Today, the Commission publishes the final report of the Expert Group on Quality Investment in Education and Training, “Investing in our future: quality investment in education and training”. The experts’ report focuses on how to best invest public money in four major areas of education and training expenditure in the EU: teachers and trainers, education infrastructure, digital learning, and equity and inclusion.
The expert group identifies promising education and training practices in national contexts, which can serve as inspiration for governments and education institutions across the EU. These include initiatives to reduce teachers’ work-related stress, promote their well-being, and raise their pedagogical digital competences; one-to-one tuition and peer tutoring programmes; school building and renovation programmes to increase the quality of facilities; and quality early childhood education and care. Such national practices and reforms of education policies are regularly shared in the context of the European Education Area strategic framework through the EEA Working Groups, to inspire positive change throughout the European Union.
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, welcomes the report: “We need to ensure that all young Europeans receive the best education possible. Promoting quality investment in education and training is a key political priority for the European Union and is essential to achieving the European Education Area by 2025. The findings of this report will feed into our work at the Commission, and we will continue to promote a real policy evaluation culture in the Member States to support quality investment in education and training, and make the best possible use of the resources we have available.”
Findings also underline the importance of evaluating education policies within each country, which in turn could guide future investment decisions for the benefit of students, teachers and the whole education community.
While the education and training systems differ from country to country, EU Member States face common challenges in education and training. At a moment when the EU channels more funding than ever into education and training, the report also highlights the challenges that must be overcome to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of spending and in which common approaches might be beneficial:
- The lack of solid data on the impact of targeted investments on actual learning outcomes. More evidence is needed, and the Commission is ready to work on this by supporting education policy evaluation.
- There is a need to develop more robust evaluations of national education policies in general. This includes a need for expertise on evaluation methods among policy makers, and disseminate findings at EU level.
To improve quality investment in education and training in the EU, the Commission will launch before the end of this year a new initiative to put flexible but targeted tools, methods, and expertise at the disposal of Member States, to support them in the evaluation of their education policies.
The Commission Expert Group on Quality Investment in education and training was launched in May 2021 to identify the policy options that have the potential to boost education outcomes and inclusiveness, while improving the efficiency of public spending. The group has also worked on an evaluation methodology that relevant authorities and other key stakeholders may use on a voluntary basis to evaluate their education policies. An interim report was published on 19 January 2022 and its preliminary findings were discussed with Member States’ representatives, key stakeholders, and international organisations the same day in a dedicated workshop. Comments received have been integrated in the final report presented today.