The Educational Research Institute (ERI) was established in 1965 and is the central institution in Slovenia for research in education undertaking basic research, development and applied projects on issues of current interest in all sectors of education and related areas. ERI performs its activities in the context of the national research program (1999-2019) as a public service. Its’ researchers publish scientific works containing results arising out of formal research undertaken at the ERI, theoretical and empirical papers contributing to the development of educational theory, and discussion articles on research topics. Its work is carried out by 30 experts coming from different educational fields and covering different research areas and methodological approaches of educational research (pedagogy, andragogy, sociology, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, rhetoric and argumentation, political science). The last allows the ERI to successfully carry out a multidisciplinary approach and ensure to tackle the research problems and topics from different perspectives and enable to provide the overall approach to lifelong learning.
Role in the national educational space
ERI has a high reputation within Slovenian educational space and has been recognized as coordinator of many concluded and on-going research projects in the field of education and wider. ERI also performs activities for other clients, to the extent and in the manner determined by the program of development and the annual plan and directs research into fields which are strategically important for Slovenia. From that perspective, ERI carries out research tasks for the Ministry of education, science and sport. In well-established partnership with other research and professional institutions in the field of education in Slovenia ERI organises seminars, professional meetings and international conferences, where it actively disseminates results of the research work to different target publics (policymakers, practitioners, media, non-governmental organisations). ERI regularly reports about its research and other activities to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
Due to its key activities and affiliations (conducting research or seminars, conferences and programs for professional teacher development), ERI is in constant and direct contact with schools (headmasters, teachers) and thereby indirectly also with primary school pupils and secondary school students. Well-established cooperation with pre-school, primary school and secondary school network enables ERI to reach the practical / grass root level and influence the development of Slovenian educational practices.
ERI performs training and post-graduate education of researchers. Its’ researchers cooperate in graduate and post-graduate education programs at all three Slovenian universities. The last enables ERI researchers also to transfer the most prominent and actual research findings in initial teacher education in Slovenia.
ERI researchers are members of the most important expert bodies in Slovenian educational space (e.g. Expert Council for General Education, National Council for Evaluation Studies and Quality Assurance, Ministry working group for International comparative assessment studies, National Expert Group for National External Assessment, Expert Committee for preparation of White paper on education (1996, 2011) etc.).
The ERI has extensive experience in the field of international cooperation. One of the most important activities of the ERI is additional linking with other international institutions, meeting the status, staff and infrastructural conditions for inclusion in permanent networks of international educational research (OECD, IEA studies, European Commission, Council of Europe, etc.). It is a founding member of the European Educational Research Association (EERA). Since 2015 the ERI is also an active member of the international Network of Education Policy Centres (NEPC). In the last twenty years it has successfully conducted international comparative assessment studies (PISA – Program for International Students Assessment, TIMSS – Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, PIRLS – Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, ICCS – International Civic and Citizenship Education Study, ICILS – International Computer and Information Study, ESLC – European Survey on Language Competences) and TALIS – Teaching and Learning International Survey. In 2016 ERI in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport coordinate OECD Skills Strategy for Slovenia and the OECD Transitions project. Moreover, ERI is actively involved in the work of the European Commission’s Eurydice network.
These data show that ERI does not have only experiences in implementation of these projects but already recognized capacity to influence the EU policy level.