At the School of OpenCohesion (ASOC) is an innovative educational programme aimed at promoting and developing principles of active citizenship in Italian schools starting from Open Data on projects funded by European and Italian resources, by way of projects of civic monitoring and research of European and Italian public funding.
ASOC provides the opportunity to develop skills in digital technologies, statistics and civics in order to help students understand and describe how public policies—and cohesion polices in particular—impact the communities in which they live.
Students and teachers participate in the project with the support of the ASOC territorial networks, comprising EDIC and EDC centres, the “Friends of ASOC” organisations, and the regional offices of the National Institute of Statistics (Istat). All The participating schools compete with their civic monitoring researches to gain several awards, including educational trips to European institutions in Brussels and guided tours of the Italian Senate or national television broadcast offices, as well as books, magazines, technology, training opportunities, and much more with the support of the project partners.
At the end of each school year, the best teams take part in a final event in Rome, in which the entire community is rewarded.
ASOC was launched in 2013 as part of the OpenCoesione initiative, coordinated by the Evaluation and Analysis Unit (NUVAP) of the Department for Cohesion Policies of the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Education and Research and the Representatives of the European Commission in Italy.
The ASOC pilot project was carried on during the 2013-2014 school year. Until now, more than 20,000 students and 1,500 teachers have been involved. The project has been acclaimed by the Open Government Partnership as a best practice to engage citizens in the policy process.