FRIENDS - Fostering Resilience-Inclusive Education and Non-Discrimination in Schools

Third Mission Projects; Europe

KA3 - Social Inclusion. Duration of the project: 2018 - 2020


Education plays a crucial role in empowering children in becoming active members of the society in which they live. Through learning, fundamental civic values and behaviours are conveyed in order to create inclusive societies characterised by diversity, pluralism and tolerance.

At European level, the ‘Declaration on Promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education’ (also said Paris declaration) goes in that direction. This document was the outcome of the informal meeting of EU Education Ministers held in Paris on 17th March 2015. On that occasion, priorities of action have been established at EU National, regional, and local level for improving the quality of the Education, Training and Youth systems as an essential tool to foster equity, promoting social inclusion and personal development in Europe.

It is only by considering all these factors that education policies may have a real chance of building inclusive societies.



Differences of cultures, nationalities, languages, gender in educative systems often interplay with factors as low self-esteem, learning difficulties and social exclusion. In addition to that, discrimination and violence in schools lead to lower outcomes, higher drop-out rates, and obstacles in the integration process of minority students.

The FRIENDS project seeks a solution for that!

FRIENDS is a 24-month project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under the Key Action 3: Support for policy reform: social inclusion through education, training, and youth. Its aim is to contribute to National and European strategies in answer to the “Paris Declaration”, fostering social inclusion and intercultural understanding in educative systems through the implementation on a wider scale of an innovative whole-school approach known as the Quiet Time based on the Transcendental Meditation programme (Quiet Time/TM programme).

This innovative whole-school approach is based on twice-daily “quiet time” breaks, a few minutes at the beginning and at the end of the school day, during which a simple, scientifically documented psycho-physiological technique, the Transcendental Meditation, is practiced by students, teachers and other school staff. It has been scientifically proven that this natural and easy to learn approach has a great impact improving personal and academic achievements of students, creating a general environment of peace and calmness and making social behaviours more tolerant and inclusive, while teachers at the same time see empowered their coping abilities for dealing with stress and with the diversity of the learning environment.

Moreover, building on the exploitation of an EU funded ongoing project (called “EUROPE –Ensuring Unity and Respect as Outcomes for the people of Europe”), the FRIENDS project seeks to disseminate and replicate the Quiet Time/TM programme on a wider European scale, involving new countries and a wider target that includes formal and non-formal education, and students from the age of 5 to adult education.

Being an innovative and learner–centred approach, the Quiet Time/TM programme has the potential to create a great impact on the European Education system where learning environments can foster equity and social inclusion and where disadvantaged learners are not discriminated and indeed are feeling respected and valued!