Exploring how best practices in education policy are developed in a European expert group

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CANCELLED – Monday 19 March 2018, 12-1 pm (Conference Room 2.15, Chrystal Macmillan Building)

Dr Natalie Papanastasiou, Postdoctoral Researcher, Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam


Exploring how best practices in education policy are developed in a European expert group

The sharing and development of best practices is without doubt a cornerstone characteristic of European governance. Best practices are a central feature of the Open Method of Coordination which, together with benchmarks, evaluations, and joint objectives are framed as holding the greatest promise for achieving greater European coordination across policy sectors. The travel and adoption of best practice has been extensively investigated within the literature on policy transfer and learning, which has been particularly developed by scholars of European public policy. However, this presentation argues that the process through which best practices come into being remains relatively neglected. It presents analysis from a Leverhulme Trust-funded project that explores the case of a European Commission Working Group in the field of education which develops best practices for governing school systems. By drawing on 70 hours of observation fieldwork, the analysis sheds light on what constitutes best practice, what kinds of best practices are shared, and how new best practices are developed during European encounters. By doing so, it reveals the politics these practices work to conceal, and discusses the implications for understandings of Europe’s OMC and the European governance of education.

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