Spotlights on equal opportunities in education. Recommendation with policy proposals for a strong equal opportunities policy (21 February 2020)

To achieve quality and excellence for all pupils, there is a need for a strong policy for equal educational opportunities (GOK). In this recommendation, the Vlor describes how both the government and the educational field can commit to this.

General objective: narrowing the performance gap

The differences between pupils in learning outcomes and school careers cannot be explained on the basis of background characteristics such as socio-economic status (SES) and origin. The government and educational field must support this shared general objective. They each have to develop a policy based on their own role to achieve that goal.

GOK in the broad sense

The GOK policy must be based on a broad approach to equal educational opportunities. For the Vlor, six themes are still the structural levers with which schools can take advantage of equal educational opportunities: prevention and remediation of developmental and learning disadvantages, language proficiency education, intercultural education, transfer and orientation, socio-emotional development, pupil and parent participation.

Educational quality and accountability

Schools can implement an integrated GOK policy based on the Reference Framework for Quality in Education. The government must stimulate this through resources and space. Schools, in turn, have to justify their policies. Constructive accountability looks from different perspectives and is therefore ideally suited to the complexity of GOK. It makes it possible to account to external parties, but also to get a clear picture as a school in function of internal quality development. The government must provide the conditions for developing a culture of constructive accountability in schools.

Cooperation and exchange of expertise

The government must also act as a stimulator for cooperation and the exchange of expertise in order to tackle disadvantaged poverty in an integrated manner. Many partners contribute to a strengthened GOK policy, each based on its role and specific expertise. These partners include the pedagogical counseling services and the centers for student counseling, welfare actors, parents and students. But the teacher is the pivotal figure for GOK and the school always the center of cooperation with the wider network.

Government, schools and institutions should focus more on cooperation and exchange of expertise between compulsory education and higher education.

Special education

Special education must also develop a clear and transparent mechanism for GOK financing. The Vlor expects the minister to have research carried out for this purpose.