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An initiative from ETUCE and its member organisations to the European Parliament elections in May 2019 and a contribution to the EI Global Response.

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Rationale

Privatisation and commercialisation trends, austerity measures, budget cuts and salary/pension/recruitment freezes in education, continue putting pressure on teachers, academics and their unions. At the same time, demands on education are rising to respond to the developments of modern society, such as digitalisation, inclusion and migration.

Across Europe the attractiveness of the profession is decreasing. Many countries are experiencing a shortage of teachers with less graduates entering the profession and experienced education personnel leaving the profession for various reasons, such as taking early retirement, employment in other sectors or another country for better working conditions.

To make the profession more attractive a focus on teachers’ needs is necessary, next to decent working conditions and work-life balance, there is an increased need for quality teacher training and support to teachers to reply to the needs of students and prepare them for lifelong learning in a changing world and to ensure access to quality education for all.

With growing nationalist and populist movements, and the tilt of politics in Europe to the far right, separatism and extremism are increasing in our society. More than ever, especially in these circumstances quality education and teachers have a crucial role to counteract this trend and are needed to help young people become creative, critically thinking democratic citizens who are conscious of their rights and obligations and the value of universal rights and democracy.

In light of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament and the EI Global Response, ETUCE and its member organisations contribute with a campaign, formulating clear demands to politicians, making the voice of teachers heard and raise awareness on the issues at stake.

With the heads of state of the EU member states having committed to establishing a European Education Area at the Gothenburg summit in 2017 and in light of the European Semester Process linked to the European Pillar of Social Rights, there is a momentum we can use to bring the value and status of the teaching profession to the attention of governments and education authorities at European and national level.

Aim

Quality education is a fundamental right and a public good. To bring about wide support in society for education and the teaching profession/joining forces around a new narrative on the teaching profession and the status of teachers. The campaign aims to provide counter arguments to the wide spread views that undermine the value of the profession and of publicly funded education. The campaign addresses the main challenges of our societies and specific challenges around teaching and learning.

The main challenges in our societies today, such as rising social fragmentation, discontent and social unrest are a fertile ground for populist, nationalist and racist movements. They are primarily based on differences around the role of private vs. public, individual vs. collective action, competition vs. solidarity. Specific challenges around teaching and learning follow from the low status of the public institutions in society that make schools ‘unattractive’ working (& learning) environments. Among these are: funding, low attractiveness of the profession/recruitment challenges, autonomy and ‘ownership’ of the profession – opportunities to define professional challenges and professional development needs, build work-place solidarity as opposed to ‘competitive’ models, impact of ICT, working conditions, equality and inclusion.

Following this approach, the campaign gives space for teachers, and society at large, including parents and students to speak out and be involved in the campaign concretely with their daily challenges and sharing their views.

Structure

The main actors of the campaign will be the ETUCE member organisations with their actions at national, regional and local level, e.g. organising meetings or awareness-raising events, interviews with experts, politicians and candidates for European/national parliament elections, creating print media, video messages or online activities adapted to the context of the union. The ETUCE campaign will be the umbrella/frame under which all the different actions can be collected.

The ETUCE Secretariat will establish a campaign platform where member organisations can share their actions and contributions, experiences and inspiration. This campaign platform provides the space for member organisations to dedicate their on-going and planned actions to the campaign.

Joint activities with other on-going actions, for example at national level with confederations, at European level with ETUC or other European Trade Union Federations, is a possibility to be explored.

Calendar of Activities

  • 26-28/11/2018 ETUCE Conference, Athens

  • 14-15/01/2019 Gender Equality in Social Dialogue Project Workshop, Rome

  • 31/01/2019 EU Convince Project Workshop, Rome

  • 20/02/2019 ETUCE Advisory Panel, Brussels

  • 21-22/02/2019 ETUCE HERSC, Brussels

  • 25/02/2019 ESSDE Working Group on Higher Education

  • 25-26/02/2019 Gender Equality in Social Dialogue Project Workshop, Vilnius

  • 5/03/2019 EU Convince Project workshop, Paris

  • 8/03/2019 International Womens' Day

  • 11-12/03/2019 ETUCE Committee, Brussels

  • 12/03/2019 ETUCE Hearing - Shape the Future of Europe with Teachers, Brussels

  • 14-15/03/2019 Migration in Social Dialogue Project Workshop, Copenhagen

  • 28-29/03/2019 Gender Equality in Soocial Dialogue Project Workshop, Munich

  • 2/04/2019 EU Convince Project Workshop, Berlin

  • 26/04/2019 European demonstration for A Fairer Europe for Workers

  • 1/05/2019 LABOUR DAY

  • 9/05/2019 EUROPE DAY

  • 9-10/05/2019 Your Turn Project Kick off Conference, Brussels

  • 23-26/05/2019 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS

Member Organisations' Initiatives

Belgium

COV - Interview of European Director Susan Flocken on the Campaign (p6 - p10) and Responses to our key demands from the Flemish political parties. Click here

Bulgaria

SEB - Solidarity Letter 

Finland

OAJ - Report entitled “Solutions for Europe”, outlining OAJ's goals for future European policy and suggesting twenty-five solutions to improve the current state of affairs. In light of the upcoming European parliamentary elections and the Finnish Presidency OAJ has chosen the election theme #educationisthesolution (#koulutusratkaisee) to highlight the focus that should be placed on education to ensure a successful, democratic and equal Europe. Click here

Germany

GEW - Conference “Bildung und Europa – Traum oder Wirklichkeit?“ (Education and Europe – Dream or Reality?) on the occasion of the EP-election with canditates from different political parties in Germany, Berlin 6 May 2019. Click here

 
Tax Justice Pledge - EU Elections 2019

The ETUCE stands with the ETUC in supporting the Tax Justice Europe (TJ-E) Network campaign taxpledge.eu, launched in light of the upcoming European elections.

In alignment with ETUCE’s campaign “Shaping the Future of Europe with Teachers”, combating tax avoidance and evasion is central to increase the revenue base to enhance public education investment: one of the key demands of ETUCE to candidates to the European Parliament to ensure an attractive teaching profession.

The “tax justice” project features a website where the pledge is presented and where MEP candidates can provide their support for tax justice.