Trade Council ‘Education’ discusses role and support of teachers in the European Education Area

At its annual meeting in Brussels today, CESI’s internal member’s Trade Council committee ‘Education’ deliberated on the role and support of teachers in the forthcoming European Education Area.

Together with Rodrigo Ballester from the cabinet of the European Commissioner for Education Tibor Navracsics and Peter Birch from the Eurydice Network of the EU’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) the members of the trade council exchanged views on how a new European Area of Education could support the professional development of teachers and facilitate access, progression and support for teaching careers in Europe.

One of the objectives of new European Area of Education, first proposed by the European Commission in the run-up to the Gothenburg Social Summit of November 2017, is to “harness the full potential of education and culture as drivers for job creation, economic growth and social fairness as well as a means to experience European identity in all its diversity.”

At CESI’s Trade Council meeting, Rodrigo Ballester stressed that the European Education Area could -or should- in this context also include a strong dimension to support teachers and promote the teaching profession in a European context, and that this could include trying to multiply the number of teachers participating in the Erasmus+ programme and eTwinning network and offering policy guidance on the professional development of teachers and school leaders.

Trade Council Members stressed the role of adequate attractive pay, a clear contractual status and better career prospects as important factors to increase the attractiveness of the teaching profession, and noted that this should be brought up in the agenda of the European Area of Education. According to the European Commission, teachers in the EU earn on average 14% less than other workers with comparable levels of education. At CESI’s Trade Council meeting, Peter Birch presented complementary findings of a recent European Commission-published report entitled ‘Teaching careers in Europe: Access, progression and support’ which had found that career guidance specifically targeting serving teachers is still rare across Europe and that many education systems do not yet offer training programmes for school leaders on teacher appraisal.

As a trade union organisation representing numerous teacher trade unions from across Europe, support for the teaching profession at the EU level -which includes aspects related to pay levels, psychosocial risks and third party violence, the provision of further training opportunities and an (often) lacking reputation of the value of the teaching profession and the work of teachers- has been a long-standing topic of concern of CESI. Later this year in October, CESI’s internal members’ training centre, the CESI Europe Academy, will run a major capacity-building symposium on challenges related to the teaching profession in Europe, before the Trade Council ‘Education’ will return to the topic at its next meeting in 2019.

Picture: CESI Trade Council ‘Education’ © CESI 2018