Teachers have been declared the ‘better part of society’ at the 23rd session of the Council of Europe’s Standing Conference of Education Ministers which took place in Ljubljana between 4 - 5 June, 2010.
The ‘Education for sustainable democratic societies: the role of teachers’ conference was chaired by the Slovenian Minister of Education and Sport, Igor Luksic, who heavily emphasized the role of teachers.
Meanwhile, the Deputy General Secretary of the Council of Europe, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, stressed that “education is a fundamental human right both in terms of access and outcome.”
EI was represented at the event by Senior Consultant, Gaston De la Haye, and EI Executive Board member and General Secretary of the Education and Science Trade Union of Slovenia (ESTUS), Branimir Strukelj.
De la Haye told delegates that: “If we want sustainable education in democratic societies we need schools where dialogue is valued, and where schools are based on cooperative, open and democratic governance. However, education systems also need to be coherent with the agreed objectives. They need to set priorities and proceed to fundamental choices between learning outcomes and education, between attitudes and values.”
He continued: “The current global financial and economic crisis is putting increasing pressure on education budgets around the world and in Europe. It is critical to protect teachers and ensure that education investments match the demand. Achieving the goals of sustainable democratic societies will depend on the status, salary, and career opportunities offered to teachers as well as the public respect shown to them. It is also linked to the autonomy given to them to develop their own creative learning experiences. The voices of teachers and their representative organisations matter and must be heard.”
In the final declaration of the conference, education ministers committed to ‘support education professionals at all levels [...] to ensure recognition of teachers, and to promote a culture a lifelong learning for teachers... [so that] policies should lead to working conditions enabling teachers to focus on their educational role and make the profession more attractive’.
EI has welcomed the ministers’ acknowledgement that teachers are central to the education process as a positive step forward, but action must be taken to reflect this principle in practice. EI calls on European member organisations to monitor how their governments seek to transform the resolution into reality for teachers.
To find out more about the Council of Europe Standing Conference of Education Ministers, please visit: www.coe.int