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
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.
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;
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.