Offering the chance to the children in classroom of elementary schools to communicate with seagoing captains real time and learn a multitude of current information about sea life, trade, vessels, history is the essence of the “Adopt A Ship” program which is introduced in Greece by Project Connect lead by Irene Notias, Director of Project Connect.
Project Connect is a collective work of experts in their fields since before it was incorporated to a non-profit to make it official. It was a great movement during the financial crisis that offered internships to several young students and entry level jobs to those who asked for help.
- Do you provide your students the right educational fields that boost their skills and capabilities as well as broadening capacity for innovation?
- First, it is important to distinguish that we are not an educational institution. We are a non-for-profit organization based in Greece that has seized an opportunity to effectively brand the shipping industry by exposing it to pre-adolescents during their school studies and extra-curricular activities via the Adopt a Ship program.
It is a project based maritime educational program which develops capabilities and skills as indirectly as it does directly. It is for pupils ages 9 to 12 years old. It boosts their capabilities since they have as role models the most effective and efficient captains, who are at sea -- frontline in commerce and moreover during crisis periods.
Adopt a Ship is a symbol of HOPE for the future of Greece. Our children and our beloved Greek Shipping Industry have a good chance to benefit from this program in the long run, as it plants the seed of love of shipping and seafaring from the ages where it counts. Children absorb and learn much faster during these ages – 9-12 yrs old. The impact is permanent. Having the opportunity to communicate with a real live Captain at Sea on a Greek owned vessel that is trading and supplying food to another country where the child picks up so much info, from what the supply is, the port, the culture, the life on the ship, the feelings of a Captain and crew, there grows empathy, and knowledge of other worlds
Adopt a Ship’s pupils, from a young age, while they learn the language of English, the language of digital, they also learn about our history in shipping and the support it gave and gives to our economy. They travel along with the Captain and crew on their adopted ship and imagine about these ports, their countries, their people and how do they do things different from us. Adopt a Ship opens up horizons. From a seagoing cargo vessel or tanker where they get to learn first-hand from the Captain his “adventures” at work, they also learn to cope, manage, and feel from him (or her). They mark the vessel location on the ROUTE MAP we provide and learn about the great fleet of vessels Greek’s manage in the Book we provide about Greek Shipping.
- Do you organize seminars and lectures on hot shipping topics such as IMO2020 Sulphur cap, Tier III IMO NOx, BWMC, MRV/DCS and generally strategies towards the decarbonization of shipping?
- Although these topics are taught in the higher educational institutions, the captains do disclose related info in their letters to the class because it is real time and what they deal with every day. Of course, the material they send is light and just for knowledge.
- Have you invested in the diversification of your educational services taking advantage of the digital technologies such as AI, IoT and distance-learning? How the Covid 19 pandemic has impacted the educational programs of your school?
- During the lockdown, we immediately sent notices to the vessels and schools encouraging them to continue their correspondence exchanges, since the method of communication is thru electronic mail (e-mail). And they did it, writing such humane & touching letters of support.
- What are the programs and levels of studies (bachelor, master etc) of your organization? Describe the students’ life in the university/school campus.
- The teachers create a multitude of current lesson plans with the information from the captain’s letters about sea life, commerce & trade, vessels, history of Greek and world shipping, even music and literature related to maritime, and much more that is needed to live a good life.
- Have you developed innovative programs and partnerships that your competitors are not able match?
- Adopt a Ship is the most innovative learning program developed, in the world today; approved by the IMO and successfully running in Cyprus (where is started), Philippines, India and America.
- Describe other university’s/ college’s activities such as programs of working experience, alumni club etc and what are the future plans of your organisation?
- Our project is a collective work of experts in their fields to create work experiences that would then make a young person more employable during the financial crisis that caused unemployment.
The Greek shipping universities had filled their quotas for internships and reached out to us (among others) as did the students to help them get internships. We created an “easy to use” Internship Program which encouraged more to act same.
Currently in this world health war, we are more determined to find ways to help instill hope & wellness, then employability. Our plans will be announced when we will be able to implement them.
Adopt a Ship is a symbol of HOPE for the future of Greece. Our children and our beloved Greek Shipping Industry have a good chance to benefit from this program in the long run, as it plants the seed of love of shipping and seafaring from the ages where it counts. Children absorb and learn much faster during these ages. Having the opportunity to communicate with a real live Captain at Sea on a Greek owned vessel where the child picks up so much info about what the supply is, the port, the culture, the life on the ship. It is successful because the captains and the teachers want it”.
- Who is Project Connect?
- We are volunteers and members that use our time and energy to be part of the movement to help sustain the SUCCESS STORY that is GREEK SHIPPING; we did it for the sake of GREECE’S Economy and the well-being of its people.
We helped materialize this beautiful idea that was suggested to us by executives at CYMEPA, specifically its Chairman, Mr George Tsavliris. We took it steps forward by gaining the Ministry of Education authorization two times in a row and having an educator specialist Mrs Adamantia Spanaka (Logos2Learn)evaluate the work being done.
We know the domino effects of one link being broken in a chain. We aim for excellence and we believe that the ADOPT A SHIP PROGRAM helps cultivate special people like the seafarers are, from a young age.
Celebrating success in learning about maritime in Greek Elementary Schools!
“Adopt a Ship” January 2019 – May 2020 & still growing!
26 vessels from 14 distinguished Shipping Companies & 33 classes from 16 schools both public & private in Athens, Piraeus, Spetses, and Hydra.
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