Agency representatives from 36 countries and jurisdictions meet twice a year to get updates on Agency work and discuss developments in the field of inclusive education. These meetings provide opportunities for effective exchange of information and expertise among member country representatives.
The 2023 autumn bi-annual meeting of Agency country representatives took place in November, in two parts.
The first part was the meeting of the Agency’s Representative Board (RB), which was in Brussels in early November. The in-person meeting was linked to the launch event for the Thematic Country Cluster Activities (TCCA). During this meeting, the RB members approved the work programme and budget for 2024. They also approved the revised Articles of Association, which describe the Agency’s overall aims, objectives and board procedures.
The second part of the meeting took place online at the end of November 2023. This part was a joint meeting of the RB members and National Co-ordinators. Following an update on general progress from the Agency Chair and Director, the Agency team presented the findings of an operational survey that was sent out to all country representatives earlier in 2023. The survey allowed country representatives to report on how Agency work is used in their countries, and which elements are most useful for policy-makers in driving change in their education systems. Information from the survey was additionally used to put together the TCCA cluster groupings, and the Agency team will also use it moving forward to plan outputs and activities.
In addition, the Agency team gave updates on on-going activities, such as Building Resilience through Inclusive Education Systems (BRIES), Voices into Action (VIA) and the European Agency Statistics on Inclusive Education (EASIE). They provided details of Country Policy Development Support, which will continue the work started in the Country Policy Review and Analysis (CPRA) activity. There was also an overview of work to date in the European Commission’s Technical Support Instrument actions, including a new action starting in Finland and Ireland.
Finally, country representatives took part in experience exchange sessions, which allowed discussion and sharing of experiences on a range of topics. The topics, which were selected by the participants themselves, were:
- Capacity building: ensuring all staff are prepared for inclusive education
- Mental health issues, well-being and challenges after the pandemic
- Issues for quality assurance in inclusive education
- Inclusion for specific groups (e.g. challenging behaviour, refugees and disadvantaged learners).
The next bi-annual is planned for spring 2024 in Estonia.