14 SES 09 A, Disadvantaged Students, Schools and Institutionalised Children
It is necessary to recognize that education is subject to unprecedented challenges in the context of globalisation, in the world of urbanisation and increasing social and cultural diversity, in the age of the fourth industrial revolution (Swab, 2014), and in the environment characteristic of the post-modernity and liquid modernity society (Bauman, 2015; Popkewitz, 2012, Biesta, 2014).
Education should prepare young people to resolve problems that are not yet clearly defined, to take jobs that have not yet been created, to be able to use future technologies.
Therefore, education has to overcome two substantial challenges and find an answer to the following questions: What competences will present-time students need in order to shape their own life and sustainable development of the society? How can an educational system develop these competencies effectively? (OECD, 2018).
In the conditions of changing educational and development landscapes and building-up the ecosystem of learning one should recruit policy-makers, academic experts, local community authorities, and families and look for possibilities to make new solutions in the rapidly changing and uncertain educational world (OECD, 2017).
The Future Competences Toward a Global Reference Point (UNESCO, 2015), the Transformative Competencies (creating new values, reconciling tensions and dilemmas, taking responsibility (OECD, 2018) defined by OECD, new trends in education (shifting global gravity, security in a risky world, modern culture, etc.) (OECD, 2019) require not only to review formal education but also to cast a new glance at possibilities provided by non-formal education.
Non- formal education, which is characterised by a high degree of flexibility in the context of specific learning needs of children, openness to change and innovation in its organisation, pedagogy and delivery modes (Yasunaga, 2014; Rogers, 2004; Hoppers, 2006; Rose, 2009; UNESCO Bangkok, 2012; UNESCO and UNICEF, 2013) and involves a wide range of stakeholders(UNICEF/UIS, 2014) gives children the possibility to develop their values, skills and competencies other than those acquired in the framework of formal education, contribute to reduction of social differences, provide new education opportunities for students from the socio-economically disadvantaged background: migrants, children in rural areas, those from deprived families and children with special educational needs, etc.
PISA (2015) results revealed that socio-economically disadvantaged students are almost three times more likely than advantaged students to perform below the baseline students (OECD, 2016). They also are attributed to the risk group of early school leavers (Downes, 2013; European Commission, 2011, 2013; European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, 2016); they have fewer possibilities for individual and collective well-being. Therefore, still greater attention is given for non-formal education globally (United Nations, 2015), in the EU (Europe 2020; the Council of the European Union, 2012) and national level (Concept of Non-formal Education of Children, 2015).
The research problem:
What is the way to use possibilities provided by non-formal education of children to reduce social inequalities and increasing equity in educational opportunities and learning outcomes.
The problem under investigation is further elaborated in line with the following questions:
• Why is the liquidation of social differences given such a strong focus in the context of present-time education?
• In what way non-formal education of children might contribute to providing equal opportunities for all and inclusive growth?
• How do particular countries develop their strategies of non-formal education targeted at the needs of socially, economically and educationally disadvantaged students?
The object of the research: Organization of non-formal education of children in Lithuania.
The aim of the research: to analyze distinguishing features in the process of organization of non-formal education for children in Lithuania aimed at overcoming social inequality, ensuring equitable learning opportunities and sharing its success stories in the international context.
Building on the research object and the uniqueness of a new phenomenon in education has been chosen as the methodology of the case study based on the paradigm of constructivist approaches (Stake, 1995; Yin, 2003) that truth is relative and is dependent on one’s perspective (Baxter, Jack, 2008). The case study is defined as a research strategy (Dul, Hak, 2008) or an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon in real-life context, in particular, when the boundaries between the object of the study and the context are not clearly evident (Yin, 2004, 2008; Sousa, 2016, Zucker, 2009). The case study is an excellent opportunity to gain tremendous insights into a case (Baxter, Jack, 2008; Waterman, 2009). The object of the case study is one single case or a series of cases in their real-life context, and all results obtained from this case are analysed in a qualitative manner. It is non-statistical but an exceptionally “qualitative” method of analysis of all kinds (quantitative and qualitative) data (Dul, Hak, 2008). Data analysis according to Rubin and Rubin (2005:202) is the process of moving from raw data (interviews, observations) to evidence-based interpretations: “to discover variation, portray shades of meaning, and examine complexity”. A case study database includes the following sources of data: study of literature, interviews, direct observation, data triangulation, direct member checking. The data were analyzed following these steps: recognition, clarification and synthesization, elaboration, coding, sorting and going from data to evidence-based interpretations (Rubin, 2005:207). The research was commenced in August 2017 and completed in December 2018. Members of research: providers of non-formal children education representing the national level (4); regional/municipality level: mayors of municipalities (20), and institutional level (40). The role of the researcher in this case study is shaped by her great personal experience in the reconstruction on non-formal education of children: the researcher works is in the context of non-formal education of children for over 20 years. The researcher was invited to thematic working groups for implementation of the Basket of Non-Formal Education of Children, the full-day school concept in Lithuania. She is an expert in the Ministry of Culture for the Culture Passport, etc. Non-formal education of children is an object of her long-term research studies.
Lithuania, as a EU Member State, with taking into consideration the findings of national and international research studies, observations recommendations from international organisations, observations in the public audit reports on organizing non-formal education of children, national priority areas as well as having appreciated best practice gained by other countries, develops its original system of non-formal education of children. With a view to achieve more effective development of non-formal education of children, a funding mechanism that would increase the demand for and availability of this type of education was developed: in 2015, a targeted funding voucher “The Basket Funding for Non-Formal Education of Children” was introduced, and 15 EUR per month were allocated per child for one selected non-formal education activity outside a school. The network of non-formal education service providers for children was liberalized: activities are allowed to organize also by local community members, NGOs, private sector. Inter-sectoral cooperation takes place among institutions of education, culture and social policies: there are new activities of non-formal education of children. “Cultural Passport” (2018), Full-Day School (2018), Children`s Day Centres (2002). The service of non-formal education reach children: more possibilities are provided to children in rural areas, children with special needs. The number of children who use of the “basket of non-formal education” is growing: 17 % in 2015, 27 % in 2018. Every municipality makes its decisions about the priority setting in non-formal education of children, and it often happens that it does not takes into consideration the needs of socially disadvantaged children groups. There is no cooperation among the Government, city municipalities, local authorities and local communities in addressing the issues of non-formal education targeted at creating equal opportunities in education. Non-formal education for children from disadvantaged background requires more material resources and socially sensitive approach from the local community.
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