International Summit on the Teaching Profession enshrines tradition of dialogue

published 22 February 2016 updated 26 February 2016

Now in its sixth edition, the International Summit on the Teaching Profession has established itself as an important and unique event that fosters dialogue between decision makers and teachers’ unions.

Five years on from its first session in New York, the sixth International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) that will unravel in Berlin on the 3rd and 4th of March consecrates the event as an unparalleled dialogue opportunity both for Unions and Governments. Their task will be to agree on practical steps to enhance the self-confidence and effectiveness of the most important resource in education: qualified teachers.

A tradition of dialogue

The idea to have government officials and union leaders sit at one negotiation table is based on the shared belief that in the long term positive educational development can be achieved only if teachers and their representative unions are fundamentally involved in educational reform. At the centre of the Summits is the question of how to achieve the best possible education for all children and young people. As Fred van Leeuwen, Education International’s (EI) General Secretary has framed it, “Indeed, vitally, the Summits have been about how to enhance all children’s and young people’s learning and increase their optimism for the future. The desperate circumstances in which refugees and their children find themselves only serve to highlight how important education is for all children.”

Quality teaching for excellent learning

The sixth Summit takes place in a key moment in international policy, with the new Sustainable Development Goals in place since their adoption in September 2015 by the United Nations. These include crucial education goals for all countries.

A briefing note produced by EI as background material for the summit underlines the opportunity that the ISTP represents in terms of creating teacher policies which will help achieve those goals. It has been issued in parallel to the OECD's own background report for the summit, "Teaching excellence through professional learning and policy reform".

The main theme of the 2016 ISTP will be “Teachers’ professional learning and growth: Creating the conditions to achieve quality teaching for excellent learning outcomes”. Three thematic sub-sessions will address the following questions:

  • Drawing the lessons from previous Teaching Summits: what competencies – skills, knowledge and dispositions – do successful teachers require?
  • Which policies help foster teachers’ competencies so that they are effectively prepared for teaching?
  • Implementing policies which promote teachers’ professional learning and growth: what are the challenges and opportunities?