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GOETE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 243868
Funded under: FP7-SSH
Country: Germany

A closer look at the making of educational decisions

Educational decisions are not individual choices but result from complex interaction and negotiation. Students, parents, teachers, counsellors, policymakers and other stakeholders are involved across different levels of society.
A closer look at the making of educational decisions
Education has an ever-more important role in the integration of modern societies, which in Europe involves a delicate balance of individual, social and economic aspects. The EU-funded project GOETE investigated educational trajectories of young people in Europe in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Finland and the United Kingdom, cross-comparing a person's life course with a governance perspective, or: of decision-making and regulation.

First, the project team looked at how access to education is regulated and how individuals perceive accessibility across social inequality and different education systems. Second, it studied how students from deprived social backgrounds perceive educational demands and try to cope with school life and what formal and informal support they mobilise. Third, the meaning and relevance of education was studied from different perspectives, such as those of students, teachers, parents, policymakers and employers: what skills and competencies bring about 'satisfying and successful lives'? In particular, young people’s motivation is not always taken into consideration. These considerations are pivotal in furthering lifelong learning, employability and the knowledge society in Europe revealing a need for better guidance and counselling.

In addition, while parents and students are increasingly expected to take responsibility for their own education, participation in decision making at school is limited. Interestingly, the project found out that there is a 'blame game' between schools and parents with respect to defining trajectories. It also found that educational decisions are ultimately neither made by students and parents nor automatically determined by the education system.

However, analysis revealed that in comprehensive education systems with flexible and accessible support young people have more possibilities to come to educational decisions which are both viable and meaningful than in selective education systems and those with unreliable support.

These results and findings are important to help guide students in investing in their future. This implies understanding that students and parents cannot be made responsible alone for their choices. They show how formal education can be integrated in social life, as well as enriched by non-formal learning and social support. Most importantly, the project findings can facilitate access to education, inviting more actors to contribute to this effort. Quality education with the right support will no doubt help improve our society, and this initiative's efforts will get us closer to such a noble goal.

Related information


Education, teachers, policymakers, parents, students, access, coping, inequality, disadvantage,
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