Recognition of teaching in higher education, supportive working environment for staff, and protection of academic freedom are the key elements for the future success of the European Higher Education Area, concluded members of the ETUCE Higher Education and Research Standing Committee (HERSC) at their biannual meeting on 9-10 April 2018. The meeting took place in Brussels and was attended by more than 30 delegates representing 23 European countries.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was approved on April 2016 and will enter into force in late-May 2018, after the transposition period into the national laws. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and has been designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organisations across the region approach data privacy. This will have an impact on students’ and teachers’ data protection as mentioned in the ETUCE EU Digital Education Action Plan 2020 statement.

Following the series of strikes at primary education level, the secondary education level  kicks off actions in the Netherlands. While the actions in primary education are still running –primary education teachers from the South of the Netherlands took the baton and will go on strike on 13 April 2018 -  the pressure is also building up amongst teachers in secondary education. AOb reports that as a consequence of the fast growing shortage of teachers, mainly due to low salaries and high workload, the primary education sector has been prioritised.

On 27-28 March, 2018 a high level international conference took place in Sofia  organised jointly  by the Bulgarian Unions of Teachers, Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria, and ETUCE. The conference, entitled “Supporting young teachers as a tool of quality education – Attracting, recruiting, and training of effective entry-year teachers in education” focused on providing solutions on how to support young teachers.

The unprecedented threats against the public service, the refusal to take into consideration pay issues and working conditions, and the announcement of regressive reforms (high school, high school diploma, etc.) lead public services workers, including education personnel to widely mobilise on 22 March 2018 in France.

On 15 March 2018, the European Council adopted the European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships . According to ETUCE a step in the right direction. ETUCE is pleased with the initiative, in particular because the Council Recommendation includes several key aspects of the ETUC proposals that were developed jointly with ETUCE. For example, the need for involvement of social partners in the design, governance and implementation of apprenticeship systems.