At the first international afternoon tea of the year, our colleagues Sára Hatony and Lucia Kákonyi spoke about the upcoming publications of the Eurydice office and the ELINET project results after two years.
Sára Hatony gave us an overview on the planned publications of Eurydice, a European network, which provides information on various aspects of education. The network is coordinated by the office in Brussels, their agenda decides what sort of information they would like to gather, and from what topics of education. The national offices are responsible for answering the questionnaires, and the thematic publications are based on these national data. They allow for a comparison between the educational system of European countries, and the publications also contain a Conclusions section. News from the Eurydice Office are continuously updated on their Facebook page, available at https://www.facebook.com/Eurydice-Network-180307152071407/timeline
Eurydice has 7 thematic publications, all of which are updated annually:
- tuition fees and student loans
- school year
- the educational system (according to ISCED levels)
- school age
- the recommended number of lessons
- wages of teachers and school leaders and
- educational spending.
Eurydice offices are currently working on three new publications. The first is about developing a joint assessment framework for the following 5 topics:
- students’ basic skills (E.g. Are there standardized tests to measure them?)
- employability of graduates (E.g. Does education policy rely systematically on job market prognostications? Is there monitoring of graduates, do they use it for quality assurance?)
- higher education (E.g. Do countries acknowledge non formal knowledge?)
- early childhood education (E.g. What qualifications are necessary for working in this field? What support is provided for parents and caregivers?)
- early school leaving (E.g. What extra support is available for schools with multiple disadvantaged children? How can the institutions spend this money? Is tackling early school leaving part of initial teacher education and teachers’ continuous professional development? Is career orientation present in schools?)
The second collects data on citizenship education (for instance the level of participation of students in their schools’ decision-making), and the third will be key data on higher education employees – their types, recruitation processes, their autonomy and career options, their mobility and conditions of employment and on quality assurance.
Lucia Kákonyi summarised the work of ELINET, a two year project launched to tackle the literacy crisis in Europe (as shown by the 2009 PISA results, according to which 1 in 5 young Europeans are struggling readers). A High Level Group of Literacy Experts was established, who have drafted a report with three overarching recommendations. These are:
- creating a more literate environment
- raising the level of literacy teaching and providing more reading support and
- increasing participation and inclusion.
One of the most important messages of the project is that raising literacy levels is the responsibility of all subject teachers – BaCuLit training is offered to those wishing to learn how they can help their students. From the 77 partner organisations of the network, our Institute and the Kecskemét Teacher Training College represented Hungary. The project concentrated on all age groups, and defined literacy as the ability to read and write. Themes such as reading for pleasure and digital literacy were included in the project, which also focused on project management, and thus created toolkits and good practices for awareness-raising and for fundraising as well. The products of the project include country reports (with a facts and figures template) and a collection of best practices (judged by 5 people according to a set of criteria before online publication) available together with the aforementioned toolkits at http://www.eli-net.eu/
Lucia Kákonyi highlighted the German country report, drawing attention to the fact that gaps (between boys and girls, between migrants and natives and between the best and the worst students) are taken very seriously. She also talked about one of the awareness raising toolkit: the practice of literacy ambassadors to promote reading whether they are students in schools or people in larger society whose life has changed due to literacy.
Finally, Ms. Kákonyi suggested some possible opportunities based on ELINET researches and developments, which HIERD could undertake to promote literacy in our country.