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Eurydice Newsletter 2015, edition 6
16 June 2015

Eurydice News

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Welcome to the Summer Edition of the Eurydice Newsletter

Welcome to the second 2015 edition of the Eurydice Newsletter. The Eurydice Newsletter provides you with updates on the most recent and future Eurydice publications, as well as news from the European education world. Since education systems vary significantly across Europe, Eurydice aims at understanding and explaining how those systems work, and strives to inform you about its main findings.


 

Focus on 

Eurydice has launched its new improved, integrated and interactive website!

 

*"Clarity affords focus" – Thomas Leonard

"Eurydice website 2015: Eurydice launched its brand new website in April 2015! We have improved our website in order to make information more easily accessible. This new version merges the content of two former platforms: the one providing detailed descriptions and overviews of national education systems – known as 'Eurypedia'; and the other one where users could access comparative thematic reports and factual reports related to education. By integrating these two platforms, and by featuring a global navigation tool, we hope you will easily find the information you are looking for in a web-friendly manner.

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Are adults interested in learning?

 

*"Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death" – Albert Einstein

In the 1980s, the film ''Educating Rita'' struck a chord with many who saw adult education as a major cultural divide. Focusing on a young, working class hairdresser's aspiration to "improve herself" through education, the film revealed in a realistic and often humorous way that academic success for people from such backgrounds doesn't come easily. The obstacles are not a lack of talent, intellectual capacity or motivation – quite the opposite in the case of Rita – but come rather from the social environment and expectations of friends and family. Indeed, the main barrier for Rita comes from her husband's resistance to her aspirations, and his insistence on traditional social and gender roles. But the 1980s were a long time ago, and things have surely progressed a lot since then, haven't they?

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Education: the end of the alpha-male?

 

*''To call woman the weaker sex is a libel'' – Mahatma Gandhi

What is the most striking transformation that has taken place in European education in the last half century? The information and communications revolution and the changes brought to teaching and learning methods are strong contenders, while internationalisation and student mobility in education have also expanded education's horizons. Yet there is another dramatic evolution that we sometimes take for granted: the female dominance in terms of educational success! Why does this not make more headlines, especially since the trend of women outperforming men has been strengthening at all educational levels year after year? Is it because we have not let go of the idea that women are the under-represented gender? While women remain disadvantaged in some aspects of societal reality, especially in the labour market when looking at managerial positions or comparing salary scales, this is not true anymore in education. With the exception of one or two subject areas, women are the educational high achievers and at the forefront. So where does that leave men?

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Turning tides in school evaluation

 

*'The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple' – Oscar Wilde

15 years ago, the phrase 'school evaluation' would probably have triggered a rather one directional image of teachers assessing individual students. The reputation and 'fame' of schools depended on whether pupils generally performed well, and while schools or teachers may have been 'inspected', there was rarely a consideration of the range of issues that affect the school environment. Today, reality has progressed and the picture looks quite different. The one-way evaluation streets have evolved into multi-lane highways with everyone scrutinising everyone else. Teachers still evaluate pupils but now pupils also assess teachers. Teachers collectively also evaluate their own work. And increasingly, public authorities evaluate schools as a whole using a range of methods and criteria. In short, school evaluation has become a more democratic and transparent phenomenon. But are there any potentially hidden downsides to this new, multi-layered approach?

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Who we are

The Eurydice Network's task is to provide reliable information on, and comprehensive analyses of, European education systems and policies. The network drafts descriptions of national education systems, comparative studies devoted to specific topics, indicators and statistics. Through its work, Eurydice aims to promote understanding, cooperation, trust and mobility at European and international levels. All Eurydice publications are available free of charge on the Eurydice website. The network consists of national units located in European countries and is co-ordinated by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

 

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Latest publications 

>> Eurydice Brief – Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training in Europe

This Brief summarises the main content of the Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training in Europe: Strategies, Policies and Measures report. It focuses on the most important areas within general school education, and contains short case studies providing examples of policies to prevent early leaving and to further support student learning. The Brief was published on 11 June 2015.

>> Report – The European Higher Education Area in 2015: Bologna Process Implementation Report

This report developed by Eurydice/Eurostat/Eurostudent provides a snapshot of the state of implementation of the Bologna Process from various perspectives, using data collected in the first half of 2014. It provides both qualitative information and statistical data, and covers the main aspects of higher education reforms aiming at a well-functioning European Higher Education Area. The report was published for the Conference of Higher Education Ministers in Yerevan, Armenia which took place on 14/15 May 2015.

>> Facts and Figures – Recommended Annual Instruction Time in Full-time Compulsory Education in Europe 2014/15

This publication provides information on instruction time in various forms: national data sheets, comparative indicators and country specific notes. The data is presented in diagrams, detailing instruction time by country and by subject. An accompanying comparative analysis covers various instruction time indicators. Data collection was undertaken jointly by the Eurydice network and the OECD. The Analysis was published in May 2015.

>> Eurydice Brief – Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability

This Brief summarises the main outcomes of the Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe: Access, Retention and Employability report. By analysing national policies and institutional practices across Europe, it shows that to date, only a few European countries have developed policy initiatives, strategies, targets and measures for improving access for people from groups currently under-represented in higher education. The Brief was published in March 2015.

>> Report – Adult Education and Training in Europe: Widening Access to Learning Opportunities

Through a comprehensive overview of policies and data related to the renewed European agenda for adult learning, this Eurydice report aims to support the exchange of information, practice and policy between countries. It focuses in particular on those measures ensuring that the most vulnerable groups of adult learners have appropriate access to lifelong learning opportunities. The report was published in February 2015.

 

 All publications

 

Forthcoming publications

2015

Report – The Teaching Profession in Europe: Practices, Perceptions, and Policies

This Eurydice report will provide an analysis on the relation between the policies that regulate the teaching profession, and the attitudes, practices and perceptions of teachers. It will aim at giving an overview of where we stand, providing some evidence for the development of future policies. It will be based on Eurydice and Eurostat/UOE data, as well as secondary analysis of TALIS 2013, combining both qualitative and quantitative information from different sources. The report will be published on 25 June 2015.

Report – National Tests in Languages in Europe 2014/15

This short Eurydice report will aim to provide comprehensive information on basic, but key features of national tests in languages, including the length of time in which national tests have been administered to students, the purpose of the tests, which students are tested, at which education level and grades, and what languages and skills are tested. It will also examine whether test items are linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and whether national tests are marked internally or externally. The report will be published on 25 September 2015.

Facts and Figures – Comparative Overview on School and Academic Calendars 2015/16

These annually updated publications show how the school and academic years are structured for each of the Eurydice network country. The national sheets will analyse and compare calendars in full-time compulsory education in primary and general secondary school/study programme. The analysis will demonstrate that there are differences when it comes to the start and end dates of the school/academic year, the main period of holidays and the length of the summer holidays. The publication is planned in September 2015.

Facts and Figures – The Structure of the European Education Systems 2015/16: Schematic Diagrams

These diagrams will represent the structure of mainstream education from preprimary to tertiary level for the 2015/16 academic year. The publication is planned in autumn 2015.

Report – Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2014/15

This Eurydice report will give the reader clear and simple answers to the question of teachers and school heads' salaries and allowances, as well as a comparable European-wide overview. Separate country sheets will provide additional information on issues such as minimum and maximum annual gross statutory salaries, salary progression in relation to experience, and the different allowances available. The report will be published on 5 October 2015.

 

Report – Qualitative indicators – the Joint Assessment Framework (JAF)

This Eurydice short comparative report will present information that has been collected for the pilot 2015 update of qualitative indicators for the Joint Assessment Framework (JAF). It will provide some background information to the JAF qualitative indicators that will be included in the 2015 Education and Training Monitor.

 

 

European Commission News

>> The Bologna Process: higher education reforms among participating countries still too uneven – Education Ministers of the EHEA meet in Yerevan for two-day conference

>> European Youth Week 27 April - 10 May 2015 sees numerous events take place across Europe

>> European Commission produces fact sheet on how European education and youth policy can meet the challenge of radicalisation

 

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