Non-Formal Learning Can Prevent Early School Leaving

Non-Formal Learning Can Prevent Early School Leaving (NON-FOR LESL) is a two year lasting European project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme.

Erasmus+ supports transnational partnerships among education, training, and youth organisations to foster cooperation and bridge the worlds of education and work in order to tackle the skills gaps we are facing in Europe.

NON-FOR LESL is a strategic partnership in the field of schools. Six institutions from five countries collaborate in order to tackle the challenge of early school leaving in Europe. The project has started in December 2014 and will last until December 2016.

Project Coordinators

Project Manager

Dr. Christoph Wolf
Dr. Christoph Wolf

Project Lead

Profilfoto Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange Profilfoto Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange
Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange
Callinstraße 20
30167 Hannover
Profilfoto Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange Profilfoto Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange
Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange
Callinstraße 20
30167 Hannover



Although the reasons for Early School Leaving (ESL) are highly individual - the European Commission states that the phenomenon is strongly linked to social disadvantage and low educational backgrounds. Furthermore ESL is a process rather than a one-off event that often starts in primary school with first experiences of school failure and growing alienation from school.

“Facilitating the recognition and validation of knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning and its permeability with formal education pathways”,as set in the Erasmus+ programme, will promote “the improvement of the attainment of young people, particularly those at risk of ESL and with low basic skills” and at the same time “encourage the development of transversal skills which will lead to active citizenship” (Erasmus+). Research has shown that a “rich source of human capital” (OECD) is achieved deliberately or incidentally  in everyday life, which -if validated- can allow students to complete formal education more quickly, efficiently and cheaply while it can also help employers and workers to get a good job match.


The NON-FOR-LESL project aims to develop and pilot-test, a new innovative multi-dimensional method - an open educational resource validation tool which will be used additionally to the assessment procedures thus contributing to the efforts for reducing Early School Leaving and improving students' performance in schools. The NON-FOR-LESL tool will be based on a holistic view of students’ learning, drawn away from subject boundaries that will present and validate skills, knowledge and competences acquired through non-formal and also informal learning related to the key competences and transversal skills, as described by the EU.

The plan and organization of the project reflects a research cycle procedure with interrelated stages leading to the production of 6 main Intellectual Outputs in sequential order:

  1. a Comparative Study Analysis in which the issues under investigation will be analyzed and participants views collected through the use of questionnaires will be discussed,
  2. a framework and an award system for the validation of non-formal/informal learning within school based on the key competences and transversal skills as described by the EU,
  3. the NON-FOR-LESL OER validation tool MyKey (,
  4. an “Information Pack” with a Step-by-step Guide and a training course for the successful implementation of the tool in schools,
  5. an implementation report in the form of case-study portfolio and
  6. finally an overall evaluation report and a strategy for exploitation at the national level.



The document provides all the necessary information and refers to all the supporting materials for schools and policy-makers to implement MyKey, addressing the issue of early school leaving in their educational context. The strategy gives an overall evaluation of the whole project. It describes the needs, objectives and the approach/steps for the validation of non-formal/informal learning, as well as the way MyKey help students, teachers, educationalists and policy-makers to achieve this aim. The document can be used by interested schools, institutions and stakeholders for dissemination, exploitation and sustainability purposes.


The Implementation strategy refers to the several documents in order to enable schools and stakeholders to fully implement MyKey.

Annex 1 - Step-by-step guide for students for the use of MyKey (see Output 4)
Annex 2 - Information Pack for teachers for the use of MyKey (see Output 4)
Annex 3 - Guide for School Administrators (see Output 4)
Annex 4 - Letter of consent (parents, school agreement) (english sample)
Annex 5 - Questionnaires for Students/Teachers/Admins for evaluating MyKey (see Output 5)
Annex 6 - Case Study of a student (sample for showing the potential and possibilities of MyKey) (see Output 5)
Annex 7 - MyKey Certificate (english sample)

Annex 8 - Non-For-Lesl flyer (english sample)


The Implementation phase was crucial for the success of Non-For-Lesl and MyKey. It took place from May to September 2016 with five schools, one in each participating country. The purpose was to test all products so far and revise and improve Non-For-Lesl and MyKey based on an extensive evaluation of this phase. For the evaluation, we monitored the whole process, collected feedback after every session, talked to the participants committee (consisting of one teacher and two studens), analysed their reports they did after every session, did in-depth case studies with two students of every school (find a sample from Cyprus) and finally anlysed questionnaires we did with all participants (school principals, teachers, student). We used this questionnaire for evaluation.
For an detailed insight into this evaluation, please see the corresponding chapter in Intellectual Output 6.

The video below from Romania gives you a great idea about this phase of the project:



This is the core of our project. A Tool ( which is able to document and certificate non-formal and informal activities of students (at risk).


During this project phase we laid the groundwork for MyKey, which is based on this Output. All consortium partners came up with different ideas and concepts about how to structure a valid Tool and how extracurricular activities can be evaluated properly. This output caused lots of research and several extensive, but always productive discussions among project parters. For documentary evidence, this was one of our very first drafts.


This document gives you an in depth analysis of the current situation of non-formal-learning and early school leaving in Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Germany.

Find the whole, extensive report in English here.

In addition, read the summary in English, Greek, German, Italian and Romanian, as well.

An english PowerPoint Version can be used for presentations.

News & Events



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4th Partner Meeting in Hanover, Germany

Our final meeting took place in Hanover again on November 14th. Four big issues were at the center of attention. First, our implementation strategy was finalized. It gives every person or institution interested in using MyKey a kind of manual for implementation. Second, our final conference "Non Formal Learning Goes to school: The recognition of non-formal learningas a chance for students development" on the following day was discussed and organized. Third, we had an extensive discussion about to-do's until the end of the project in december and ongoing dissemination, exploitation and sustainability of the project after the end of Non-For-Lesl. Finally, with support of our external evaluator, we did an in-depth evaluation of the project.

Staff Training in Hanover, Germany

From july 21st until july 25th our staff training took place in Hanover, Germany. This time the Leibniz Univeristy was responsible for the organization and - together with Platon School and Ingenious Knowledge - in charge of the training.

The meeting was mainly concerned with two issues. First, we went through the whole eTool MyKey, making sure that everything works properly know. As part of that we were further familiarized in using MyKey. Second, we discussed the information pack which contains all important information for students, teachers and administraotrs in order to use MyKey. This output is crucial and will also be part of the implementation strategy. We discussed this strategy, as well, as it will be the final product which will be disseminated to potential stakeholders. With this strategy, every school or school board can implement MyKey on ots own.

The meeting was very efficient and purposeful. All unclear point and issues were solved and deadlines were agreed.

3rd Partner Meeting in Katerini, Greece

On the 3rd and 4th of December our third partner meeting took place in Katerini, Greece. This time Platon was responsible for the organization while Christoph Wolf from the University of Hannover was again in charge of the course.

We were mainly concerned with two issues. First, a demo version of the Open Education Ressource (OER), which is now called MyKey, is ready, but several aspects (regarding administration rights, structure of MyKey, verification process, etc.) had to be discussed, though. A first version will be ready until March 1st, just in time for the first implementation phase with our partner schools. Second, we discussed the content of an additional “information pack” with background information about the project and the issue of Early School Leaving (ESL), as well as user manuals for teachers, students and stakeholders.

The meeting was very efficient and purposeful and everybody contributed important ideas. All unclear points and issues were solved and deadlines were agreed.

2nd Partner Meeting in Iași, Romania

The 2nd partner meeting took place in Iași, Romania from may 28th until may 29th. EuroEd was responsible for organization while Christoph Wolf from the University of Hannover was in charge of the course.

Several crucial topics had to be addressed. After a summary of preceding activities, the consortium discussed two intellectual outputs in depth: Firstly, a framework for the recognition and validation of non-formal learning. Secondly, this framework will serve as a basis for the Open Education Ressource (OER) which will be used by students to document their extra-curricular skills, competences and knowledge.

The discussion was highly prolific. The consortium work was very efficient and everybody contributed important ideas and suggestions. In the end all partners had clear ideas of the framework and the OER.

1st Partner Meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus

The kick off meeting took place in Nicosia, Cyprus on January 15. and 16. 2015. It was organized by Emphasys Centre (P5) and led by Meike Jens, Leibniz University Hannover (P1).

After each partner introduced him/herself and his/her institution, the consortium went through every detail of the project. According to the resp. responsibilities the partners presented the different intellectual outputs and multiplier events. The power point presentations can be found below.

Moreover the partners discussed and revised the questionnaires for teachers and students, which were prepared by Emphasys Centre. Also the dissemination and evaluation strategies were discussed and fine-tuned. 

It was a highly efficient meeting, and a solid base for further cooperation was build.

About Us

Institute for Didactics of Democracy, Germany

The Coordinator of the Project is the Institute for Didactics of Democracy of the Leibniz University Hannover in Germany. The university was funded in 1831, nowadays it has 21,000 students and 4,700 staff members. Didactics of Democracy describes the scientific examination of a “learning democracy”. Students who will become teachers for civic education are enrolled here. Active citizenship it the focal point of teaching and researching. The Institute has a strong record of developing educational tools, curricula and teaching material.

Prof. Dr. Dirk Lange

Platon Secondary School, Greece

PLATON is a private school in Greece with a long experience in EU projects and its staff can produce teaching material conventional or based in e-learning platforms. Through the research department the participation of PLATON in EU programs of design, implementation and assessment of innovative  methods and materials is pursued. The research department actively involves itself in the design of advanced educational materials, both conventional and electronic in order to enhance teaching and learning. The tools developed within the framework of educational programmes are the result of cooperation and joint efforts amongst specialists from a variety of academic fields, with a major focus on ICT, teaching and learning studies.

Mr. Evangelos Kapetis

Pixel Associazione Culturale, Italy

Pixel is a NonProfit Organisation in Italy and functions as an international education and training centre with a specific expertise in EU cooperation and project management. Pixel obtained quality certification according to UNI EN ISO 9001:2000. It is accredited as an in-service education and training organization by the Ministry of Education. At EU level, Pixel has developed cooperative agreements and partnerships with over 500 institutions cooperating and has coordinated and managed over 30 projects funded by the ESF. Pixel has great experience in the area of Early School Leaving. The run, among others, these projects: "School Safety Net project", the "Stay@School project", the "School Inclusion project" and the "Stay In project".

Mr. Giovanni Caruso

Ingenious Knowledge, Germany

Ingenious Knowledge is a SME enterprise in Germany that has been active in both adult and younger learners’ education, working in close partnerships with universities and schools. The company has a heavy focus on IT-solutions and is currently involved in various activities such as developing new e-learning tools for VET, game-based learning tools, mobile apps in cooperation with Deutsche Bank and the University of Paderborn. It has also great experience with EU projects.

Mr. Rasmus Pechuel

Emphasys Centre, Cyprus

The Emphasys Centre (Cyprus) functions as a Centre for Education, ICT Training and Research and a non-formal learning provider. It is accredited by the Cyprus Ministry of Education as a private educational centre specialising in ICT training for students (VET) and for adults. It is also accredited by the ECDL Foundation and the CEPIS and by the Cambridge International Examination Board. The Research Centre is actively involved in the area of EU projects and cooperates closely with several organizations, research centres, schools, both in Cyprus and in the E.U. for the development and implementation of various projects through ESL and LLP, such as the GRANKIT project. Its involvement in providing non-formal learning skills has been a motive for the writing up of this proposal.

Mr Athos Charalambides

Fundatia EuroEd, Rumania

EuroEd is a non- profit organization set up in 1992 and located in Iasi, Romania. It delivers services to all age categories and developed a series of programmes, including language courses (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Romanian), international training courses for language teachers. EuroEd’s relevant experience lies with co-ordinating and participating in EU funded projects, as well as strategies and methodologies of cooperation at local, regional, national and trans-national level. In addition, EuroEd coordinated and implemented over 25 national and international educational projects (educational management, teacher training, professional development of various categories of professionals etc) since 1995. It is accredited by the Romanian Ministry of Education and by the Ministry of Labour and is part of the national educational system in the Life Long Learning section. It is a member of the Quest Association which is an associate member of Equals.

EuroEd received 4 international awards in the last 5 years for the quality of its projects: 3 European Label Awards and a Worldaware distinction. Two of the projects led by EuroEd were selected by the EU Commission as examples of best practices in its collection called LINGO.

Prof. Dr. Anca Colibaba

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.