ADLIP – Escola Profissional do Pico is a vocational secondary school located on an island (Pico) which is mostly rural. Its geographical location accentuates its isolation. Whilst we belong to Europe, we are considered far from its borders. Ours is a small community (population is only 15 000), nevertheless, there is some immigration from Brasil, Cabo Verde and from Eastern European countries. Our school accepts students between the ages of 15 and 23, mostly seeking technical qualifications in order to find employment; some students have economic difficulties. We offer courses in various areas of studies. At the moment we have running, Viticulture & Oenology, Commerce, Computer Repair & Maintenance, Computer Management, Receptionist and Psychossocial Support. For unemployed adults (over 23), we are offering, Tourism Information and Animation. For the next school year we are proposing a course on Information and Animation in Tourism and Restaurant and Bar Management. We will also be running a post-secondary course on Outdoor Tourism. Our school receives students from other islands of the archipelago of Azores, but at this moment we are lacking in resources, especially because one of our buildings is very old and outdated, and does not meet the needs of our courses and of our students. Another difficulty is a high number of student dropouts and also of absences from class. It would be important for trainers to share experiences with other professionals of vocational training and learn new methods and strategies of motivating students to study and acquire the needed qualifications to survive in today’s society.
Our school has participated in many Leonardo da Vinci projects throughout the years, Mobilities for students abroad and also Multilateral Partnerships between schools of different European countries.
We carry out extra-curricular projects such as “Eco-Schools” project, which is an environmental awareness project; the School Newspaper; an Entrepreneurship project; and also an ICT project called “apps for good”.
The school is implanted next to The Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Landscape, which was considered World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2004. The extraordinary beautiful human-made landscape of small stone walled fields is a testimony to generations of small scaled farmers who, in a hostile environment, created a sustainable living and a much valued wine.
The economy of the Sea is also very relevant to our sustainability and to our Tourism.
European cooperation activities allow for great enhancement of teachers and students’ “horizons”, giving them a better vision of other countries and their cultures; enables them to better accept others and cooperate with them; motivates them to learn more about themselves and others; motivates them to learn and practice foreign languages and ITC, when preparing presentations and discussing new pedagogical materials and methods with other schools from different countries; motivates them, sometimes, to go study or work abroad, giving them a whole new European consciousness and open-mindedness.
It is always very important to contact with other schools in different countries which are certainly better equipped in what pertains to new and advanced technology. We consider that at our school we have a structured curriculum and a well organized system of sending students to their on-the-job training, which we would like to share with other partners, but also, and especially, learn more from others. We also have a lot of contacts with local enterprises that organize job trainings in different fields of studies.
We consider that our local traditions are very rich, for example the Holy Ghost Festivals carried out in the month of May; the history associated to the traditional whalehunting which was very important to the economy of the island and has become Whalewatching activity; the production of wine and the vineyard landscape which is unique in the world and was considered World Cultural Heritage in 2004; The “Chamarrita” folklore dance which entered the Guinness World Records in 2015 as the largest folk dance circle in the world.
These and other traditions are part of the curricula of courses related to Tourism and to Social Animation, because they are very relevant in what pertains to keeping our past alive and a way to communicate to future generations how difficult it was to survive living in volcanic islands that were so isolated from the rest of the world, and in order to survive the people had to be creative and strong.