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Research helps raise teacher unions’ profile

Over two intensive days, 34 participants from 15 countries took part in the sixth Annual Research Network meeting with keynote speakers from the UK and Japan.

Professional educators and researchers engaged in robust debate as they contributed and discussed each other’s strategic input into a number of on-going and new research projects being undertaken by EI and teacher unions. Keynote speakers at the meeting, which took place from 14-15 June in Brussels, included Dr. David Frost from the University of Cambridge in the UK. He spoke about his International Teacher Leadership project and presented a proposal for cooperation with EI that was met with enthusiasm by the network members. Professor Elizabeth Wood from the University of Exeter, also in the UK, spoke about the study which she is undertaking for EI on ‘Equity Matters’. Meanwhile, Professor Seiji Fukuta from Tsuru University, and a member of EI affiliate, the Japan Teachers’ Union, presented the results of a research study he had conducted which compared the working conditions of Japanese teachers with those of their European counterparts. The global economic crisis and its impact on education sectors formed a critical part of the two days of debate. Participants also deliberated over the consequences for education worldwide and considered what the role of unions should be in the face of growing public expenditure cuts by many governments. The role and engagement of EI and member unions in PISA and TALIS were also reviewed in light of the upcoming publication of country results and new rounds of the international comparative survey which looked at students’ performance and teachers’ efficacy in OECD countries. The Annual Research Network meeting proved to be a resounding success. As Robert Harris, senior consultant to EI’s General Secretary enthusiastically stated: ‘The Network has really come of age. Good projects are being undertaken and interactive discussions are taking place between the members who represent unions from all over the globe’.

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