Community Education
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"European Community Education Studies"
A European course offer in the Social Work Department of
the University of Applied Sciences Koblenz

1.      Motivation

The national systems of education and training for social welfare professions (in a narrow sense) are embedded in the national conditions (traditions, structures etc.) and hence they are heterogeneous[1] (cp. ERASMUS-Evaluation 1996) and not always compatible inter-nationally.

·     This is necessary if the products shall function adequately within the national boundaries (i.e. intra-nationally).

The intensified intra-european migration leads intra-nationally more and more to multi-cultural societies.

·    This calls for a supplement to the education and training through an inter-national/inter-cultural dimension, if the “products” wish to continue to function adequately both at home (i.e. intra –nationally) as well as abroad (i.e. inter- nationally).

The demand for a supplementary inter-national/inter-cultural dimension is not restricted to the social welfare professions (in a narrow sense) (i.e. intra-professionally) because inter-nationally the professional boundaries are flowing. (cp. ERASMUS-Evaluation 1996)

·   This calls for an inter-professional/inter-disciplinary co-operation in the field of education and training of social welfare professional (in a broader sense).

The political changes over the last years within Europe as well as the creation of a “Single European Market” (1993) and of the “European Economic Area” (1994) reinforce: The tendencies and the possibilities for inter-national migration; the demand of inter-nationalising of education and training; the necessity for inter-professional education and training, as well as the possible intra-professional segregation between the EU and the EEA members on the one hand and the outside on the other hand.

The measures taken by the EC respectively the EU, in recent years namely: The ERASMUS-Programme; the “Council directive” on a general system for the recognition of higher education diplomas are only functional within the EU and partly within the EFTA-countries, but could reinforce the isolation of schools for social welfare professions in the other countries and therefore may be dysfunctional intra-professionally.

The TEMPUS-Programme offers a chance for avoiding this isolation and segregation for the schools at least in the eligible countries. If the respective authorities in these countries realise the importance of the social welfare professions in the process of transformation.

The Study-Programme “ACCESS-Europe”

-         Has been developed inter-professionally and is executed in that way,

-         Is inter-culturally oriented,

-         Is inter-nationally established and right from the beginning not restricted to EU-member countries at all,
    on the contrary

-         It has been and is still ready for TEMPUS countries[2].

2. European study programmes of the social work department

2.1 The study programme ACCESS- Europe[3]

Since 1988 the students of the social work department had the opportunity to take part in an additional course. This course was based on existing bi-and multilateral activities of the 21 partner-universities as well as on the likewise existing curricular elements of the different study-programmes of each university. Extended by some more elements, the additional qualification certificate of ACCESS-Europe[4] (additional Certificate in Community Education studies) could be achieved.

For the curriculum of ACCESS-Europe the following 4 modules where adapted and developed.

Module 1:     language tuition

Module 2:     European Community Studies[5]

Module 3:     Bilateral or multilateral courses

Module 4:     Study or placement abroad[6]

The study programme “ACCESS” was designed and performed inter-professionally (pedagogy, social work, social policy). It was inter-culturally oriented as well as inter-nationally established and wasn’t restricted to EU-countries. ACCESS-Europe was conceived as a modular construction system. With this the students had the opportunity to choose single modules they were interested in and to gain the certificate of “S.U.C.C.E.S.S.”[7]

Students who achieved all the modules received the “ACCESS- Europe” certificate.

“ACCESS-Europe” became part of the ERASUS-Programme and was run by 25 partners in 12 countries. More than 130 students reached this certification since 1989.

“ACCESS-Europe” has been analysed by experts several times and was considered a valuable contribution to Europeanisation of the study course.

(cp. F. Hamburger 1998)


 2.2 The study programme “Europe – COMES[8]

The programme “Europe-COMES” was established in 1989/90. It meant: European Community Education Studies. The Elements of this course could be seen as a theoretical and practical frame work in order to develop new, intercultural action strategies which were based on educational community programmes.

“Europe-COMES” was an advancement of the 2nd module in the "ACCESS-Europe" programme and connected to the former study course of “social pedagogy” (Sozialpädagogik). It provided some optional courses as a part of the main study. In the end of successful studies, a supplementary Europe-COMES certificate was handed out to those students who attended the programme. This certificate provided a detailed report about the subjects the student had attended.

Students who were interested in single modules only had as well as in the “ACCESS-Programme” the opportunity to attend those and to gain the certificate of “S.U.C.C.E.S.S.” (Single Unit Credit In Community Education Studies) with it.

The contents of “Europe-COMES” were

1.      The acquisition of an additional certificate,

2.      The membership in one of to projects(intercultural community work or international youth work),

3.      The participation in the study courses based on social, youth and community work in Europe,

4.      The acquisition of an evidence of achievement in one of the following subjects: social policy, psychology,
sociology, pedagogy or political education).


2.3 The “European Community Education Studies” – E.C.E.S. study programme

This study programme exists since 1995. Within 8 semesters (2 terms of work placement included) students can gain a diploma. It is divided in a basic and a main study period:

The basic study period of E.C.E.S.

The first 4 terms can be compared to the former study programme of social pedagogy (Sozialpädagogik), but has some additional subjects as a foreign language and empirical social research/statistics.

The main study period of E.C.E.S.

This period contains one study year abroad on one of the partner universities[9]. It is also part of this period to do project work within one specific field of youth and community work, in connection with european community education. The additional courses of a foreign language and empirical social research/statistics continues. The diploma can be gained in co-operation with the partner university.

The degree

Successful students obtain the diploma of the University of Applied Sciences in Koblenz. Furthermore they have the opportunity to gain another degree in some of the partner universities[10].


3. Future Perspectives

3.1 Postgraduate Studies

In connection with the Bologna - Prozesses the University of Applied Sciences in Koblenz is going to introduction a new two-step-study-system in 2006. Then students can do a Bachelor of Arts or a Master of Arts. In both cases it is possible to compare the studies with the European Community Education Studies.

The Bachelor of Arts offers an European Pathway and the Master of Arts can be gained in the field of international and intercultural education. Both programmes include the objectives and contents of the former ECCE programmes introduced before as well as of the European Community Education Studies E.C.E.S.

3.2 European Diploma for International/Intercultural Community Education “E.D.I.F.I.C.E.”[11]


It was planned to build up on the experience made with the “ECCE” programmes to develop a new and real european study programme, which would include the responsibilities of all the partner universities as a consortium.

This plan will be renewed after the conversion of the present study programmes to the Bachelor and Master programmes.

The degree would be a “Pan-European Diploma”.



[1] Vgl. Salomon, A.1937, Education for Social Work: A Sociological Interpretation based on an International Sruvey, Verlag für Recht und Gesellschaft, Zürich / Leipzig

[2] Quelle: ACC-TN-En FWS 17.10.1996

[3] The development of ACCESS-Europe was carried out by the "European Centre for Community Education - ECCE / Koblenz with the support of the EG Commission through the ERASMUS-Programme (CMA-87-D001). The course is recognised as a „University Co-operation Programme“ by ERASMUS office since the academical year 1988/89.


[5] The study programmes social work, social pedagogy, social policy and pedagogy were extended by a comparable perspective.

[6] Existent modules for work placements were internationalised by an exchange programme.


[8] "COMES" is the acronym for " COMMUNITY EDUCATION STUDIES "

[9] Here the partner universities are in charge for the evaluation and examination of the students.

[10] Actually there are partner universities available in the following countries: England, France, Spain

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