Miranda Dobson

EU partners collaborate on anti-bullying educational project

An EU funded project that has brought partners together from businesses and universities across the continent is in its final stages.

Project Smiley has developed an interactive educational game that aims to promote anti-bullying in schools across Europe, including 20 that already use the online game in the UK.

150 schools across Europe will adopt the scheme after collaboration between partners from Italy, Poland, Romania and Turkey.

Dr Augusto Gamuzzo from the University of Catania, Italy, explained how his research in this area and the game, Your Town, created an important opportunity for European collaboration.

“Our project and projects like it are part of the upbuilding process of the EU. They allow us to share knowledge and skills. From an economic point of view, the educational games industry is very valuable, and I see it as very valuable to this idea of “social mindedness” that the Your Town game is advocating.”

“It is important to upbuild the common sense of Europe, and this can create chances for commercial business. In an crisis period like the one we are currently submerged in, this type of project can be a strategy that saves everyone involved. So enterprises, public bodies and Universities.”

“I’ve come across surprising facts from doing this project. Like did you know Poland spends around 5.7% GDP on education, whereas Italy only spends 0.8% GDP. We must confront the fact that we must invest in education.”

Digital development agency, Enigma, is the UK partner in Project Smiley, and has developed the design of the Your Town game.

Enigma’s Managing Director, Steve Grainger, explained how the company was involved and how the project could provide future opportunities.

“Enigma has a history of involvement in interactive education, and working with European partners creates an understanding of the differences socially, economically and so on, between the different countries.”

“Longer term commercial opportunities could come out of this, although the driver is social change through the anti-bullying campaign.There is a very strong feeling that interactive education can have a very positive effect in society and education.”

Steve explained further about the legacy of projects like Smiley. He said: “Through projects like this we’ve also been able to communicate with a wider European community. If the UK wasn’t part of this community we wouldn’t have the resulting economic impact. What has been really great is getting large businesses and visitors across to the UK.”

Dr Gamuzzo commented on Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s warnings against the UK moving away from the EU.

“If the UK was cut off from the EU, would its involvement in EU funded projects end? It is likely. The upbuilding process of the EU directly links to this type of project, which has an effect on the economy and relationships between the countries.”

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