Study of the impact of Comenius Regio
The overall purpose of the study was to provide information on how Comenius Regio was implemented across the participant countries and give recommendations on how local and regional authorities can contribute to improving school education. Comenius Regio Partnerships were part of Comenius Partnerships under the Lifelong Learning Programme, launched in 2008. Through Comenius Regio the EU promoted and supported project-based cross-border cooperation between local and regional authorities with a role in school education. Comenius Partnerships were composed of two partner regions and involved the local or regional authority with a role in school education, at least one school, and at least one other relevant local partner from both regions.
The objectives of this study were the following:
to measure the impact of Comenius Regio action at different levels: the impact on partners (individuals, local/regional authorities, schools, other partners), the impact in their communities and the impact on educational systems;
to identify existing Comenius Regio good practices;
to identify obstacles and success factors;
to identify the main lessons learned and make recommendations for future development.
The study relied on the evidence gathered using qualitative and quantitative methods: 1) desk research and analysis of administrative data; 2) interviews with the participants from 12 projects selected for the case studies; 3) interviews with relevant stakeholders at the EU level; 4) a survey of project participants and a survey of the Comenius Regio coordinators at the National Agencies and national decision-makers involved in the Lifelong Learning Programme Committee 2007-2013; and 5) social network analysis.
The study indicated that the Comenius Regio was successful in achieving its general objectives, which include strengthening the European dimension in school education and developing tools for sustainable cooperation across borders. The vast majority of participating organisations succeeded in achieving their project objectives. The involvement of the local/regional authorities as project coordinators was regarded as one of the key features contributing to project success although there was a considerable variation in the role of local/regional authorities were playing in Comenius Regio Partnerships. The nature and roles of third partners also varied widely, but the opportunity to involve a broad range of third partners, however, constituted one of the strengths of Comenius Regio. Overall, the development of balanced partnerships can be regarded as an important factor contributing to the positive results of the partnerships. The projects funded under the Comenius Regio action cover a range of different themes which addressed a number of educational topics corresponding to school education priorities and initiatives pursued by responsible national authorities, as well as local and regional authorities with responsibility for education. This indicated a good potential for using the results of Comenius Regio projects to inform educational policy developments.