Pioneering policies and practices tackling educational inequalities in Europe - PIONEERED (2021-2024)

An international research consortium strives to reduce educational inequalities in Europe by determining evidence-based policies and identifying pioneering measures and practices to enhance access to, uptake and completion of education, both in formal and informal educational settings. 

A good education provides access to the labour market, offers the chance of political participation and improves overall well-being, health and life expectancy. However, educational inequalities – i. e. disadvantages in access to and uptake of education – remain deeply ingrained into European education systems. Equal education systems play a significant role in making societies more inclusive and accessible to all. A profound reduction in educational inequalities would raise the educational levels of individuals belonging to disadvantaged groups and society as a whole. Therefore, taking steps to increase educational equality is crucial for improving individual life chances and the overall socio-economic and political sustainability of Europe. However, factors such as social background, gender, disability, or immigration history still continue to influence achievement at different education stages. 

To address these educational disparities, PIONEERED will focus on formal and informal educational settings (e. g. learning processes within families, clubs, communities). The project’s innovative approach combines analyses at different levels: from policies to institutions and individual students, teachers and parents. Particular focus will be placed on the specific (dis-) advantages at intersecting axes of inequality (e. g. male migrant working-class students), as educational inequalities are particularly pronounced at such intersections. Additionally, research will be focused on scrutinising student trajectories to formulate innovative and (empirically) efficient tools to tackle educational inequalities. 

PIONEERED will thus contribute to a general reversal of inequality trends in post-industrial European societies, where education is a major determinant of life chances. 

Aiming to provide policy and practice recommendations to counteract educational disparities at different stages of education successfully, the multi-method project will: 

· Develop an innovative methodological framework by reviewing the current state of research 

· Analyse how national (or regional) policies address inequalities and vulnerable groups 

· Examine data to identify intersectional inequalities throughout educational careers 

· Conduct practical research in (in-) formal educational settings 

Thirteen multidisciplinary partners from nine European countries will form the project consortium, involving research facilities across the entire spectrum of educational equality in Europe – from the more inequality-prone countries of Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg and Switzerland to the less inequality-prone countries of Finland, Norway, Lithuania, Ireland and Spain. 
Coordinator: University of Luxembourg