A new activity within the European Commission’s Technical Support Instrument (TSI) will aim to promote equal access to inclusive education across Italy, Portugal and Spain.
The activity will support the three countries in their continued efforts to improve their inclusive education systems and practices. It will help to strengthen capacity within their systems and make sustainable changes. As a collaborative activity, stakeholders at all levels will be involved in sharing knowledge and experience with other countries.
The Agency will work as a technical provider to the countries, which have requested TSI support from the Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM). This is the sixth time that the Agency has worked with DG REFORM, following individual country activities in Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland and Portugal.
The new activity was launched at a kick-off meeting in Madrid on 3–4 October. During the meeting, representatives from the three countries’ education ministries expressed their commitment to the activity and welcomed the opportunity to work collaboratively to improve their countries’ education systems. Ciresica Feyer from DG REFORM highlighted the value of peer learning and emphasised the need to ensure the countries’ long-term political commitment to the work, regardless of changes in leadership.
DG REFORM’s Director‑General, Mario Nava, reminded the audience of the need to improve access to quality inclusive education, as outlined in the European Pillar of Social Rights and in the context of the forthcoming Year of Skills announced in President von der Leyen’s 2022 State of the Union speech.
Agency staff and representatives from the three countries then discussed the methodology and addressed specific questions that the individual countries had about the activity. Recurring themes throughout the meeting emphasised the connection between inclusiveness and quality, the importance of continuous teacher professional development, and the need for effective monitoring. In addition, participants stressed the need to include all disadvantaged groups in the scope of the activity, and not just learners with disabilities. Finally, there was a general agreement on the importance of ensuring system-wide change to improve access to inclusive education in the participating countries.
The next Steering Committee meeting is due to take place at the end of November to discuss the initial in-depth analysis of the countries’ current inclusive education systems.
Visit the Commission website for more information on the TSI activities.