GOETE has taken up its way in January with a public symposium and a first meeting of all partners. In this article we summarize what has happened since then.

a.) The GOETE kick-off meeting in Tuebingen, Germany

The launching meeting of the GOETE project was held in Tübingen, 28-30th of January 2010. The consortium came together to lay ground for the future cooperation. Conceptual and methodical questions stood in the centre of the three days event. On the 29th, the project opening was publicly celebrated by a symposium in the castle of Tübingen. This event started with greetings by Herbert Müther (vice-rector of the University of Tuebingen) and Manuela Alfé (scientific officer, European Commission, DG Research).

Andreas Walther (project  coordinator), Manuela Alfé (European Commission) and Herbert Müther  (vice-rector of the University of Tuebingen)

Andreas Walther (project coordinator), Manuela Alfé (European Commission) and Herbert Müther (vice-rector of the University of Tuebingen)

In his keynote lecture, Michael Young (Institute of Education, London) shared his reflections on “educational policies for a knowledge society” with an audience of social scientists from different disciplines. After that, Andreas Walther (project coordinator, University of Tuebingen) gave a presentation on the GOETE project in general, which was followed by a panel of GOETE members introducing the five key thematic dimensions of the GOETE project:

  • Education on the life course (Manuela du Bois-Reymond, University of Amsterdam)
  • Access, inequality and diversity (Roger Dale, University of Bristol)
  • Coping and support in education (Ilse Julunken, University of Helsinki)
  • Relevance of Education (Bodhan Jung, Warsaw School of Economics)
  • Educational governance (Karin Amos, University of Tuebingen)

In the internal part of the meeting, the project network was constituted by discussing overall research strategies and setting up a detailed plan for the future work in the project. Every work package and thematic group was discussed separately and first decisions belonging sampling, contents and operationalisation were made.

b.) Recent activities in the GOETE project

The project started  with the kick-off meeting at the University of Tuebingen, Germany. In the meeting general ideas for the field work were discussed and first overall decisions were made. Since the meeting, a glossary regarding key concepts has been developed using the advantages of an online wiki. The glossary is accessible for the public.

Another product of the first phase are country reports of each participating country on key institutional structures related to access, coping and relevance of education as well as on key issues of existing educational research. These country reports follow a common format as their key function is to serve as contextual frameworks for the comparative analysis of the empirical data. First drafts of country reports have already been circulated and commented – the final versions are about to be finished. Parallel, field work along different work packages is prepared in terms of sampling and operationalisation.

The overall sample strategy consists of selecting three urban areas in each country covering different socio-economic contexts and – where relevant – different regional school systems.

In case of the comparison of teacher education a first internal questionnaire has collected basic information regarding structure and contents of teacher training in each country. In summer 2010 the data collection starts in case of document analysis and expert interviews in teacher education. As regards the surveys with students and their parents as well as with school principals questionnaires are being developed. Permissions from school authorities are requested.

The next project meeting will be held in Ljubljana/Slovenia from 30th of June to 3rd of July 2010.