Socrates Programme 2007-2008
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Socrates Intensive Programme 2008
Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini (Greece)
"Social policy and vulnerable groups"

"Children, Poverty and Social deprivation in the EU: Suggestions and Policy recommendations to tackle children's social exclusion in Europe"

Co-operation with private and public sector
The region of Rodopi and the City of Komotini in Greece are multicultural areas with a large Muslim minority. It also hosts immigrants (coming mainly form the neighbouring Balkan countries) and Pontain-Greeks from the ex-USSR republics.
The programme will comprise: (a) field trips to Muslim communities in urban and rural areas of the prefecture of Rodopi; (b) visits to projects for the resettlement and labour market integration of ethnic-Greeks from ex-USSR republics and projects of community development; and (c) visits to statutory agencies, NGOs and other organizations involved in welfare provision and project implementation (i.e. the local branch of the National Institute for the Reception and Rehabilitation of Greek Repatriates and Local Social Services Departments).


The preparatory report serves two main purposes. First, students gather basic information of their own welfare state to enable them to participate in the program, especially in the discussion sessions, with an appropriate level of knowledge on their own social and political system. Second, students present their preparatory reports on the first days of the program to all other participants. These presentations provide all participants with some insight in the basic traits of the issues and solutions concerning social exclusion and more specifically poverty and social deprivation of children in the countries which the students come from.

Student's Preliminary Report

Topics to address in the preparatory report



In brackets, below, is indicated the approximate length of the sections of the report. If necessary, use an appendix for additional information. Do not forget to reflect the sources of your information.
1. [2 pages] At the level of the European institutions the concept of social exclusion has become well-established. Yet, the meaning of the concept tends to differ depending on the situation. Sometimes, social exclusion is treated as a synonym to 'income poverty', sometimes it is regarded as concerning loneliness (e.g. of the elderly), sometimes it has to do with the lack of social appreciation of the handicapped, ... Moreover, social exclusion is a well-known concept in some countries, while it is not used at all in others. Consequently, three questions can be asked:
a. What are the dimensions of children's poverty in your country?
b. How is it associated with immigration, minorities, disabilities, etc...
c. Is children's poverty a social / political issue in your country? What are policy measures taken by your country?
d. Is 'social exclusion' a social/political issue in your country? Are politicians and the public concerned about it?
e. If not: would you say that public concern is geared towards
poverty or rather income inequality? Provide some data to illustrate the issues that are regarded as problematic (e.g. percentage of poor families).
f. What are the main consequences of poverty to children and families?

2. [3 pages] List three important policy initiatives of your government (central, regional or local) to fight social exclusion/poverty/income inequality, children's drop out from compulsory education and discuss:
a. Are these effective initiatives and why (not)?
b. In what respect are these important initiatives?

3. [1 page] Would you argue that your country's membership to the European Union is beneficial towards social inclusion or rather the opposite? In other words, do the socially excluded benefit from it or not? Think for instance of the European Social Fund, 'race to the bottom', 'Open Method of Coordination' and the National Action Plans,.... Would you argue that the implementation of such policies have assisted towards tackling children's poverty and social exclusion in your country

Practical notes
When you present your report in public during the first days of the course you are recommended to use a PowerPoint presentation. Please mail an electronic copy of the report to to be put on the IP's website. The dead-line for that is February 23, 2008.