The European Commission’s Directorate General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM) has launched a new website about its work through the Technical Support Instrument (TSI, successor to the Structural Reform Support Programme – SRSP).
The website, which launched in June 2021, contains information about the TSI and how it supports countries to create and implement a broad range of reforms in many different policy areas. The ‘Skills, education and training’ policy area on the website contains information on reforms across Europe to improve inclusive education systems. This includes the Agency’s work with the Portuguese Ministry of Education to monitor the implementation of Portugal’s law on inclusive education.
The Agency’s work in Portugal started in June 2020 and will run until August 2022. From the outset, the work has taken place at a distance due to the COVID-19 health and safety measures and travel restrictions. Despite this limitation, the project is progressing well.
In the first eight months, the Agency team analysed the Portuguese education system. They set up a framework presenting a set of standards or aspirational statements found in the law on inclusive education and its accompanying measures, to provide a snapshot of the Portuguese education system. At the same time, the Norwegian and Estonian education systems were analysed for comparison, to identify strengths, challenges and common elements between the three systems. This analysis underpins the design of the system to monitor the law’s implementation.
Since spring 2021, the Agency has been defining the indicators that will be used in the monitoring system. Two meetings in March and April aimed to inform all stakeholders, including Ministry representatives, regional authorities, school leaders and parents, of the process and initially validate the monitoring system. Stakeholders showed a clear understanding of and interest in the Agency’s work which will help them improve the system to include all learners.
This summer, individual interviews with policy-makers and a survey targeting school leaders from the five regions (Norte, Centro, Lisboa, Alentejo, Algarve) will collect data on the implementation of the indicators. Visits to a number of schools across the five regions later in the year will complete the data collection.
In addition to the activities in Portugal, the Agency is also providing support to the ministries in Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece and Poland under the SRSP. The news pages include more details on these activities.