IIEP Study Visit celebrates 50 years

16 March 2018


primary school / école primaire - Ainhoa (pays basque français)

Educational planners currently training at IIEP in Paris embarked on a study visit to the Nouvelle Aquitaine region in the South West region of France last week from 25 February to 2 March 2018. This year’s theme was equity in education, with a special focus on priority education policies, measures to prevent school failure, and inclusive measures for disadvantaged children and youth. 

Organized by the French National Commission for UNESCO and the Académie (Regional Education Authority) of Bordeaux in partnership with IIEP, this annual highlight of the Advanced Training Programme (ATP) in educational planning and management also celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. 

“For fifty years, the French Commission for UNESCO has collaborated with the keenest interest in UNESCO’s excellent Advanced Training Programme.  This study visit, organised for each class since IIEP was first established, facilitates meetings and knowledge exchange between professionals, on the ground and in practice. In all of these meetings, the participants have been able to move beyond their linguistic and cultural differences, and find fundamental common values for serving distinct populations. These exchanges allow for a mutual enrichment, and foster the development of a global network of specialists and educational planners”, explains Michèle Delaygue, who has attended the IIEP study visit for almost fifty years.

“ I wish to address special thanks, both on behalf of IIEP and myself personally, to Mme Michèle Delaygue, from the French National Commission for UNESCO, for her exceptional support in organizing the visit. Mme Delaygue is a longstanding friend of IIEP who has led the organizing and participated actively in the ATP French Study Visit for 50 years. Her level of energy continues to impress.”, says Suzanne Grant Lewis, IIEP-UNESCO Director.

The trip provided the 17 trainees – from eight countries around the world – with new insight into how the French education system functions, including its structure, administration, and policy priorities, through a mixture of discussions with senior staff of the Bordeaux Academy and school visits to primary and secondary schools and universities. 

The programme also included a one-day trip to Pamplona, the historical capital of Navarre, Spain. The Navarre Education Department welcomed the trainees and provided a presentation of the Spanish education system. There was also a session on equity and equality of opportunities for disadvantaged students, as well as visits to a pre- and primary school in the area. 

Overall, some of the key takeaways from the Study Visit included: 

  • The concept of inclusive education has gained stronger impetus both among the French and Spanish education systems over the last decade; 
  • Close support, and monitoring of disadvantaged students in accordance to their specific needs must exist;
  • Having teachers and researchers who specialize in education for children with special needs is very important;
  • Greater parent involvement in school and out-of-school activities is required to promote the success of the most disadvantaged children;
  • The need for greater resources mobilization to achieve results in this area must be properly considered.

The trainees at IIEP this year come from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Finland, Guyana, Haiti, Niger, Uganda, and Senegal. 

> See more on the visit from the Bordeaux Academy here (in French).

> See an article in the Spanish media via Navarre.es and here (in Spanish).