The NEST consortium members, involving NGOs and public authorities from five different countries, as well as a teacher union, a schoool association and a university, met in Bucharest (Romania) to exchange on the preliminary results of the NEST evaluation. The meeting was co-hosted by Teach For Romania and the Ministry of Education of Romania.
NEST partners have been training mentors in all seven pilot programs to provide support to novice teachers in their respective contexts. A team conducting an evaluation has been using questionnaires to assess the policy experimentation throughout the process. The results from the first year of experimentation (school year 2021-2022) indicate that NEST mentors find both the NEST curriculum and mentor training program valuable across all pilots.
Although the project is still ongoing, the initial findings have already influenced policy reform in at least one pilot program led by Teach For All network partner Empieza por Educar in Spain. The NEST awareness activities and outcomes have led the public authorities in Catalonia to initiate a pilot program called “Sensei” which focuses on training and supporting 250 novice teachers in 60 schools. The program pairs them with 85 experienced teachers who act as mentors. Recognizing the importance of mentoring, the program aims to ensure that new teachers feel supported and empowered to make a positive impact on student well-being and learning from the beginning of their careers.
In Romania, effective collaboration between the Ministry of Education, Teach For Romania, and other local partners has resulted in the inclusion of a proposal developed by Teach For Romania in the upcoming education bill. The proposal emphasizes the need to enhance initial and continuous training for teachers. Partners have expressed their willingness to use the results from the NEST project as evidence to support the new legislation. The Ministry of Education is currently reforming the Law of Education (2011) and plans to include an addendum that specifically addresses mentoring in the teaching career. Teach For Romania representatives who participated in the working groups for improving the existing legislation ensured that the proposal highlights the importance of mentoring as a mandatory stage in the professional lives of novice teachers.
The success of the NEST project largely stems from the collaborative efforts between the consortium and public authorities, as well as other education stakeholders such as teachers unions and school associations. The final results of the NEST project will be available by the end of 2023 and will be shared through various events held across the European Union. The concluding NEST event is scheduled to take place in Brussels during the first quarter of 2024.