Agency spring 2024 bi-annual meeting: Working for and with member countries

The spring 2024 bi-annual meeting of Agency country representatives took place in Tallinn, Estonia, on 21–24 May.

Bi-annual meetings are held twice a year and bring together the Representative Board members and National Co-ordinators from all Agency member countries. Over 50 country representatives attended the meeting in May, to exchange on inclusive education in their countries and to discuss current and future Agency work.

Following a welcome from Agency Chair Don Mahon and Director Cor J W Meijer, the meeting was opened by Liina Pöld, Deputy Secretary General for General Education and Youth Policy in Estonia. She described developments in the Estonian education system since it became a member of the Agency in 2004, including how working with the Agency inspired Estonia to write the principle of inclusive education into law in 2010. Since then, the inclusive education indicators in Estonia have shown gradual improvement. Ms Pöld pointed out that by 2023, 72.8% of learners with special educational needs were studying in a mainstream school.

During the meeting, Agency team members provided updates on on-going Agency activities, including Country Policy Development Support and the current Technical Support Instrument (TSI) actions. They described the benefits of TSI for member countries and gave some guidance on how countries can apply for the TSI 2025 call. They also provided an overview of how the Agency works for and with Agency member countries and outlined the Agency’s efforts towards increasing visibility and outreach.

They presented the six Thematic Country Cluster Activities (TCCA). TCCA is a new way for the Agency to work with its member countries, giving them the opportunity to work on their priority issues for improving their education systems across six groups, or clusters, of countries. The bi-annual meeting presentations included an overview of the focus of the work for each cluster, the expected results and outcomes, and the next steps.

Finally on the first day, Representative Board members approved the Agency accounts and annual report for 2023.

On the second day of the meeting, country representatives participated in experience exchange sessions on topics including cross-sectoral co-operation, classroom support, and measuring, monitoring and evaluating inclusion. These are an opportunity to discuss different countries’ approaches to inclusive education and share examples of practice.

The focus of day 2 was an event to conclude the Building Resilience through Inclusive Education Systems (BRIES) activity. All of the Agency country representatives attended the event, plus other stakeholders including parents, teachers and school leaders.

The next bi-annual meeting will take place in Poland in November 2024.

Four people standing in front of a presentation screen
(L–R) Agency Director Cor J W Meijer, Estonian Representative Board member Piret Liba, Deputy Secretary General (General Education and Youth Affairs) Liina Põld, Agency Chair Don Mahon
international co-operation

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