The Bologna Process sets the goal that the “diversity of students accessing, participating and completing School Education, should reflect the diversity of our populations”. The ET 2020 Strategy aims to create education and training policy that enables “all citizens, irrespective of their personal, social or economic circumstances, to acquire, update and develop over a lifetime both job-specific skills and the key competences needed for their employability and to foster further learning, active citizenship and intercultural dialogue”.
However, despite decades of investment into improving equitable access and the social dimension of education, results from research show that inequity remains stubbornly persistent, and that inequity, based on socio-economic status, parental education, gender, country-of-origin, rural background, among others, continues to be prevalent in our Education systems. While improvements within the field have been registered, there is room for further supporting disadvantaged groups to catch up with their more advantaged peers.
Many of the traditional approaches to improving equity have also necessitated large-scale public investments, in the form of direct support to disadvantaged groups. In an age of austerity, many countries in Europe are finding necessary to revisit and scale down on these policies, so as to accommodate other priorities, such as balanced budgets or dealing with an aging population.
An analysis of the current situation indicates that the time is ripe for disruptive innovations to mobilise the cause forward by leaps and bounds, instead of through increments. The project will look at the failures of the current approach and will centre on three areas of interest:
- Motivation to change: The continued growth of the knowledge economy requires an ever-larger supply of prepared students. With higher socio-economic groups already saturating the Education field, such growth needs to come from lower socio-economic groups, to keep up economic growth.
- A Vision of a Better Future: The two projects on which META is based – ARTinED and ART4ROM - quote different policy documents, laying out a vision for a more equitable Education system.
- Available Tools: A host of tools hold the promise of improving equity. E-learning, recognition of prior learning, flexible learning pathways, that deliver the right skills and competences required in the labour market, dual-systems of education, open educational resources amongst others all offer the potential of improving equity. Arts integration has proved to be one of these tools, while addressing motivation to change and social inclusion.