Improving the quality of education – EERA Network 11 through the years

Improving the quality of education – EERA Network 11 through the years

EERA is celebrating 30 years in 2024, and as part of our anniversary celebrations, we have invited people who have been at the heart of the association to share their memories and reflections. In a series of blog posts, which will run throughout 2024, we will share those precious memories, from the people who helped foster the global EERA community.

In this blog post, Dr Samuel Gento, Honorary Link Convenor of Network 11, reflects on the activities of the network to improve the quality of education in Europe and beyond.

The celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the European Educational Research Association (EERA) is an important event to be enjoyed by all of us who are concerned with the study and improvement of education in Europe and in the rest of the world. Education is a fundamental factor in humanity’s progress and development of all human beings, wherever they are. In general, the contributions of EERA extend to different areas and responsible people, such as the following:

  • Quality of education in itself;
  • Professors from universities and other educational institutions;
  • Educators, in general (in their various positions and intervention modalities);
  • Researchers, in general, and, especially, those dedicated to the improvement of education;
  • Universities and other educational institutions;
  • Educational systems in countries around the world;
  • Progress of all countries, consolidated by a good education;
  • Interpersonal human relationships, optimized with a good educational level;
  • Democratic organizations, strengthened by their members’ good education.

Although the European Educational Research Association (EERA) has its headquarters and its priority field of activities in Europe, the impact of its research extends to all areas and countries of our planet, as has been demonstrated by participants from other continents, such as Asia, Africa, America, Australia and Oceania.

EERA Network 11 – part of the EERA family

In my role as convenor and link-convenor of Network 11, Educational Improvement and Quality Assurance, I have received the invaluable help provided by the Association, in general, and, in particular, by its components such as:

• The EERA Office in Berlin
• The Executive Board, with its President, General Secretary, Treasurer and their staff members
• The EERA Council
• The co-convenors, especially those from Network 11
• The reviewers of proposals, proceeding from all continents
• The presenters of papers, symposia, posters, round tables, etc.
• The participants in the different sessions, especially those of Network 11

My first presentation at the Association Conferences (ECER) took place in 1999 at the Conference held in Lahti (Finland).

After successive presentations, I was designated as ‘link convenor’ of Network 11 in 2007, at the ECER held in Ghent (Netherlands), a position previously implemented by Dr. Jan van Damme, from Holland).

With the support of Network co-convenors, I acted as Link Convenor’ until 2014, when I presented my resignation at the ECER held in Porto (Portugal).
In 2018, I was designated ‘Honorary Link Convenor, a position I continue to hold today.

After my resignation as Link Convenor, other co-convenors were appointed to this position in Network 11:

  • Linn Grant McMahon, from Scotland (from 2015 to 2016)
  • Heidi Flavian, from Israel (from 2016 to 2021)
  • Ineta Luka, from Latvia (from 2021 to 2024)

The purpose and activities of Network 11 over the years

The fundamental purpose of Network 11 has been to improve quality of education at its different levels and modalities. To this aim, we propose to investigate the procedures and strategies that contribute to a constant improvement of education. This will have an impact on an improvement in situations and conditions of every person, both in their personal sphere, as well as in the social, economic and stability ones in their particular context.

In the activities carried out by Network 11, we have received the aforementioned aid of EERA. In implementing interventions in conferences (ECER) we have had, in particular, the collaboration of Network 7,  Social Justice and Intercultural Education, and Network 26, Educational Leadership.

We have had to overcome some challenges in operating Network 11, such as the designation of successive link-convenors. This difficulty results from the increased responsibility and dedication that the coordination of the network requires. We also changed the name of the network itself. The initial name of ‘educational effectiveness’ was changed to ‘educational improvement’, by understanding that the quality of education requires a continuous and endless process of continuous improvement.

Beyond EERA – Network 11 in the educational research community

In addition to the activities of network 11 within EERA, we have carried out some initiatives aimed at research and improvement of education in various contexts. Among them, we may mention the following:

  • The creation of the ‘Leadership and Quality in Education’ network www.leadquaed.com
  • The constitution of the ‘European Association of Leadership and Quality in Education’, registered in the Spanish Ministry of Internal Affairs
  • The collaboration with several European universities for the delivery of a Master’s Degree (Universities of Spain -UNED-, Latvia, Germany, and the Czech Republic)
  • The promotion of the Journal of Quality in Education
  • The publication of the book From Pedagogy to Quality Assurance in Education: An International Perspective, 2020, Heidi Flavian (ed.), Emerald Publishing Limited
  • The publication of various articles in education journals
  • Participation in conferences held in different countries of Europe and America.
Dr Samuel Gento

Dr Samuel Gento

Emeritus Professor at the UCJC (University of Camilo José Cela), in Madrid

​Brief professional and academic history

  • Primary School teacher in rural and urban schools.
  • Secondary Education teacher in different provinces in Spain.
  • Education Inspector of the Spanish Ministry of Education.
  • Secretary of Inspectorate Counsel in Burgos and Madrid.
  • Associate Professor at UNED (National University of Distance
  • Education), in Madrid.
  • Lecturer at the UNED.
  • Full Professor at the UNED.
  • Emeritus Professor at the UCJC (University of Camilo José Cela), in Madrid.
  • Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Latvia (in Riga).
  • Link Convenor from Network 11 of the EERA.
  • Honorary Link Convenor of Network 11 of EERA.
  • Founder and President of the ‘European Association of
  • Leadership and Quality of Education’ (registered at the Spanish Interior Ministry).
  • Honorary President of the ‘European Association Leadership and Quality of Education’.

University academic positions

  • Curriculum Coordinator of the UNED.
  • First Vice Dean at the Faculty of Education of UNED.

 

Lines of research and professional development

  • Member of Spanish Delegation in international conferences and seminars, especially those organized by UNESCO.
  • Coordinator of research projects on: organization of educational institutions, teaching of foreign languages (especially English) and in-service teacher training (particularly in special education).
  • Professor of Didactics, School Organization, Educational School Supervision, and Special Education.
  • Promoter and director of the ‘European Joint Master on Educational Treatment of Diversity (120 ECTS)’, imparted by UNED (University of Distance Education) and Universities of Latvia (in Riga), Karlova (in the Czech Republic) and Reutlingen (in Germany).
  • Coordinator and publisher of 24 modules of Official Master’s Degree of Educational Treatment of Diversity.
  • Counsellor of the ‘State Education School Council’.
  • Presentations at conferences, seminars and courses in different Universities in Latvia, the United States and Latin America (especially in Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Venezuela).
  • Presentations at international conferences, mainly those organized by the ‘AERA (American Association of Research in Education)’, ‘EERA (European Association of Research in Education)’, ‘World Curriculum Council’, ‘EADTU (European Association of Distance Teaching Universities)’ and ‘EDEN (European Distance Education Network)’.
  • Organization of 11 International face to face Conferences on ‘Educational Treatment of Diversity’ in Madrid and Palma de Mallorca (Spain), and 2 virtual ones.
  • Organization of the First International Conference on ‘Leadership and Quality of Education’.
  • Member of the scientific committee of education journals such as: Bordón (from the Spanish Society of Pedagogy), Participación Educativa (from the State Education School Council) and ‘Quality Assurance in Education’ (from the United Kingdom).
  • Founder and president of the ‘European Association of Leadership and Quality of Education’.
  • Participation in: English teacher training, evaluation of educational institutions, improvement of the quality of institutions, educational leadership and educational treatment of diversity.
  • Publications in books and scientific magazines on topics such as: organization of educational centres, quality of educational institutions, indicators and predictors of quality of educational institutions, pedagogical or educational leadership, special education, educational treatment of diversity, therapeutic pedagogy, adult training, educational inspection, school supervision, management and supervision of educational centres.

Improving the quality of education – EERA Network 11 through the years

To celebrate EERA’s 30th anniversary, Dr Gento takes a look at the activities of Network 11 to improve the quality of education, within EERA and in the wider educational research community.

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For the 30th anniversary celebrations of EERA, Dr Patricia Fidalgo reflects on her time as Link Convenor of the Emerging Researchers’ Group, and the joy this fulfilling role brought her.

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For our series on the 30th anniversary of EERA, Dr Jani Ursin, reflects on his experiences as a Networks’ Representative on the EERA council, and the inclusive community of researchers he has engaged with over the years. #30YearsEERA #EdSci