What did you learn in SKUL today?

How much do we know about what actually works in schools? And what don’t we know? On 1 January 2011, the Research Council will be launching the new Knowledge Centre for Education (SKUL).

The new centre is being established as a department within the Research Council with its own director and a staff of five or six. One of its key tasks will be to compile systematic overviews of Norwegian and international educational research and make this knowledge available to the authorities and other users. Another important task will be to identify areas where there are gaps in knowledge about education and schools.

Dissemination of research results is essential

“There is a pressing need to improve the synthesis and dissemination of educational research results to make it easier for policy-makers and practitioners to put these results to good use,” says Director General of the Research Council Arvid Hallén. He is extremely pleased that the centre will be administered under the auspices of the Research Council. The Knowledge Centre for Education is being established at the request of the Ministry of Education and Research. The centre is expected to take on a key role in Norwegian educational research and, in a wider perspective, Norwegian education policy at large.

The centre will feature a user forum in which the various actors in the education sector can make their needs known. The centre will utilise this input in its analysis of overall knowledge needs.

Independent national profile

“Establishing the centre under the auspices of the Research Council will give the centre a national profile and at the same time ensure effective cooperation with the Council’s educational research programmes,” says Eivind Hovden, Director of the Department for Society and Public Policy at the Research Council.

Knowledge gaps and existing knowledge

The new centre will work hard to track down all the scientific articles in the field of educational research – nationally and internationally. The centre will compile and compare qualitative as well as quantitative research and summarise the main trends.

Equally important will be to identify knowledge gaps. Are there areas in which we lack insight and need to learn more? The centre will report on knowledge gaps to the authorities, research groups and the relevant programmes at the Research Council.

According to Mr Hallén, the centre’s activities will strengthen the Research Council’s existing programme initiatives within educational research. “The knowledge centre will enable us to create better meeting places for researchers, practitioners and the authorities and to establish better principles for how the research results are disseminated. Everything is in place for a fruitful partnership that will benefit all parties,” he says.

Source: Research Council of Norway

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