Effective investment in education requires strategic investment in the facilities in which teaching and learning occurs. To ensure that facilities continue to support the changing needs and demands of the knowledge economy, substantial initial and sustained investments are needed.
This workshop is part of an international project on "Strategic investment planning for educational infrastructure" launched by the EIB in collaboration with the OECD Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE) in 2009. The purpose of the project is to assist national, regional and local authorities to improve the process by which decisions are made relating to large-scale investments in educational infrastructure, with a view to maximising the benefits of countries' initial investment in education.
This will be achieved by developing guidance material for strategic investment planning that identifies how countries can plan for and evaluate their educational infrastructure needs, for new and existing school building stock, taking into account not only educational considerations, but also physical, cultural, environmental, health and economic factors. Therefore, the objective of the meeting is to develop guidance, based on existing technical expertise and good practice in different countries, with a view to maximising the effectiveness of capital planning projects for educational infrastructure.
The opening speech of the workshop was given by Constantin Christofidis, followed by Luisa Ferreira (EIB) and Hannah von Ahlefeld's (OECD) presentation on the objectives of the workshop and overview of the project. Thirty-three participants from Albania, Belgium (Flanders), Croatia, Cyprus, FYROM, Finland, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Serbia, Turkey, U.S.A and the U.K (Scotland) attended the workshop, in addition to EIB, OECD/CELE, UNESCO and CEB.
The keynote presentation by Michael Lytton set the scene for the exploration of the three themes of the workshop, in the context of the previous work of the group. It covered the principles and processes of sound - and unsound - asset management, particularly related to planning education infrastructure projects. For each theme, 2 case studies from different countries were presented.
- First theme: optimising the planning process using principles of good governance in capital planning projects
Presentations were given by Ritva Kivi , Head, Construction, Department for Education and Science Policy, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland and Teresa Heitor, Deputy Director, Parque Escolar, Portugal.
- Second theme: collecting critical information to assist planning: developing inventories and conducting assessments of property condition and quality
Presentations were given by John Harnett , Senior Quantity Surveyor, Building and Planning Unit, Ministry of Education and Science, Ireland and Geert Leemans, Deputy Director, Agency for Infrastructure in Education, Flemish Community, Belgium.
- Third theme: developing an effective "educational brief"
Presentations were given by Jerome Sheppard, Property Policy Manager, Ministry of Education, New Zealand and Allen Abend, Consultant, National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, United States.
Following these 6 presentations, participants divided into three parallel working groups- one per theme -- to develop a working plan to obtain a set of guidelines/best practices on the topic. In the final session, chaired by Richard Yelland, the three rapporteurs summarized the working group discussions. Gaby Hostens, Former Director General, Department for Education, Flemish Community, Belgium, Michael Kellet, Deputy Director for Schools: People & Places Division, Learning Directorate, UK-Scotland and Allen Abend, Consultant, National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, United States presented on the first, second and third themes respectively.