[appeared in Kyouiku Katei Shinbun March 1999]
EURYDICE, the Information Network on Education in Europe, was set up
in 1980 as a means for exchange of information and experience among
the EU member states
In the meantime it has been opened to include other European countries
as well, and since 1995, Eurydice has been placed under the EC Socrates program
for cooperation in the field
In order to guarantee the production and dissemination of reliable and comparable information about the different national educational policies and educational systems in Europe, the network operates with distributed responsibilities, but also with a coordinating body and a common framework for the publication of education related information.
Responsible for the production of basic data are the National Units of the network which mostly belong to the national Ministries of Education. Coordination is achieved through the European Unit set up by the European Commission. For some research activities EURYDICE also cooperates closely with other European institutions like the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop).
EURYDICE`s main service is the database EURYBASE, accessable freely
via the Internet (http://www.eurydice.org/Eurybase/Files/Dossier.htm). Here basic information about the
educational systems is arranged according to a a common table of
contents, giving access to information about the respective cultural,
political and economic background, the structure of the educational
system, information about the different levels of education - from
pre-school to adult and teacher education -, special educational
needs, as well as about the European dimension in education (like
reference to various cooperation and exchange activities, statistics
about the participation in EU programs, and sometimes information
about special types of internationalized schools and curricula).
Not every point is covered equally well by all participating countries, but in general the reader gets a good set of basic information. Particularely useful are the indices pointing to lists of institutions, keywords, legislation and bibliography.
Another area is joint research and documentation. At the EURYDICE web
site we find a list of publications reaching from "Key Data on
Education" over comparative analyses of educational systems to a
variety of more specialized topics.
A European Education Thesaurus (http://www.eurydice.org/TeeForm/Tee.htm) can also be downloaded in several languages.
So this network that had been originally established to serve policy makers in the EU member states has now developed into an important provider of education related information that is accessible from all over the world.