Strengthen education to build social cohesion
Europeans are rising to meet the challenge of overcoming inequalities and of promoting social cohesion, but existing educational differences are not making this easy. EU-funded researchers are investigating the educational strategies that could help Europeans prevail over such challenges. The INCLUD-ED ('Strategies for inclusion and social cohesion in Europe from education') project received EUR 3.36 million under the 'Citizens and governance in a knowledge-based society' Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
The INCLUD-ED consortium, led by the University of Barcelona in Spain, says educational inequalities lead to risk of poverty, social exclusion and waste of valuable human resources on the labour market. The INCLUD-ED partners evaluated the interactions between educational systems, agents and policies at the pre-primary, primary and secondary education levels. Special and vocational education programmes were assessed as well.
The INCLUD-ED partners carried out six sub-projects, which reviewed several issues: literature on educational reform, theories and policy developments in Europe; effective educational practices in Europe; the structure of the knowledge society and educational inclusion; overcoming the social and educational exclusion of vulnerable groups; the gender dimension in the processes of social and education exclusion and inclusion among vulnerable groups; and case studies of local projects around Europe.
Over a 60-month period, the project partners analysed the characteristics of the school systems and the educational reforms that are yielding low rates of educational and social exclusion, as well as those that are yielding high rates. They probed how educational exclusion impacts diverse areas of society, including housing, health, employment and political participation, and evaluated mixed interventions between educational policy and other areas of social policies, to identify which are helping Europeans overcome social exclusion and build social cohesion.
The results of the INCLUD-ED project will contribute to the 'inclusive growth' objectives of the Europe 2020 agenda, including 'promoting social innovation for the most vulnerable, in particular by providing innovative education, fighting discrimination and integrating migrants'. The findings will play a role in helping Europeans meet the Europe 2020 target of bringing down the school dropout rate.
The INCLUD-ED consortium will be present the strategies and actions in education and in other areas, such as employment and health, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on 6 December 2011. The conference will provide insight on how Europeans can develop more effective educational and social policies across the region.
The project partners are from Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Romania, Slovenia, Finland and the United Kingdom.