Network of experts on the social dimension of education and training (NESET) 2016

Network of Experts on Social Aspects of Education and Training (NESET II) is an advisory network of experts working on the social dimension of education and training, established in 2015 by PPMI.

The overall purpose of the NESET II network is to provide independent scientific support (including country-specific expertise) and advice from the research community to the European Commission in relation to equity and social aspects of education and training. Being the successor to the NESSE (2007-2010) and NESET (2011-2014) networks of experts, NESET II consists of more than 50 highly qualified researchers and education policy specialists covering complementary areas of expertise and representing a wide range of European countries.

The work carried in 2016 provided knowledge relevant to the policy making in areas such as early childhood education and care (ECEC) and early school leaving (ESL). It also took into account the ongoing influx of migrants and refugees into Europe and the ways it could be accommodated by the education systems across the continent. The main NESET II outputs delivered in 2016 include analytical reports, replies to the ad hoc questions, annual conference.

Analytical Reports

The Network prepared three long thematic reports (40-50 pages long) to strengthen the Commission’s knowledge-base in selected policy areas.

The first thematic report Professionalisation of Childcare Assistants in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC): Pathways Towards Qualification (AR1/2016) looked into the initial education and the continuing professional development of ECEC assistants. It provided an overview of profiles of assistants in ECEC in European countries and analysed how their educational pathways can be successfully organised.

The second report “Structural Indicators for Inclusive Systems in Education” focused on structural indicators as a tool to manage, change and bring improvements in education systems. Building on the previous research on early school leaving, the review investigated the possibility of developing structural indicators for ESL prevention and inclusive education at the national and school levels.

The third report “Multilingual Education in the Light of Diversity: Lessons Learneddocumented good practices and successful policy lessons on implementation of multilingual approaches in schools across Member States. More specifically, the report analysed the importance of continuity of language development for children in multicultural and multilingual classrooms and mapped effective language teaching approaches that promote multilingualism in schools and value all languages (e.g., translanguaging, mother tongue instruction, innovative pedagogies involving ICT, etc.).

Ad hoc questions

The wide pool of experts and strong profile in the social aspects of education and training enables NESET II to be flexible and readily available to accommodate and respond to ad hoc queries from the Commission within a short timeframe.

Six ad hoc questions from the Commission have been answered in 2016. “Successful Integration of Migrant Children in EU Member States: Examples of Good Practice” (AHQ1/2016) provided information on successful integration of migrant children – a subject that has become increasingly important across Europe.

“Recent Research Developments and Relevant Topics in Current Discussions on Social Aspects of Education and Training” (AHQ2/2016) provided a summary of new topics covering a number of social aspects of education and training that play an important role in academic discussions and research projects, new developments and findings, as well as research that promises relevant novel or renewed foci on certain parts of the field.

"Responsive Education" (AHQ3/2016) reviewed the history of the term "responsive education" and its geographical use. Additionally it provided an overview of how the term is used in the education and training literature.

"First / Second Generation Immigrants" (AHQ4/2016) provided a brief summary of the history of the terms and an evaluation of their further use in the future not only in education scholars but also by other players in the scientific and policy fields.

"Educational Poverty" (AHQ5/2016) described how the term evolved in in the 2015 when it was used for a first time in Education and Training Monitor to describe a very low educational achievement. The author provided an overview of how the term is currently used in the education and training literature.

Supporting young adults with special educational needs (SEN) in obtaining higher qualifications” (AHQ6/2016) addressesed multiple issues including patterns of access to tertiary education for students with SEN, information on how do the academic and social experiences of students with SEN vary by special need, subject studied and type of tertiary institution attended and reflection on what works in supporting this group to attain higher skills and qualifications.

Annual NESET II conference

Annual conference was a major event of the Network. It was held for the first time in autumn of 2016 with the aim of creating wider ground for information exchange, facilitating cross learning and exploiting synergies among two EC funded expert networks NESET II and EENEE, encouraging broader dialogue between policy makers, regulators and representatives of the academic world. The key question was how the EU can address the key challenges more efficiently, drawing lessons from the research evidence emerging in the context of analytical reports and other deliverables published by NESET II and EENEE networks.

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