SchoolLinks and Internships
The concept of VVOB’s SchoolLinks programme is to form a lasting and equal partnership between schools with a focus on educational goals. These are primary and secondary schools located in Flanders on the one hand, and in a VVOB partner country on the other hand.
Whichever way the relationship between both schools takes shape, it is important that it’s at once useful, interesting and enjoyable to both parties. The schools themselves keep the freedom to decide what kind of relationship they want to engage in, and how they go about designing and implementing it.
Examples of activities could be:
- Students writing an essay on a certain topic, for example climate change, migration, gender etc., and exchange opinions;
- Sending cultural artefacts and products to increase the understanding and knowledge of each other’s background;
- Exchanging educational materials and tools to integrate in lessons, share tips and tricks;
- Asking each other questions (by e-mail, post, etc.) on particular topics such as alcohol use, smoking, HIV Aids, language etc.;
- and many others...
The role of VVOB is to inspire, advise and support the start-up process of a SchoolLink until it becomes independent and sustainable on its own. In return, the schools comply with VVOB’s vision of the SchoolLinks programme which consists of a sustainable and equity-based partnership focusing on educational goals:
- The partnership must have the capacity to continue when situations change (e.g. new staff) and without external funding. We aim at a collaboration term of minimum three years.
- The partnering schools can be unequal, but the partnership has to be equity-based. Indeed, it’s one of the objectives of SchoolLinks to teach values such as mutual respect and social justice. Therefore, they need to be inherent to the partnership itself.
- Both schools are expected to bring a mutual effort into the partnership and commit to a continuous process of collaboration. This mutual effort will result in a mutual benefit.
We believe that SchoolLinks can be a tool to counter new educational challenges in an interesting, fun and contemporary way. Through their direct long-term relationship, students and teachers can share knowledge and experiences about their culture, values, dreams and concerns. This adds an international dimension to education and brings the world into the classroom.
Bart Dewaele, Director-General VVOB
For children, this is a very pleasant way to tackle learning issues and to make global issues tangible. They can broaden their world view and acquire new skills (intercultural, language, ICT...). For teachers, the exchange of good practices can enrich their learning and teaching.
VVOB Cambodia is currently looking for Belgian schools to join the programme and partner with two lower secondary schools in Kandal province.
VVOB’s internships are designed for Flemish students to take their first steps in international cooperation. A majority of these is aimed at students from the teacher training colleges. During several months they can participate in a VVOB programme or in one of our partner institutions. This provides them with the opportunity to combine the experience of a foreign culture with their first experience of work as a professional in the international development sector.
As an actor in international cooperation, VVOB wants to take part in the trend of internationalisation of education. Our programme offers a structural framework and guidance to the students who wish to conduct their internship in one of our partner countries. We believe that through shared experiences, contacts and interactions, mutual understanding between different cultures and peoples can be enhanced and promoted. This also leads to a more correct imaging of the development world. As such the interns indirectly contribute to awareness building within the Flemish society about development cooperation.
By linking the internship as close as possible to specific needs within the VVOB programme or with our partners, we also hope to gain maximum benefit from the student’s contribution and effort.
VVOB’s internship programmes are open to all Flemish college students. The personal qualities that we value most are those of attitude: commitment, an open mind and a strong sense of self-reliance. VVOB partners with the VLHORA (the Flemish Colleges Council / www.vlhora.be) to make internships available to college students each year.