Education International has opened the sessions making a strong case for the role of teachers in shaping the future of public quality education systems for all.
From 14-15 March 2019, Education International (EI) delegates are participating at the 9th International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP), hosted by Finland in Helsinki.Since its inaugural edition in 2011, the ISTP has become a forum for open exchange on effective teacher policies and practice. Following the previous editions, the 2019 ISTP brings together ministers and union leaders from countries and regions with high-performing or rapidly improving school systems, as defined by the results of the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
The Summit is jointly organised by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Education International (EI).
Pre-summit activities provided opportunities for international participants to learn more about the Finnish education system and to get in contact with various education stakeholders.
Looking into the future
The main theme of the 2019 ISTP will be “The Future of Teaching and Learning”. Over the two days, the thematic ISTP sessions will address three interrelated topics:
1. Leading together: the multidimensional leadership challenges of education systems will be explored as a whole, as well as measures needed to strengthen the strategic leadership and management of institutions, while fostering collaboration. Effective systems require effective leadership at all levels, from policy to practice.
2. Building strong foundations through innovative pedagogies and strategies: for the first time at the ISTP, early childhood education and care (ECEC) and more specifically pre-primary education will be addressed. Focus will be on innovative practices and pedagogies that best contribute to learning, development and well-being of children.
3. Towards sustainable schools: will consider the implications of the multifaceted challenges, “the wicked problems of our times”, on education, teachers’ profession and the needs of pupils and students, as well as the paradigm shift needed to promote sustainable way of living.
Hope in difficult times
In her opening remarks, EI President Susan Hopgood underlined the importance of the summits, which “have done more than any other international gathering to enhance teacher policy internationally. Today few would doubt that the future of education depends on teachers and on policies which support them.” She regretted that the 9th summit takes place in a period of “aggressive nationalism, attacks on democracy and disinformation, persisting inequality and the challenge of climate change,” and stressed the key importance of education: “If humanity is to have a hopeful future then every child, indeed every adult, needs to be an enthusiastic learner and seeker of truth.”
Focussing on this years’ theme, Hopgood pointed out what leadership meant for educators and EI. She demanded that educators be seen as active shapers of the future of their country’s education and that education was not “used an ideological plaything”. She also asked for sufficient education funding for coherent education systems and reminded that education should be publicly provided and organised.
If you are interested in this topic, you may want to read the blog post “Success comes only to those countries that invest in education”, by Olli Luukkainen and David Edwards.