Since the beginning of the 21st century, a wide array of state run and private programs supplementing traditional schooling has been implemented extensively. In the same time, a high demand for scientific information in this field has risen. Educational research increasingly deals with the potential and problem areas of those activities we are referring to as "extended education". Despite of that, there had been no continuous exchange of scientific information in this field on an international level.
The first steps to establish this research field were taken by a group of international experts who launched the Network for Research on Out-of-School Time and Extracurricular Educational Research (NEO-ER). The first meeting of this group which took place at the University of Giessen, Germany, in November 2010, was entitled Extended Education: An International Perspective. Since then, the NEO-ER has taken an academic leadership role in this field.
Following this first meeting in Giessen, a conference volume was published in 2013: Extended Education: An International Perspective. Proceedings of the International Conference on Extracurricular and Out-of-School Time Education Research (Ecarius et al., 2013).
In the same year, the NEO-ER also launched an internationally refereed journal, the International Journal for Research on Extended Education (IJREE). In the beginning, the journal was funded by the German Research Council (DFG). Since then, it has been published twice a year. Today, it is internationally recognized as the unique academic journal in the field of extended education.
The 2nd conference of the NEO-ER, Extended Education and Social Inequality, was again held at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany, in 2013. The 3rd NEO-ER conference entitled Values and Prospects of Extended Education was hosted by Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea, in 2015. Researchers from eight countries presented their works in the meeting. A comprehensive review and a summary of the proceedings were published in the IJREE (Bae, 2014). In 2016, the 4th conference was hosted by the NEO-ER, the Sungkyunkwan University, and the Korean After-school Study Association (KASA) in Seoul, South Korea. The topic was Expanding the Horizon of Research in Extended Education: Perspective, Fields, and Methods. Participants presented topics that had been unnoticed, less studied and unfound in this research field. In addition, new perspectives for research, less-investigated fields, and effective methods that may well be used for research in extended education were presented and discussed.
In 2016, two members of the NEO-ER, Prof. Dr. Sabine Maschke and Prof. Dr. Ivo Züchner, organized an international workshop for postgraduate researchers at the University of Marburg, Germany, in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Ludwig Stecher from the University of Giessen, Germany. The aim of the workshop was to form a basis of the upcoming research field of extended education by strengthening junior researchers. During the workshop, the participants got the chance to present their qualification works and to discuss them with leading international researchers in this field.
In order to enhance and to broaden international collaboration in this research field, the group successfully applied for becoming an International Research Network (IRN) within the World Education Research Association (WERA) under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Marianne Schüpbach and Prof. Dr. Ludwig Stecher. In April 2017, the NEO-ER turned into the WERA-IRN EXTENDED EDUCATION. Currently, it consists of 87 members 24 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, the US and the UK.
Until November, 2018, the network was organized by Prof. Dr. Marianne Schüpbach, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, and Prof. Dr. Ludwig Stecher, University of Giessen, Germany. Due to new responsibilities at his university, Prof. Dr. Ludwig Stecher had to resign from this position. We would like to thank Ludwig Stecher for his excellent commitment to establish our network over the last years. Since 2010, he has initiated very important steps for the development of EXTENDED EDUCATION. From November 2018, Prof. Dr. Gil Noam, Harvard Medical School, USA, has taken the position of a co-organizer of the network.
Ecarius, J., Klieme, E., Stecher, L., & Woods, J. (Eds.) (2013). Extended education: An International Perspective, Proceedings of the International Conference on Extracurricular and Out-of-School Time Education Research, Opladen: Barbara Budrich.