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Month: May 2024

Microcredentials: shaping their future together

The logo of the European Alliance of Microcredentials, representing innovation and collaboration in education.
Unlocking new educational horizons with the European Alliance of Microcredentials.

The European Alliance for Microcredentials

Parents International joined the European Alliance for Microcredentials last autumn. The initiative was a result of the MicroVET project aiming to promote a relatively recent type of certification of short periods of learning. With the project coming to an end this month, a final event that was also the first in-person meeting of the members of the Alliance was held on 21 May in Brussels. The participants decided for the European Alliance to become the European branch of the newly established World Alliance for Microcredentials (WAM). Our Director was also invited to join the Scientific Advisory Board of this global initiative.

Introducing Microcredentials

Microcredentials – quality assured certificates reflecting the learning outcomes of short courses, be them online of offline – are surely part of the future of vocational education and adult education in general, including the professional development of people with university degrees (e.g. teacher training). It is becoming more an more relevant in inclusive formal education. For Parents International this approach is relevant for three reasons:

  • It is a possible format for teacher training in fields that we provide trainings in,
  • It is a possibility for parents to have their skills gained through parenting to be certified and it can help parents, especially mothers to (re)enter the labour market, and
  • It can support tailored solutions also for our children in a truly inclusive approach to formal education if microcredentials gained in topics they are interested in are recognised as a step towards their school workload.

Launching the Initiative

The European Alliance for Microcredentials was initiated by the MicroVET consortium and was launched during the European Vocational Skills Week in 2023. The first members, the partners of the project were quickly joined by other members like us, but also the organisations of the vocational providers at European level. Later, the Alliance membership has been widened to include different provider organisations as well as actors in the recognition of microcredentials. You can find a regularly updated list here.

Apart from working together as an advocacy group, the Alliance also offers a quality-assured platform for (mostly) online courses leading to micro-credentials provided by its members in various languages.

The event in Brussels took stock of the work done during the project and also made crucial decisions on the future and sustainable operations of this collaboration. Originally three solutions were outlined in the strategy of the Alliance: a loose network with a coordinator, a project-based approach to future collaboration or a legal entity. At the same time, since the launch, the Alliance has negotiated – initiated and supported by the European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion – with a similar global initiative that will also offer a solution for sustained operations. By the Brussels event, the global initiative had been established as a legal entity, WAM.

More about WAM

Do you want to know more about WAM and the European Alliance? All you need to do is clicking on the following links:

The MicroVET platform also features some microcredential courses developed in Parents International projects and they are presented by the project coordinator, our regular partner, the European School Heads Association. The courses offered are delivered both in English and in Hungarian .

Engaging Migrant and Refugee Parents: highlights from “Open Arms, Open Hearts”

Dr. Eszter Salamon presenting a webinar at the University of Glasgow on engaging migrant and refugee parents.


Engaging migrant and refugee parents in the educational process is often a challenging task for educators, owing in no small measure to the complexities of the challenges they have to rise up to when relocating from their country of origin, which adds to the challenges of parenting in the first place. This topic was thoroughly explored in the fifth webinar of the University of Glasgow’s series on parental engagement, “Open Arms, Open Hearts,” led by Dr. Eszter Salamon on May 22. The webinar attracted over 60 participants and offered evidence-based strategies to enhance engagement with these parents. The recording of the webinar is available for those who missed the live session.

Challenges in Parental Engagement

Engaging migrant and refugee parents presents unique challenges beyond the usual difficulties faced by educators. These challenges often stem from cultural diversity and the personal experiences of these parents. The webinar aimed to inspire participants to explore their own competences, biases, and tools, and to learn from migrant and refugee parents to become more inclusive. Participants were encouraged to reflect on their own practices and consider new approaches to better engage these parents.

Research Outcomes on Engaging Migrant and Refugee Parents

The webinar presented recent research findings on the engagement of migrant and refugee parents, focusing on four key areas: teachers, parents, the policy environment, and general learning points from practice. This presentation drew on research conducted by the European Education Policy Network on Teachers and School Leaders, the Parents Engage project, and recent studies by the Brookings Institution.

Project Outcomes and Practical Tools

Several relevant project outcomes were highlighted during the webinar, providing support for both parents and education professionals. Key projects included the Parents Engage training, the Parent’R’Us methodology, and tools developed in Open School Doors, CoMap, and PHERECLOS. Additionally, resources like the ParentHelp Info page and Library were introduced, along with the Brookings Playbook and conversation starter tools set to be published on June 4. Simple activities were also presented to help start the engagement process, particularly for parents from challenging environments.

Key Messages from the Webinar

The webinar delivered several important messages for educators working with migrant and refugee parents:

  • An asset-based approach to parents is essential for effective engagement.
  • Teacher training should include general parental engagement, working with culturally diverse groups, and trauma-informed methodologies.
  • Strategies that work for other disadvantaged groups often apply to migrant and refugee parents as well.
  • Engaging with all parents should be a recognized part of a teacher’s workload and reflected in their remuneration.

Access to Webinar Recording

For those interested in the detailed content of the webinar, the recording is available here.

Conclusion: Engaging Migrant and Refugee Parents

The first two episodes of the University of Glasgow’s webinar series featured notable speakers, including Professor Janet Goodall, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, and Professor Debbie Pushor, keynote speaker at the Parent Summit 2022. These sessions continue to provide valuable insights into parental engagement, particularly for migrant and refugee parents, fostering a more inclusive and supportive educational environment.

More on Parental Engagement: Project Parents Engage

Among International Parents Alliance’s projects, Parents Engage deals directly with the topic or engaging migrant and refugee parents. You can find the Project’s Policy Recommendations here.

3 wonderful days with the Project Princess Initiative: the princesses of today and the mothers of tomorrow

Image of a young Ugandan girl in traditional clothing patterns, symbolizing empowerment through Project Princess Initiative (PPI) with International Parents Alliance

Empowering Vulnerable Girls: the Project Princess Initiative

Our team visited Project Princess Initiative (PPI) in Uganda between the 15th  and the 19th of April. Founded in 2009 a Christian-based non-profit organization, the Project aims to uplift, educate, and empower vulnerable girls. Its mantra, “EMPOWER A GIRL, EMPOWER A NATION”, clearly defines the Project concept that education for girls is not just a moral imperative and a basic right, but a strategic necessity as well.

The invitation dates back to August 2023 when Parents International was present together with PPI at the first in-person meeting of the Worldwide Commission to Educate All Kids in Toronto. The three full days we spent in Kampala were filled with meetings, emotions and friendship. We were privileged to participate at their 15th anniversary celebrations, too.

Day 1 : Collaborating with Education Authorities

On the first day of the visit, we had the opportunity to have in-depth discussions with the PPI team about their work, their future plans and support needs. We have identified areas of collaboration that we will work on the coming months and years.

Image of the Project Princess Initiative School in Uganda, symbolizing the power of education and empowerment through initiatives like Project Princess Initiative (PPI) and International Parents Alliance

The discussions were very useful for preparing our meetings with the Ministry of Education the following day as well as for the training that we delivered for the team on the last day of the visit. We have agreed that it is important to support the girls they are working with by equipping them with a wide range of skills and competences for a successful adult life, including preparation for motherhood. If proper parenting practices and role models are shown to them, they will be able to raise their children in a way that would make PPI obsolete in a generation. After a successful day of discussions, we had the opportunity to also get to know local handicrafts.

Day 2 : Celebrating Success and Cultural Exchange with the Project Princess Initiative

Image of the Ministry of Education Headquarters in Uganda, representing collaboration with initiatives like Project Princess Initiative (PPI) and International Parents Alliance for educational empowerment

On the second day of the visit, we had a great meeting with the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education. She had immediately felt a connection with PPI coming from the area of the country they first started working with girls from. It is clear that both the education of girls and parental engagement are important for the current education governance of the country, but it is also clear that there is a long way to go and resources are scarce. We finished the meeting on a collaborative mood and with the promise of working together in the future on these topics via PPI.

In the late afternoon and evening our team participated in the celebratory event of PPI. It was an opportunity to learn more about the work of the organisation that revolves around supporting girls to remain in formal education, to acquire knowledge, skills and competences that are necessary for a healthy and independent adulthood (e.g. sanitary issues, transversal skills, entrepreneurship), and to avoid early marriages. Their work was praised by various invited speakers including the previous Minister of Education as well as the current leader of education in the local area called the Kingdom of Buganda. The amazing evening made it possible to learn more about local culture, namely music, dances and food.

Day 3 : Training for Empowerment and Future Collaboration with the Project Princess Initiative

On the last day, we provided a brief one-day training to the PPI team showing them our approach and methods. We have chosen four topics relevant for their current work: parental engagement, entrepreneurship, trauma-informed methodologies and self-awareness. The participatory, experiential methods we use were new to all participants, and at the end of the training we have agreed to prepare a training primarily for teachers that is at least 4-5 days long, and will most probably take place in January 2025 when schools are on vacation. We are also working on making it possible for PPI to be present at the International Parents Alliace Parent Summit in Georgia.


Ghana Training Trip: 4 exciting days in the home of fufu and kelewele

Image representing the International Parents Alliance Ghana training trip, highlighting cultural immersion and partnership building

Between 22 and 27 April, our team visited Ghana to meet and train the team of Parenting Education Network Ghana (PEN). It also concluded our discussions about membership, so they officially joined the Parents International family. In 4 warm days, we did not only have fruitful work experiences, but could also learn about the history and culture of this fast-developing country.

Day 1: the Ghana Training Trip begins

The visit was carefully planned through several meetings, so upon arrival we jumped immediately into training the PEN team. Before the visit, they shared the current training manual used in pilot trainings for parents, and our aim was to give them some ideas about enriching the training offer by experiential methodologies and some extra topics.

The two-day training focused on needs analysis methods to support tailoring their trainings, parental engagement in education and entrepreneurship with special focus on financial literacy, creativity and critical thinking. The experiential learning methods and the fact that training can be fun was totally new to their otherwise experienced team, and they are determined to use them. We have also agreed at the end, during the harvest, that further support and training is also necessary.

Day 2: Immersive Learning and Cultural Exploration in Ghana

On the second day our Ghana Training Trip we also had the opportunity to visit a Montessori school owned by one of PEN’s board members located in a disadvantaged area of the capital. In the evening, we visited the memorial park of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah (1909 – 1972), and learnt of the legendary establishment of the country by 5 tribes, Ga, the Hausa, the Akan, the Nzema, and the Ashanti, whose names’ first letter make up the name of the country, after the colonisation period.

Day 3: Strategic Collaborations, Historical Landmarks, and delicious food

The third day of our Ghana Training Trip was dedicated to meeting government officials from the Ministry of Education and the Education Services. It was a first step towards a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry and PEN that both parties would very much like to have in place. It also became clear that the Ministry is also looking for support in creating a national, bottom-up representation of parents that PEN can support with Parents International’s help and by learning from experiences in other African countries.

In between meetings, we visited Osu/Christiansborg Castle, a key hub in the transatlantic slave trade, where enslaved Africans were held captive before being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. Osu Castle also played a significant role in Ghana’s struggle for independence. It was here that the historic event of Ghana’s independence declaration took place on March 6, 1957. Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African nation to gain independence from colonial rule, marking a pivotal moment in the country’s history and inspiring liberation movements across the continent

We also had a chance of experiencing the deliciousness of Ghanan gastronomical tradition, as our hosts guided us to the discovery of Fufu and Kelewele.

Image of fufu, a traditional Ghanaian dish enjoyed during our Ghana training trip, representing the country's rich culinary heritage

Fufu is a staple food in many West African countries, including Ghana. It is made from starchy root vegetables such as cassava, yams, or plantains. The vegetables are boiled, then pounded into a smooth, dough-like consistency using a mortar and pestle. Traditionally, this pounding is done by hand, but nowadays, electric appliances are also used. Fufu is often served alongside soups, stews, or sauces made from a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, meat, fish, or seafood. One popular accompaniment is light soup or palm nut soup. Fufu is typically eaten by tearing off small portions with the fingers and then dipping it into the soup or sauce before consuming.

Image of kelewele, a flavorful Ghanaian street food enjoyed during our Ghana training trip, representing the country's vibrant culinary culture

Kelewele is a flavourful Ghanaian street food made from ripe plantains. The plantains are cut into chunks or cubes and then marinated in a mixture of spices such as ginger, cloves, pepper, and sometimes nutmeg. The spiced plantain pieces are then deep-fried until they are golden brown and caramelized. Kelewele is known for its sweet and spicy flavor profile, with the natural sweetness of the ripe plantains complemented by the warmth of the spices. It is often enjoyed as a snack or side dish and is popularly sold by street vendors in Ghana. Kelewele is sometimes served alone or paired with peanuts for added crunch and flavour.

Day 4: the Ghana Training Trip comes to an end – Celebrating Partnerships and Planning for the Future

The final day was dedicated to strategic discussions with the Board and Management of PEN. We celebrated their official joining Parents International, and discussed next steps of our collaboration, including exploring the possibilities for funding for further trainings for the PEN team and teachers as well as their potential participation in the Parent Summit in Georgia, in the coming Autumn. The conclude our Ghana Training Trip with deep feelings of gratitude and satisfaction for many exciting and heart-warming encounters, and strong sense of anticipation for the future developments of our shared way forward.