Ei-iE

Europe

published 5 July 2016 updated 11 July 2016

SDGS IN THE COMMONWEALTH

EI Deputy General Secretary David Edwards addressed the symposium, “Education and the Sustainable Development Goals in the Commonwealth and beyond: Shifting the Discourse”, held from 26-27 April in London, UK. While welcoming the ambitious agenda – free, universal, quality primary and secondary education - he emphasised that this ambition must be matched by financing commitments. In addition to warning against the growing privatisation in and of education, Edwards stressed that quality education cannot be ensured without trained and qualified teachers who have professional autonomy and decent working conditions. The Report of the Symposium is available here.

HOLDING PEARSON ACCOUNTABLE

EI affiliates from across the world joined forces in London, UK, on 29 April to hold edu-business giant Pearson accountable at the company’s annual general meeting. They presented a shareholder resolution aimed at highlighting Pearson’s promotion of high-stakes testing products and its support for education commercialisation and ‘low-fee’ private schools. The shareholder resolution was supported by a number of pension funds which hold Pearson shares. EI’s affiliates in this action included the AFT and NEA (US), NUT, ATL and UCU (UK), CTF (Canada), AEU (Australia), NZEI (New Zealand), SADTU (South Africa), and GEW (Germany).

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

The Final Project Conference on Social Partners Promoting Decent Workplaces in the Education Sector for a Healthier Working Life, of the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE), was held from 9-10 May in Bucharest, Romania. European experts on occupational health and safety in education highlighted successful initiatives taken by the social partners in education regarding the promotion of decent workplaces and the prevention of psycho-social risks in the education sector. Participants amended the draft joint guidelines on “How to promote joint social partner initiatives at European, national, regional and local level to prevent and combat psycho-social hazards in education”. The ETUCE Vice-President, Odile Cordelier, and Susan Flocken represented EI.

IMPROVING VET TRAINING

On 17-18 May, Vocational Education and Training (VET) experts of ETUCE’s member organisations from 18 European countries met in Helsinki, Finland, for an ETUCE-European Trade Union Institute training on ‘Improving Professional Training for VET teachers and trainers’ quality VET and apprenticeship’. The training focused on new policies and challenges for VET teachers and trainers, highlighting VET teacher model training in Finland. Participants discussed the impact of EU policies that affect quality of VET teachers’ training and shared best practices. Agnes Roman represented EI.

ETUCE CONFERENCE PLANNING

The ETUCE Bureau meeting on 30 May in Brussels, Belgium, addressed the preparation of the 2016 ETUCE Conference. The draft resolution on “Education trade unions on the refugee situation in Europe: promoting education as the key to integration and inclusion” was discussed, as well as the draft work programme for 2017-2020. Both documents are to be reviewed at the ETUCE Committee meeting in the autumn.

EUROPEAN SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP

On 1 June, the joint European social partnership project on social dialogue capacity building brought Estonian ETUCE member organisations, representatives from the Estonian education ministry and other education employers’ organisations around the table in Tallinn. Participants assessed their own social dialogue around issues such as the teaching profession’s lack of attractiveness, teachers’ wages, and teachers’ working conditions. The Estonian social partners gained a deeper understanding of cross-sectoral social dialogue at European level.Paola Cammilli represented EI.

IMPROVING EDUCATION ENVIRONMENTS

The ETUCE, in cooperation with its member organisation in Azerbaijan, the Independent Trade Union of Education Workers of the Azerbaijan Republic, organised a conference “Strengthening the capacity of teacher trade unions to contribute to the promotion of education as a tool for creating friendly, tolerant and peaceful education environment”. Held from 2-3 June in Baku, the conference addressed conflict resolution and the promotion of joint values such as peace, tolerance, non-violence and respect in the education sector. ETUCE is to dedicate space on its website for member organisations to share best practices on peace education. The European Director, Martin Rømer, represented EI.

HIGHER EDUCATION

On 3 June, in Brussels, Belgium, the ETUCE and the EFEE conducted a working group on higher education and research with representatives of their member organisations working in this field. Participants shared national experiences and practices on topics ranging from the joint European sectoral social dialogue in education work programme 2016/17, to public and private developments in higher education and research, social engagement of higher education institutions by promoting intercultural and civic competences of students, tackling gender gaps, and integrating newly arrived migrants. Paola Cammilli and Alexandra Rüdig Ironside represented EI.

EDUCATION FOR A FAIRER EURO ZONE

On 6 June in Brussels, Belgium, the ETUCE participated in the social partners’ consultation of the European Commission on the European pillar of social rights. ETUCE was a member of the European Trade Union Confederation’s delegation. They called on the Commission to focus on investment in people and education to ensure a deeper and fairer European Monetary Union. The delegation stressed the need to put greater emphasis on the principle that fundamental social rights must take precedence over economic freedoms. Paola Cammilli represented EI.