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GO! hosts Innovation4Education Final Conference


On March 1, 2024,  EARLALL associate member GO! (the Adult Education Association of Flanders) hosted the final conference for the two-year Innovation4Education project. The project  focused on strengthening the capacity of European education employers through the promotion of innovation in education institutions in a post-COVID-19 era, and was led by the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE).

The conference was opened by Barbara Novinec, President of EFEE, who welcomed participants and introduced their network and the Innovation4Education project. The floor was then taken by Stefaan Hermans, Director for Policy, Strategy and Evaluation (DG EAC, European Commission). Mr Hermans celebrated the outcomes of the project, stating that the result is “not just another report”, but truly dug deeper into the differences in structural and institutional innovation in education. Mr Hermaans linked the report to how the European Commission is fostering innovation in education, notably through the European Education Area. In line with the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU’s priorities, the EEA seeks to put evidence-based policy at the forefront.

How to strengthen the capacity of European education employers through the promotion of innovation in education institutions in the post-Covid19 era?

One of the main outputs of the Innovation4Education project is a short report on the possibilities for innovation in education in a post-COVID-19 era. Peter Kelly, researcher at the University of Plymouth, outlined the main findings that the project contributed to. For example, the report suggests that education needs to build resilience and be responsive, where resilience depends on developing communities, and being responsive is linked to innovation. In this way, the report moves away from the understanding of innovation as technological advancements only but rather proposes innovation as a way to solve real problems in local contexts.

Following this, a panel discussion was held with the question “What are the current priorities in the education sector in Europe and how to comprehensively foster new ideas and innovation?”, with speakers from ESHA, EPA, OBESSU and the Flemish Department of Education and Training, moderated by Isabelle Janssens, the Director of GO!. Panellists discussed various topics, including the need to promote well-being for students, a sense of community in classrooms and support teaching through the strong involvement of parents.

Peter Kelly then discussed the draft policy recommendations that were a result of the project, asking for audience input. The recommendations cover four areas: innovation and technology; innovation in professional learning; innovation in management and leadership and structural innovation. Participants shared their views and developed the draft recommendations.

Finally, an important aspect of the event was the poster showcase of different members of the EFEE community, including schools from Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Poland. Guests were invited to discover the posters of the practices in the corridor, and also through presentations.