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Psychology in a changing world

This was the slogan on the EFPA congress in Oslo June 2009. Among the many different subjects there was also for the first time a teaching strand at he congress. It was very stimulating to think and discuss about all matters concerning psychology education.
The next conference of the EFPA will be in two years in Istanbul. It is my strong belief that we as EFPTA should take part in the education strand of the congress.

On the Saturday after the congress there was the General Assembly of the EFPA. We were there to clarify why the EFPTA wanted to become an affiliate member of the EFPA. I pointed out the following targets and reasons:

Dear delegates,

I am very pleased that we as EFPTA can have a short moment to enlighten you about our mission and goals.

We started about 5 years ago in Cambridge where seven teachers of psychology came together to exchange views on pre university psychology

Our aims are simple and clear:
To share knowledge and experience of psychology teaching at pre-university level (Schools, High Schools etc)

  • To compare curricula
  • To examine issues of staff training and development
  • To share information on teaching methods and materials
  • To share information on websites
  • To compare examination/assessment procedures
  • To investigate sources of funding for exchanges and joint projects
  • To produce a bi-annual newsletter
  • To maintain a database of organisations and members
  • To promote staff exchanges and joint psychology projects

Since that day in Cambridge we have grown into a organisation who has been organizing seminars and conferences throughout Europe.
We have had seminars in Bologna, Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Cardiff and Helsinki.
We had our first conference in Barcelona in 2005
And our next seminar is scheduled for October in Seville.

There are still a lot of problems to solve concerning our organisation and definitely concerning pre-psychology education in Europe.
We are trying to raise funds to enable teachers from the former East European countries to participate in our organisation.
We have seen, by having a survey, that there are many different views concerning the quantity and quality of pre degree psychology education throughout Europe.
For instance Britain has already a tradition of pre university psychology education whereas the Netherlands have almost none.

We are strongly in favour of pre university psychology education for more than one reason.
We think it is advisable to teach psychology to all students from the age of 16 years old because:

  • It helps the development of a range of skills, including critical and analytical thinking, research skills, and numeracy.
  • It helps students while they are studying and lets them regulate their own learning.
  • Students learn about themselves and their fellow human beings. Hopefully the knowledge they get will also make them better at coping in life.
  • It could be used as a selection system for studying psychology at higher education
  • It could make students realize that there is more to psychology than the clinical part.
  • It could help students in choosing a further career in everyway they prefer.

In the coming years we will try to approach the national psychology organisations to share our views with them and to try to create a base for further cooperation.

We are very pleased that we will become an affiliate member of the EFPA. It will hopefully give us the change to exchange views and strategies who to achieve some of our goals with the members of EFPA.

After the speech some members had some questions about the quality of the psychology education and the quality of the teachers. There was an interesting discussion about the need of psychology education at pre-university level. On the whole everybody (about 200 members) voted for the status of affiliate membership of the EFPA. So since that day, the 11th of July we are an affiliate member of the EFPA.

There will now be a link from the EFPA website to our website. Also we will have to opportunity to put the dates and agenda of our seminars and meetings on the EFPA website.

Furthermore the EFPA will help us with finding ways to acquire some money from the European commission. This will be a difficult process but Sabine Steyaert from EFPA and Marianne Kant-Schaps from NEPES (Network of European Psychologists in the Educational System) will support us in thinking of different ways to reach our goals on this matter.

To become an affiliate member was made possible by the work of our former President Jari Honkala. Jari was president from the very beginning in Cambridge (2005) and he obviously did a great job because EFPTA is still growing and becoming a professional organisation with a growing number of members. Jari served out his full for years (2005-2009) as a president and he still will be a part of EFPTA for the coming years.

After the election of a new board Jari Honkala was thanked for his wonderful work by the new president Hans Reijnierse from the Netherlands.

In Edinburg EFPTA choose Renate Schrempf from Germany as vice-president. Udo Kittler from the Dortmund University as secretary, Wolfgang Augustin from Germany as treasurer and Joe Cocker and Marjatta Lehtorvita as advisors. Harpa Hafsteindottir from Iceland will be in charge of the newsletter. .They all will stay in function for two years.

So in 2011 we have to choose a new board. Till that time I wish everyone the very best and good luck with the job they will have to do.

For the near future:
From 22 of October till 25th we will have a seminar In Seville. We will definitely have some speakers and some workshops and there will be a board meeting of EFPTA

Hans Reijnierse
President of EFPTA, 2009-2011

Contact: Hans Reijnierse