Education International
Education International

Establishing an international dialogue between education unions and education ministers

published 19 March 2012 updated 2 July 2012

“Far too many governments and political parties believe that their goal should be to run an education system in which powers are totally devolved to principals and there is a ferocious evaluation system for pupils, teachers and schools which keeps track on how the money is being spent,” said Susan Hopgood, EI President, at the closure of the 2nd International Summit of the Teaching Profession, held in New York on 14 and 15 March.

“At this summit we have demonstrated that it is possible transform a dysfunctional system into one which is successful, which involves school communities and the teaching profession as partners”, she continued.

Education ministers and union leaders from twenty three countries and regions with high-performing and rapidly improving educational systems took part in the second summit  organized by the US Department of Education, OECD and Education International. They discussed the preparation of teachers and development of school leaders. OECD and EI prepared background papers on these themes. While ministers and union leaders expressed common views on the need to reform and improve standards and teaching quality, there were sharp debates on performance pay and teachers’ appraisal. In the final session each delegation made pledges to work towards specific policy objectives in their countries. These will be evaluated at the third summit, which will be held in March 2013 and hosted by the Dutch Government.

Participating countries and regions were: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People's Republic of China, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

At a meeting on 16 March immediately following the summit representatives of EI member organizations expressed the view that an important step forward had been made by establishing an international dialogue between education unions and education ministers on a range of professional issues. Deputy General Secretary David Edwards and Senior Consultant John Bangs were commended for their excellent work in preparing the summit.

More information:

For additional information on EI's policy work on the future of the teaching profession, see the web article " Seminar at Cambridge University explores the future of the teaching profession".