In 2020, Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca (UBB) successfully carried on the project entitled Facilitating the Integration, through Inclusion Policies, into the Labour Market of the Youth in the Academic Environment – InclusUBB2, financed by the National Council for Higher Education Funding (project code CNFIS-FDI-2020-0384).
The objective was two-folded and it aimed at both creating the premises for pre-university students from disadvantaged environments to continue their studies, and also reducing the rate in academic studies dropout, by taking concrete steps. Within the project, UBB proposed enhancing the university’s capacity for inclusion and equity, and also to better answer the current societal challenges, especially during a pandemic.
The specific objectives of the InclusUBB2 project were:
- To facilitate students’ access to higher education (mainly those coming from disadvantaged environments) and to familiarise them with the academic environment;
- To correlate students’ acquired skills with the main demands of employers in the public and private areas; to promote the role of sustainable growth among students, as well as to consolidate the partnership between universities and the private sector;
- To develop online tools to facilitate communication between students and the administration of Babeș-Bolyai University;
- To analyse the phenomenon of academic dropout and to identify the factors leading to it, as well as to enhance the efficiency of counselling and support activities addressed to students who are at a higher risk of dropout.
The project offered information brochures about the admission criteria, information panels, and several online informative events were organised, addressed to some 20 high schools in towns with less than 10.000 and to which over 1.000 people attended. Although the pandemic did not allow for the organisation on site of an event, UBB organised the Extended Weekend for High School Students, which already has a prolonged tradition; nonetheless, this last event was organised online, with the participation of over 400 students and teachers, with classes aimed at disseminating science in Romanian and in Hungarian.
Carrying on the tradition of previous years, events of ecologic education were organised, mainly online. The posted films and presentations were viewed by more than 500 people, high school students and undergraduates.
A set of online questionnaires/forms and reports on the reasons for students’ academic dropout were elaborated within the project, thus continuing the annual tradition and offering a valuable source of information for the teaching staff. In order to facilitate the students’ integration into the academic environment, a non-format and recreational educational area was organised.
Analyses on the insertion on the labour market of graduates were ran, and a data basis was created; the documents were elaborated and will be used to support youth integrate into the labour market. In order to extend the educational offer towards the business environment and public institutions, several open courses were held during 2020.
In conclusion, the project entitled Facilitating the Integration, through Inclusion Policies, into the Labour Market of the Youth in the Academic Environment – InclusUBB2 reached its goals, although, given the current circumstances and considering the pandemic restrictions, some actions were considerably made harder.