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The IEC programme components are all inspired by and organized around UNESCO’s five major programmes and its “4 Pillars of Education”, reflecting an integrated approach to education:

  • Learning to know – a broad general knowledge with the opportunity to work in depth on a small number of subjects and learning to learn.

  • Learning to do – to acquire not only occupational skills but also the competence to deal with many situations, to put knowledge into innovation and to work in teams.

  • Learning to be – to develop one’s personality and to be able to act with growing autonomy, judgment and personal responsibility.

  • Learning to live together – by developing an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence.


IEC students will increase their potential for:

  • Recognizing problems
  • Seeing what the issues at stake are
  • Gaining knowledge through research and discovery
  • Seeing possibilities
  • Thoroughly assessing alternatives
  • Acting effectively and in an ethically correct way
  • Dealing with ambiguity and failure
  • Solving problems at hand
  • Foreseeing and planning new courses of action
  • Embracing a diversity of worldviews and knowledge systems
  • Negotiating differences and achieve common goals
  • Taking on responsibilities for oneself, for the other and for a common future

Characteristics of the educational approach are:

  • Instrumental: It is first and foremost useful.
  • Reflective: It promotes critical thinking.
  • Participative: It involves students, instructors, and other staff members.
  • Biographical: It draws from students' and instructors' real-life experiences.
  • Contextual: It sharpens students’ awareness of the creative and multidimensional interplay of the local and the global by using real-life cases as learning material.
  • Networking: It includes a variety of formal, non-formal, and informal learning spaces beyond the classroom.
  • Holistic: It is at the service of the development of the whole student, overcoming the dichotomy between cognitive and other forms of learning.
  • Dialogical: It is characterized by the exchange of ideas and opinions.
  • Humanistic: It sustains and enhances the dignity, capacity and welfare of the human person, in relation to others and to nature.  

Methods introduced are:

Project management: this involves organizing and managing a project in a practical way, which includes the initiation and planning phases, risk management and follow-up, implementation and evaluation of the results. Students receive additional training from the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) in Paris on e.g. financing educational projects by means of public-private partnerships.

Participatory Research: research either initiated to solve an immediate problem or a reflective process of progressive problem solving that researchers undertake together with participants to improve the given context of the participants.

Cooperative Learning: a teaching method that involves students working in teams to accomplish a common goal. They do this under structured conditions which include positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face promotive interaction, appropriate use of collaborative skills and group processing.

Reflection and Portfolio: a meta-cognitive trajectory of reflecting on and gathering evidence of one’s own experiences and competences that enables self-awareness, personal and professional growth.

Appreciative Inquiry: a research approach for organizational change, in which a team looks at what works rather than at what goes wrong. The ultimate purpose is to change one’s focus from problems to perspectives, from neglect and criticism to taking responsibility, ownership but also cooperation. This should result in greater involvement, creativity and successful realization of change.

Scenario Planning: a powerful method that can be used either for strategic decision making for the development of new ideas, the evaluation of existing plans, for vision and team-building or to describe processes of change. P(IEC) reveals how this is a workable method for planning future educational projects. Based on the study of trends and driving forces that could shape future education, students develop possible scenarios for the future and present them in Paris for members of the OECD.