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Conference Opening - Henrik Faudel, ETF Head of Geographical Operations Dept

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Conference Opening - Henrik Faudel, ETF Head of Geographical Operations Dept

  1. 1. Henrik’s opening address - key points Thanks and welcome on behalf of ETF A. Thank the Israeli hosts (Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Education) for organising this cross regional event together with ETF, including the schools that will host the visits, which will be the highlight. B. Welcome and thanks to the Project team (LSE and all the national level actors) and European guests (inc. EU Del., CoE etc). C. Thank the Partner Countries’ policy makers, school professionals, researchers and all the participants in national and local advisory boards and focus groups. D. Mention the three Regional meetings in the 12-month period (Vienna, Turin, Tel Aviv) and their importance for: maintaining momentum, continuity, peer learning and consolidating networks. The seminar and the project E. Focus on young people and the project All of us here today, whether policy-makers, policy advisers, managers, school professionals, researchers, have a common goal to give all our precious young people a fair chance in life. We all have that responsibility and we are accountable if we fail any of them. All our efforts in relation to this project are taken in good faith that we can make a difference. F. Focus on the function of the project to enhance co-operation Not one of us can meet this responsibility without the other. We are links in a chain and a weak link can render that chain defective. The project that brings us together has the function of strengthening interconnectivity between us and facilitating joined-up action to tackle the mammoth task of improving social equity. G. Focus on the inclusiveness of VET schools and the project Our schools are microcosms of wider society and we must do everything in our power to ensure their inclusiveness; social inclusion of young people is of course dependent on myriad external factors. The project aimed to ‘open up’ the world of the school and examine inclusion policies and practices both from within (by engaging principals teachers and learners in analyses) and outside (by engaging external stakeholders in analyses). The importance of the project for the participating countries H. The project draws attention to important findings on VET and social inclusion that are needed to raise awareness of the challenges, and the competence needed to address them. It draws attention to the vital role of evidence (research, data collection and analysis) to improve policy and practice. The project provided a methodology to gather, and gauge the efficacy of, the evidence needed to support the development of policy actions for VET equity enhancement. I. The true value of the project can be best measured by the extent its outcomes met the expectations of Partner Countries, inter alia to:  endorse a broader understanding of disadvantage as part of diversity and the need to develop systemic responses to it within the paradigm of inclusive VET; 1
  2. 2. strengthen policy dialogue and policy learning processes in order to embed inclusiveness in VET reforms;  enhance evidence on barriers affecting the access, participation and attainment of all learners in VET;  support – with policy analysis, expertise and capacity building measures - the process of preparing VET systems to provide tailored and flexible responses towards the diverse needs of learners. Stress that you do not want to take from the LSE presentation when the project findings will be presented in a detailed analysis.  J. Reiterate that the project clearly demonstrates strengthened multilevel, multi-actor partnership processes that aim to improve VET inclusiveness with a special focus on schools (within and across schools, between schools and the local community, between schools and policy-makers, between schools and the research community). Allude to the similarities of the challenges facing WBTI in this area of VET and social inclusion and the value of cross-regional co-operation and joining forces to tackle often mammoth tasks. The ETF hopes that these processes and practices nurtured throughout the project will be sustained in the follow up. K. Mention how the nine country reports, on which the synthesis report at the core of the Seminar proceedings is based, are testaments to the importance of the project’s contribution in changing mind-sets a precursor to changing cultures and practices. The relevance of the project for the wider EU/ETF agenda L. Refer to the timeliness of the project as the EU steps up its policies and measures to combat the alarmingly high rate of EU youth unemployment that threatens social cohesion (the EU average is exceeded in some PCs). This project identifies policy actions that could play a role in combating youth unemployment. M. Provide some examples of how learning from the project feeds into ETF work, e.g.: 1. The project contributes to ETF corporate knowledge and competence on VET and social inclusion and cohesion and strengthens our services in this field for all our partners. E.g. The re-shaping of the Torino Process analytical framework to reflect the transversality of social inclusion in VET. 2. With specific reference to VET and social inclusion, the ETF facilitates partner countries to make use of EU policies as guiding lights for reform. E.g. Re-thinking education and training, which promotes measures (reinforced by the outcomes of this project) to improve the performance of young people ‘at risk’ of ESL that include: ensuring that the social aspects of E&T are sustained and that equal opportunities for access to quality E&T are provide; basing strategies to reduce ESL on evidence, applying mechanisms for the early detection of low achievers, strengthening basic skills provision and providing individualised support. 3. This project helps to shape the approach taken to ETF services related to EU candidacy and accession e.g.:  The South East Europe Strategy 2020, the Region’s response to Europe 2020, the EU’s 10-year growth strategy. 2
  3. 3. The success of SEE 2020 is contingent on E&T reform, which includes higher quality, accessible and equitable VET (according to Goran Svilanovic, secretary-general of the Regional Cooperation Council at the Salzburg HLPF).  ET 2020, especially the ‘Bruges reporting process’ that provides a framework for reform and benchmarking. Short-term objectives include: taking preventive & remedial measures to maximize the contribution of VET in combating ESL, providing integrated guidance services closely related with labour market needs; setting up monitoring systems on transitions from learning to work. Pledge that ETF Country Managers will continue to support Partner Countries to implement the policy agenda for VET and social inclusion. The aim of the seminar N. The purpose of the seminar (additional to peer-learning and networking) is to: jointly reflect on the conclusions of the synthesis study and plan to take forward its recommendations. The seminar gives stakeholders the opportunity to give feedback on the contents of the synthesis study, which will be taken into account in the final report (to be agreed with the Heads of the National Boards). Look to the future O. Stress that important as the project is, its results are ‘drops in the ocean’ and a tremendous amount of work still needs to be done. We are well aware that facilitating the process of building inclusive and equitable VET systems is a long-term effort and requires serious and long-term local commitment. The heterogeneity of VET and the diverse dimensions to social inclusion and social cohesion need multi-faceted policy responses, based on the concerted actions of different governmental and nongovernmental actors at central, intermediary and local levels. This requires extensive capacity-building, which needs time and other resources. P. Acknowledge the achievements of the EC, the CoE, LSE, and relevant authorities and institutions represented at the seminar, to build on the accomplishments of the project in the context of the Joint EU/CoE Project “Regional Support for Inclusive Education” (mention the Tirana meeting 6-7/11) and make prominent the special characteristics of VET and the needs of VET learners within the E&T continuum. Conclusion Q. Although this particular journey that we embarked on together is nearing an end, we have not yet quite reached our destination. We have these three days left to expand and enrich our store of knowledge on the topic, primarily by getting to know the context in Israel better but also making good use of our visits and presentations to further exchange cross-region information and of course to discuss and agree on the final conclusions of the study, consider options regarding the implementation of its recommendations and reflect on how we can maintain these precious networks that we have formed and the processes that put people first. 3