Research on educational inequalities receives a boost from EU funding

Researchers at the Faculty of Educational Sciences are launching new research projects focused on inequality in education with funding from the EU’s Horizon Europe programme.

Professor Gary Pollock starts leading an EU funded project LEARN: Longitudinal Educational Achievements: Reducing iNequalities.

Europe is home to some of the most highly educated societies in the world. However, deep inequalities in education remain both within and between countries in Europe. Inequalities in learning outcomes, access to education and final educational attainment in Europe have been worsening and it is important to understand how socio-economic status, gender, ethnic and migrant status are associated with inequalities over the life-course. 

"For this a longitudinal approach is needed and project LEARN will highlight short-, medium- and long-term patterns of inequalities with a view to supporting educational policymaking in being able to robustly address these inequalities with interventions which are evidence based,” Pollock says.

Using a case study approach in nine countries which capture the diversity of Europe’s education systems, LEARN will map and collect existing data providing original analysis of a range of high-quality education focused longitudinal educational data sets across Europe. LEARN will identify interventions that compensate educational inequalities by providing a synthesis of existing work across Europe examining specific trends in educational inequalities and interventions intended to reduce them. 

LEARN will then go on to develop tools for policymakers related to the findings of longitudinal analysis which support them in the policy making process.  Through improving the evidence base for education policy making, the positive impact of LEARN is likely to be felt for decades to come. 

The LEARN project begins on April 1st 2024 and lasts for three years. THE EU has provided €2.3 Million for LEARN. LEARN research partners in the UK and Switzerland will together provide the equivalent of a further €1 Million.

Cultural Literacies’ Value in Europe

Postdoctoral Researcher Kemal Ahson and Professor Kristiina Kumpulainen received nearly €3 million in Horizon Europe funding for the Cultural Literacies’ Value in Europe (CLiViE) consortium project. The share of the Faculty of Educational Sciences is €658,000. The funding was awarded under a call for the topic Promoting cultural literacy through arts education to foster social inclusion

"Although the potential role of cultural literacy in shaping the knowledge, skills and competencies of young people needed for effective cultural literacy learning is well documented, the effectiveness of some of the arts-based education practices employed to achieve this remains, to borrow from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, ‘invisible to the eye’. Through the CLiViE project, then, we will seek to develop and apply a Theory of Change (ToC) methodology and Social Return on Investment (SROI) framework to increase our understanding of the value of cultural literacy through arts-based education on social cohesion”, says Kemal Ahson.

Commencing on 1 March, 2024, the three-year interdisciplinary project covers eight European countries and involves thirteen diverse partners. Kemal Ahson will be leading the research and managing the project under the supervision of Professor Kristiina Kumpulainen.

The MapIE project analyses longitudinal datasets from the perspective of educational inequalities

Postdoctoral Researcher Meri Lintuvuori is contributing as a partner to the MapIE: Mapping of Longitudinal data of Inequalities in Education project, in which the share of the Faculty of Educational Sciences is €170,000. MapIE is coordinated by Tampere University's Research Centre for Education, Assessment and Learning (REAL).

Lintuvuori works at the University of Helsinki's Centre for Educational Assessment (CEA), which is participating in MapIE alongside the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) as another domestic partner."

“The MapIE project investigates, describes and analyses datasets from local, national and international longitudinal studies from the perspective of educational inequalities,” Lintuvuori says.

All Finnish members of the consortium as well as the international consortium partners, the University of Gothenburg, the University of Oslo, Goethe University Frankfurt and the University of Szeged, also have access to significant longitudinal datasets of their own for investigating educational inequalities.