Gender equality is a vital issue for teachers and education trade unions. We need to mainstream it in all fields of our work. This includes unions’ internal policies. Participants at this week’s ETUCE conference ‘Education Trade Unions Addressing Gender Equality Through Social Dialogue’ discussed some burning issues of gender inequality in the education sector, and shared practical tools to address it. In particular, they explored ways to introduce the gender equality aspect in social dialogue and collective bargaining with employers.

A new opinion from the European Economic and Social Committee calls for research on “EU literacy” as a competence and the development of resources to help schools teach it. The opinion also highlights the key role of teachers, and their need for training and support. This echoes the findings of the research report produced in the EU CONVINCE project, which found that citizenship education on EU topics is underdeveloped across Europe.

By playing an active role in training and professional development, education trade unions support their members in their work and defend the status of teaching as an independent profession. Three new courses for the members of SBASHK in Kosovo have been currently supported by ETUCE in the framework of the bilateral cooperation agreement signed in July 2019.

The new ETUCE study Education trade unions addressing gender equality through social dialogue reveals that gender equality issues are still not a priority in collective bargaining and social dialogue with education authorities and employers. The researchers recommend that trade unions exploit the potential of social dialogue further to enhance gender equality in the education sector.

This week 36 academics and union officials from 21 countries met in Brussels for the two-day meeting in the framework of the ETUCE’s Higher Education and Research Standing Committee (HERSC). They addressed topics such as academic freedom, the European Universities Networks and the future of the Bologna Process.

Signing a petition for peace should never be considered a crime, but hundreds of academics in Turkey have faced more than three years of unemployment and legal turmoil for doing just that. Now the ‘Academics for Peace’ have finally been vindicated, as Turkish courts throw out accusations of terrorism and related crimes. ETUCE welcomes this victory for democracy and free speech. However, we also call on Turkish authorities to recognise the ordeal of all the education workers who were imprisoned, dismissed or forced to leave the country.