With global events as the backdrop in Berlin for the Summit on the teaching profession, teacher unions made their message clear: teachers must be at the centre of their professional development.
After two days of lively discussions between teacher unions and education ministers, the Sixth International Summit on the Teaching Profession ended on a willingness to work together. The Summit took place from 3-4 March in Berlin, Germany.
With the theme of “Teachers’ professional learning and growth: Creating the conditions to achieve quality teaching for excellent learning outcomes,” teacher union leaders, led by Education International (EI), and education ministers from 23 high-performing and rapidly improving education systems.
Delegates proposed and debated policies that both support teachers’ learning and boost their self-confidence to influence education policy.
Germany was an ideal location for the sixth Summit as the growing refugee crisis set the tone and highlighted the importance of career-long professional development. During pre-Summit events, delegates had the opportunity to visit Berlin-area schools to see refugee welcome classes first-hand.
In her closing remarks, EI President Susan Hopgood reflected on those visits, which left an indelible mark.
“For the children we met, many here in Germany without their families, education provides them with an opportunity that was taken from them… these are real children who continue to overcome incredible hardships, and their teachers are working to guide them through this new life,” said Hopgood. “What we saw was teacher leadership first-hand.”
Flanked by EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen and Special Consultant John Bangs, Hopgood used the opportunity to share EI’s plan to convene a forum of teachers and their unions in refugee destination countries in Europe. “We also hope that through this initiative we can influence and encourage governments and societies to meet their moral and legal responsibilities. As a profession we accept our responsibility.”
As the Summit concluded, it was announced that the seventh instalment of the Summits will take place in Scotland next year.
“We welcome Scotland’s commitment to host the seventh International Summit on the Teaching Profession in 2017,” said van Leeuwen. “EI recognizes and appreciates the important role that Scotland has played in previous Summits. We are grateful for the leadership shown by our Scottish colleagues and look forward to the next Summit"
The date and city have yet to be decided.