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History of the WERA TASK FORCE Global Research in Extended Education

The first international meeting of the NEO-ER network, at Giessen University, Germany, in 2010

The first international meeting of the NEO-ER network, at Giessen University, Germany, in 2010
Image Credit: Ludwig Stecher

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 Network for Research on Out-of-School Time and Extracurricular Educational Research

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.

The International Journal for Research on Extended Education, Issue 1 (2017).

The International Journal for Research on Extended Education, Issue 1 (2017).
Image Credit: IJREE

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 4th NEO-ER Conference at Sunkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea, in 2016

The 4th NEO-ER Conference at Sunkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea, in 2016
Image Credit: Sang Hoon Bae

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.

Experts and attendees in front of the Marburg Convention Center, 2016

Experts and attendees in front of the Marburg Convention Center, 2016
Image Credit: Ludwig Stecher

Workshop for Junior Researchers

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.

The WERA-IRN EXTENDED EDUCATION

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.

The first international conference of this newly named network was held in 2017 at the University of Bamberg, Germany, organized by Prof. Dr. Marianne Schüpbach, and entitled Extended Education from an International Comparative Point of View. In the follow-up of this conference, a volume with thirteen international contributions was published by Prof. Dr. Marianne Schüpbach and Dr. Nanine Lilla (Eds.). Since then, the WERA-IRN Extended Education has participated in international conferences and held symposia on important topics in extended education such as at the WERA World Congress 2018, the AERA Annual Meeting 2019 and the WERA Focal Meeting 2019.

Since then, the WERA-IRN Extended Education has participated in international conferences and held symposia on important topics in extended education such as at the WERA World Congress 2018, the AERA Annual Meeting 2019 and the WERA Focal Meeting 2019.

Until November, 2018, the network was chaired by Prof. Dr. Marianne Schüpbach, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, and Prof. Dr. Ludwig Stecher, University of Giessen, Germany. From November 2018, Prof. Dr. Gil Noam, Harvard Medical School, USA, has taken the position of Prof. Dr. Ludwig Stecher as a co-chair of the network and has been a co-chair until March 2023.

In 2019, the second conference of the network was organized at Stockholm University, Sweden, with the topic Extended Education - Practices, Theories and Activities. There, 136 participants from 17 countries presented their research and engaged in discussions within symposia, paper and poster presentations as well as a panel discussion on complementation and compensation in extended education.

In 2021 the third WERA-IRN Extended education Conference Extended Education – Towards a Sustainable Future was organized at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. The aim of the third WERA-IRN Extended Education conference was to explore the multiple ways in which extended education programs, research and theories help communities and individuals prepare for a sustainable future, a future that involves educating responsible and active citizens.

In 2022 the Virtual Conference of the WERA-International Research Network in Extended Education Extended Education in Times of Crisis: Development, Learning, Thriving took place, organized by Gil G. Noam and Team.

The development towards the WERA TASK FORCE Global Research in Extended Education

Since April 2023 the WERA-IRN turned in to the WERA TASK FORCE Global Research in Extended Education. Chair of the WERA TASK FORCE is Prof. Dr. Marianne Schüpbach, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

The WERA Executive Committee invited the WERA-IRN to elevate the status and to become a WERA Task Force.
“A WERA Task Force has the responsibility to embrace a substantive area of education research that is global, international, or comparative in scope and has, as a core objective, to further advance research and recommendations of consequences for research worldwide in that area”.

Currently, the WERA TASK FORCE Global Reseach in Extended Education consists of 327 members from 38 countries: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Palestinian Territories, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the UK, Ukraine, and the USA.