Objectives and overview

The GOETE project is concerned with understanding how education systems deal with the changing relation between education and social integration in the knowledge society. It analyses young people’s educational trajectories in Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and the UK. Applying a life course perspective it asks how young people’s access to different stages of education is regulated, how coping with forms and demands of education and lifelong learning is facilitated, and if and how education is relevant for the future lives of young people.

The project duration is three years (2010 to 2012) and it is funded under the Humanities and Social Sciences section of the EU’s 7th Framework Programme. The overall budget is 3.5 million € of which 2.7 million € are from the Framework Programme.

About 50 scientists of 13 different institutions in 8 European countries are involved in the GOETE project. An advisory board of 10 experts from policy and research and ambassadors of additional countries (e.g. Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Malta, Portugal, Sweden) give advice the project with their expertise and critical view.

Members of the GOETE project in front of Tuebingen Castle

Members of the GOETE project in front of Tuebingen Castle

In European knowledge societies adequacy of education means a balance of individual, social and economic aspects.  On a scientific level, the comparison of the regulation of educational trajectories involves re-conceptualising the social aspects of learning and education under conditions of late modern knowledge societies. It reflects the need for formal education to be embedded in social life worlds, enabled by social support and complemented by informal and non-formal learning. For this purpose, the study combines a life course perspective with a governance perspective which allows to analyse how educational trajectories evolve from an interaction between the decision-making processes of several actors inside and outside of school, between individuals and institutions, from local to transnational level.

Exploring how educational institutions interact with students and their families on the one hand and other out-of-school actors on the other hand in conceptualising and organising individual educational trajectories operationalised by three dimensions:

  • the regulation of access to education,
  • support measures for coping with education,
  • communication about the subjective, societal and economic relevance of education.

The study covers the period from transition into lower secondary education to transition into upper secondary education/vocational education and training, i.e. the age group between 10 and 16 years. All 8 EU countries involved in the mixed-methods study carry out:

  • surveys with students and parents on experiences in school, transitions within educational availability of support
  • a survey with school principals on  regulation of transitions, provision of support and relevance of qualifications
  • a comparison of teacher training regarding  social aspects of teaching and learning, including the necessity of social support
  • case studies of local school spaces focusing on the interaction between individual and institutional decision-making inside and out of school
  • discourse analysis and expert interviews with policy makers and stakeholders on  priorities and trends through expert interviews and discourse analysis

The empirical results will be analysed across five thematic areas, which are represented by different groups within the GOETE project team: life course, access, coping, relevance and governance of education.

On a practice and policy level, it will provide information about alternative means of providing children and young people with access to education; of supporting them in coping with education and ensuring the relevance of education by communication and cooperation between school, labour market, other educational actors, students and parents.

The dissemination of findings will include a dialogic model of educational policy planning at local level, training workshops with teachers, youth workers and policy makers and a European policy seminar.

The GOETE work plan consists of three major phases: launch, field work and analysis

The GOETE work plan consists of three major phases: launch, field work and analysis.

The launching phase encompasses producing country reports with general information of the education system and gathering basic information and statistics concerning the projects contents in each of the involved countries. A glossary with all key concepts was developed and is open for discussion throughout the projects duration. The launch is followed by the second phase of field work. It covers five work packages: the comparison of teacher training, an individual survey with students in schools, an institutional survey with school principals, local case studies in different cities as well as a high-level governance analysis. The third phase will be structured by data analysis, the production of the final report while the findings will be also transmitted through supporting local educational policy planning and further training for teachers and out-of-school educators.