Teacher training should be defined by teachers’ needs and not employers’ interests, as well as based on a good balance between theory and practice and lead to career and salary progress. These are the conclusions of the second regional seminar of the ETUCE project “Education Trade Unions for the Teaching Profession - Strengthening the capacity of education trade unions to represent teachers’ professional needs in social dialogue” which took place in Berlin, Germany, on 5-6 March 2018.

On 1-2 March 2018, ETUCE member organisation SONK in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia invited the European Director Susan Flocken to visit its regional branch leaders and to discuss current challenges that the union and its affiliates are facing at national and regional level. Among the most pressing challenges count the low level of effective social dialogue, the increased number of young highly educated and trained people leaving the country to work abroad (brain drain) as well as recent dismissals of teachers in early childhood education and replacement by teachers on short-term contracts.

As it was reported earlier, the University and College Union, UCU, one of the ETUCE member organisations in the United Kingdom, is at the centre of the fight against the end of guaranteed pension benefits in the British higher education sector. Following the first phase of UCU’s strike action, the education trade union has managed to force the university employers association to agree to negotiations through the national arbitration and conciliation body (ACAS).

On 28 February 2018, the University of Helsinki was closed for the second time over the last 100 years as reported by the Opetusalan Ammattijärjest (OAJ), one of the ETUCE member organisations in Finland. Hundreds of higher education personnel shown their discontent with the employer party’s rejection over the proposed conciliation solution by the National Conciliator’s Office at the University of Helsinki on 28 February 2018. As a matter of fact, the Finish university sector has been without a collective agreement since the beginning of February 2018.

ETUCE is concerned about the increasing interest of the European Commission’s in involving private companies and ICT businesses in the financing of vesting of digital education, as regards the introduction and development to robots and cutting-edge tools to use and experiment in schools.

Higher expectations in terms of student outcomes and greater pressures due to a more diverse student population combined with rapid technological innovation are having a profound impact on the teaching profession.  The new report of Eurydice entitled Teaching Careers in Europe: Access, Progression and Support  illustrates national differences in Europe on how to become a teacher, recruitment and employment conditions, as well as prospects for professional development and support. The report also analyses the roles and functioning of teacher appraisal.