This profile was prepared when Roser Batlle Suñer was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
To combat the stagnation of the traditional educational system and the inability to transmit social values, Roser has created regional centers that serve as intermediaries between two separate learning systems: formal educational institutions and informal extracurricular programs. In this way Roser validates the educational value of the informal programs, which are based on character building experiences, and makes them available as resources to the formal educational sector. By doing so, she builds networks of educational allies, where formal institutions begin to view social involvement as critical to infuse classes with important values. For the government and the formal institutions to appreciate the educational value of extracurricular learning, Roser works with the informal sector to help it systematize the learning value of its activities. Roser trains and coaches organizers in order to teach children to identify and develop not only the social or leisure aspects, but the educational value of their activities. The students and other sectors of youth workers are able to gain a new perspective and appreciation for learning by serving the community. As the informal sector stresses the intrinsic learning value of their programs, educational institutions are beginning to view them as valuable teaching allies in building character, rather than inconsequential organizations meant to keep young people occupied outside of class. Through Roser’s centers, formal education entities are encouraged to validate informal education as an integral part of the formal system and incorporate it directly into classroom experiences. This opens up a broad gamut of options with which teachers and educators can enrich their classes and change students’ learning experience from seeming of little practical value to relevant to their lives. In addition, by combining the two sectors, Roser creates a learning experience that not only imparts academic knowledge, but also builds on the values and character needed for young people to be valued members of society.