On the 28th of June, the final event of the national phase of the SCoopConSS project (Social Cooperative Contest for Secondary Schools) took place virtually, given the current circumstances. During the ceremony, the winning project and the two honourable mentions were announced. The EFA La Malvesía, with its EDUNATURE project, won the first prize (a prize that is worth a ticket to the international final in Florence). The IES Ángel Corella, with ECOOP GRANJA, and the IES Francisco Tomás y Valiente, with Aires de Huerta, obtained the first and second honourable mention, respectively.
The announcement of the awards was preceded by an informative session on mobility opportunities in the European Union to work and apply for internships, carried out by Elena Argudo, the director of projects and the member’s office of the FPEmpresa VET Schools Association.
The winning project, EDUNATURE by EFA La Malvesía, proposes a social cooperative dedicated to programming Environmental Education and caring for the environment, thus helping to know, value and, therefore, respect the environment. “Although the implementation of the project was a bit complicated, because we had to develop a large part of it outside the school because the students were taking their end-of-cycle internships, it has been a very rewarding experience for all”, the teacher responsible for this team, Efra Vendrell, highlights. “With the completion of this project,” Vendrell adds, “the students have been able to see first-hand all the procedures and problems that can be encountered when setting up a company, more specifically, a cooperative. I am delighted that there are students who are involved in projects like this and that they are learning what cooperativism is like”. He points out that the biggest challenge for his team was to carry out everything remotely, but, as the members of the team have pointed out, “the great effort and the hours invested have paid off”.
As for the honourable mentions, the first was for the IES Ángel Corella for its ECOOP GRANJA proposal, whose main objective is that the community, and children in particular, relate to the environment and receive training in accordance with the basic pillars of agriculture, sustainability and development of the primary sector. According to the teacher who has coordinated this team, Sonia Cardenal, “it has been very gratifying to see how the projects were emerging.” “I decided not to ‘correct’ anything as such, rather to advise and the issues that had to be modified were discussed in common and agreed among all the members of the team,” she adds. “I was very surprised that, despite the fact that the students were not very familiar with the basic concepts that were requested in the project, the quality of what was emerging has been very good and this is reflected in this honourable mention; this has definitely empowered them”, she concludes.
The second honourable mention was awarded to the Aires de Huerta proposal from IES Francisco Tomás y Valiente, whose objective is the production of organic vegetables in urbanized environments (on roofs) with hydroponic cultivation techniques and their distribution to small local markets. “The realization of this project by the students of the Electric and Automatic Installations cycle had the added complication of being done within the dual modality; the allocation of hours to entrepreneurship was very tight and we had to run against the clock”, Jesús Fernández, coordinating teacher of this team, highlights.
The jury in charge of evaluating the proposals submitted, made up of four expert voices, is unanimous in noting the great work that all the participating centres have carried out. “It was a very complicated final, it was hard for us to decide because the ideas presented were very good indeed” Patricia Santos, coordinator of educational innovation projects and member of the jury, says.
Another member of the jury, Pablo Ascasibar, partner of Agresta S.Coop, highlighted “the quality of the proposals and the wide variety of topics”. For Ascasibar, these types of competitions are “very important”, because “they teach the Vocational Education and Training students formulas of social economy as interesting as collective self-employment; formulas that are often unknown”.
For her part, Marta Lozano, also a member of the jury and CEO of Wazo Coop., points out that “although only one team was the winner, the greatest prize they can receive is that their cooperative is feasible, that it helps them fulfil their dreams and that it has a positive impact on society”.
Finally, Mar Alonso, Training and career counselling teacher and head of studies at the Escola del Treball de Barcelona, underlines that this type of project “makes students feel that they are the centre; it makes them responsible for their own teaching and learning process and reflects fundamental values such as effort and perseverance”.
The winning team of the EFA La Malvesía will represent Spain in the international final, which will take place in Florence next September. The members of the jury have committed to guide them and help them improve their proposal for the presentation in the final.