountainous locations. Even in a

higher education institution such as this, however, there is a great diversity of perception of the

definition, function, and design of distributed educational resources, so a short synthesis of some

relevant literature will serve to provide clarity on the common ground. Amongst the plethora of

definitions of distributed learning, there is little common ground. For some, the practice is synonymous

with distance learning and e-learning; for others it is identical to the term blended learning. While

blended learning is also a contentious term, it generally refers to a combination of face-to-face and

online learning (such as using e-learning to complement classroom activity or vice-versa).

For the purposes of this peer review, the following properties that define distributed learning will be

assumed:

The components of the course are distributed across multiple media and this tends to imply a

certain amount of choice of media as well as a tendency towards supporting a student-centred

learning approach

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Distributed learning can be used to augment traditional classroom-based courses, to deliver

distance education courses or to create wholly online courses.

Providing flexibility for students in terms of time and/or location of study is one key aim of the

pedagogy of distributed learning.

III.

“One-stop-shops” (OSS) for lifelong learning at Scottish small and geographically isolated have been

identified as a solution to the problems associated with rural service provision. The key is 'bringing

services together under one roof'; both for providers to share costs and to make it easier for people to

access a range of services in one place. The case studies were selected to cover a range of different

types of one stop shop and to reflect different rural contexts. They included a Community School, a

Community Company involved in provision of several different services, a Community Hall, an adult IT

education centre within a second Community School, a partnership between various public agencies

and services such as police, health and social work and housing; and projects providing one-door

access to youth, the elderly, and severely disadvantaged groups.

Factors favouring the emergence and sustainability of the OSSs at small and geographically islands

include:

community need, motivation (desire) and involvement in all stages;

adequate capital and revenue support for 'public good' activities and public service provision in

OSS;

careful attention to design and location;

community-owned and run facilities, where possible.

Funding support for OSS at islands needs to be flexible if it is to be responsive to different community

needs and decisions. It must also provide longer term funding than is currently the norm; three-year

project funding is wasteful of volunteer and staff effort, hinders staff recruitment, and fails to recognise

the time needed to establish trust between partners, staff, and communities or target groups.

However, it is important that funders lay down criteria for support that deal with important issues such

as OSS constitutions, democratic governance, inclusion, environmental protection, responsible pricing

of services, and staff recruitment and training.

One stop shops commonly face a range of problems with the initiation, start-up, and running phases of

the project. These include:

relatively large capital funding needs in relation to the size of the population;

short term nature of non-capital funding;

top down initiatives to take advantage of funding opportunities;

problems with certain types of partnership where, for example, different partners or different

client groups are more powerful or carry greater weight;

reconciling the needs of different users;

difficulties in maintaining enthusiasm and time commitments among volunteers

A number of key policy recommendations follow from the findings and analysis summarised above.

These are:

OSS at islands can be very effective in improving service provision, and so public policy

should be supportive. However, one stop shops are a means of generating and maintaining

community involvement in improving the range and quality of services and achieving greater

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integration on the ground rather than a means of reducing public expenditure in rural areas or

centralising public services and this should be recognised;

OSS at islands should not be regarded as a 'quick-fix' for the problems of rural service

provision; they need careful analysis of the needs to be met, sound design and planning which

involves potential users as well as the providers, and provision for future expansion.

Public funding for community-led OSS at islands needs to address both capital costs and

longer-term funding needs. It must be flexible enough to meet community needs and support

their decisions - one size does not fit all, either in terms of the form that one stop shops take,

or in the nature of the community or partnership that is promoting them;

Public capital funding schemes should avoid over-prescription, leading to OSS proposals that

are essentially top-down and 'funding-led', and should encourage significant community and

agency involvement during the planning and design stages.

Policy to encourage Community Schools, while admirable in principle, fails to recognise some

very real problems and issues with this model. The policy needs to be reviewed by a multi-

disciplinary group that can also consider community and other user and provider viewpoints

from a wider perspective.

IV.

EU structural funds have played an enormous part in the development of UHI through investment in

estates and IT infrastructure, course development and delivery, learner support, blended learning,

wider access – and building up research capacity in the new institution. Many of the UHI’s key facilities

–as well as many others and the IT connections to link them up – were made possible through ERDF

investment. These set the scene for delivery of large numbers of EU funded projects on a variety of

themes from student exchanges to cutting edge research in key sectors for the Highlands & Islands

and Scotland.

UHI’s current status under the 2014-2020 structural funds programmes was made possible due to the

institution’s status as the only higher education institution based in the region and its relevance to

regional economic growth. One of the reasons behind the success of the UHI in utilisation of the EU

funds has been the ability to take an holistic approach to programme and project development;

QUALITY AREA 3:

SHARING OF GOOD PRACTICES CONCERNING THE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL POLICY

FRAMEWORKS AND SPECIFIC MEASURES/PRACTICES IN DIFFERENT EU MEMBER STATES

AIMED AT DESIGNING THE FLEXIBLE EDUCATIONAL/TRAINING MODELS AT ISLANDS

Not applicable due to the above mentioned last-minute cancellation of the foreign peer. Relevant

documents on the flexible educational/training models at Danish islands that had been available were

examined by the National Peer-review Expert. Relevant deliberations of the National Peer-review

Expert were conveyed to DEŠA-Dubrovnik at other project partners.

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ANNEX 1. TO THE PEER-REVIEW REPORT

Ground Rules for Peers

General Rules for the Peer Visit

The following rules are to be considered by the Peer Teams during the Peer Visit:

The Peers work on the peer assignments in line with individual Terms of Reference for the peer assignment.

The Peers keep to the agreed time schedule.

The Peers adhere to the interview rules.

The Peers treat the entrusted data and feedback confidentially.

The Peers seek to listen and to report the statements objectively.

The Peers work as a team supporting each other in our tasks and feedback.

The Peers are prepared for unforeseen occurrences.

Communication and Interview Rules

Basic attitude: curious, open and accepting demeanour, striving for understanding, no rash or sweeping interpretations or judgements.

Use appropriate language.

Make contact, assume an open and friendly posture, listen actively and show interest.

During the interview: speak briefly and clearly, using short single questions, use silence and pauses, do not interrupt the one’s line of thought.

Ask short questions so that the interviewee can speak as much as possible!

Ask again: Did I understand that correctly? Ask for facts and examples especially when answers are too general.

Follow the main thread, lead back to the main topic. Finish the interview in time.

Allow critical questions concerning the interviews or the Peer Review. Note down remarks and critical comments.

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ANNEX 2. TO THE PEER-REVIEW REPORT

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ANNEX 3. TO THE PEER-REVIEW REPORT

Slide 1 The structure of the University of the Highlands and Islands

Professor Frank RennieLews Castle College UHI

Slide 2 UHI main campus locations

Slide 3 2014 Statistics

• Annual income of over £48m

• 75% of students from Highlands and Islands

– 18% rest of Scotland

– 3% rest of UK

– 2% European Union

– 3% Other international

• UHI is a Tertiary Institution

– From short basic courses to post-Doctorates

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Slide 4 Student demography

• 57% degree students are full-time (43% p/t)

• 71% of all Academic Partner students full time

Slide 5 Lewis-Ullapool

Ferry

2.75 hours

£15.30

Shetland-

Aberdeen

Ferry

12.5 hours

£ 27.10

Lewis-

Glasgow Flight

1 hour

£ 82.00

Shetland –

Glasgow

Flight

1 hour

£ 105.00

Slide 6

60� N

55 ° N

Anchorage

Montreal

Stockholm

Moscow

Magadan

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Slide 7

Eastern Canada

Slide 8

Isle of Lewis

Slide 9

Upland farming, hunting, and outdoor recreation

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Slide 10 UHI Partner distributionOver 1000 islands,

over 110 inhabited

Slide 11 Distribution of students

Slide 12

Executive Office (administration) in Inverness

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Slide 13 Marine Science Institution, Dunstaffnage

Slide 14 Lews Castle College, Isle of Lewis

Slide 15

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Slide 16

UHI WAN

JANET

UHI dedicated IT network

Slide 17

UHIWideArea

Network

20 MBits

45 MBits

45 MBits

100 MBits

45 MBits

200 MBits

45 MBits

200 MBits

20 MBits

100 MBits

200 MBits

20 MBitsJANET

1GBits

1GBits

University of the Highlands and Islands

Network

Data Network

Telephony

Videoconferencing

Slide 18 Centre for Health Sciences, Inverness

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Slide 19 Thousands of students access online

Slide 20 Stornoway as a University Town

Prof. Frank Rennie, Lews Castle College, University of the Highlands and Islands

Slide 21 Stornoway

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Slide 22

Mainly rural communities

Slide 23

Small scale agriculture

Slide 24 Fishing and Aquaculture

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Slide 25

Harris Tweed

Slide 26 Service Sector

Slide 27 Newest University in the UK

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Slide 28 Stornoway as a university town

• What does this mean?

– Newest university in the UK = new opportunities

– Providing accommodation for incoming students

– Encouraging social and sports activities for students

– Stimulating new opportunities for local businesses

– Helping to create employment

• In the university

• In the local community

Slide 29 The

Campus

Slide 30 New student accommodation

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Slide 31 The arts and culture

Slide 32 Sports and Societies

Slide 33 New technologies

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Slide 34 New employment and spin offs

Slide 35 The business plan

• Establish a “brand” or a “vision”

• Engage with key local partners

• Create a shared set of development objectives

• Establish key links between Town and Gown– Sport, societies, cultural events

• Plan a series of events to make the news

• Attract new students to the area

• Enable some students to stay– Further study, local jobs, spin-off companies

Slide 36 Everyone benefits

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Slide 37 Contact:

Professor Frank Rennie

Lews Castle College UHI

Stornoway

Isle of Lewis

Scotland

[email protected]

www.lews.uhi.ac.uk/frennie


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