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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ETUCE’s key demands for the future of Europe

1 - Quality education for all

Quality education is fundamental for every citizen. It is a basic human right and a public good, and as such governments in Europe are accountable and responsible for it. ETUCE demands that every child and student have access to free of charge high quality education adapted to his/her needs and regardless of his/her socio-economic background. ETUCE defines quality education for all students and adults both in terms of learning outcomes and in terms of the full development of the individual and his/her contribution to a democratic society. Investing into Europe's future through the optimal allocation of public funding fosters economic growth and social cohesion in Europe. Sustainable funding for professional development in initial training of teachers and throughout their career are fundamental requirements for a modern innovative education capable to address the needs of students in a fast changing world. Providing autonomy for teachers and other education personnel to manage diversity is essential for a thriving and vibrant society.

2 - Increased Public investment and attractiveness of the profession

The attractiveness of the teaching profession and the image of teachers in society have been steadily declining. Increasing demands are placed on teachers and educators in a profession that counts up to 73% of women teachers. High workload and work-related stress coupled with the lack of professional autonomy and support in addition to unattractive and precarious working conditions, salaries and pensions have led in many countries in Europe to a severe shortage of teachers. This trend is further exacerbated with the demographic change of an ageing workforce and the brain drain of skilled professionals to other sectors or countries. Budget cuts in education, marketisation and privatisation trends further jeopardise the quality and sustainable public provision of education. ETUCE therefore requests increased sustainable public funding in education with a view to recruit and retain the most highly qualified teaching professionals into the profession by offering decent working conditions including continuous professional development adapted to teachers’ needs as well as a working environment and infrastructure that support teachers’ wellbeing and motivation.

3 - Strengthen social dialogue and involvement of education trade unions in decision-making

Education trade unions as the representatives of education professionals have a dual role as regards providing support to teachers both in relation to their terms and conditions of employment and in relation to professional matters. They are essential when it comes to elaborating and implementing the policies affecting education. ETUCE calls on governments and education authorities to recognise education trade unions as social partners in a permanent effective social dialogue with a view to contributing constructively to developing quality education systems and providing an independent professional view. Education trade unions should have a permanent and central role in national and European decision-making on developing education policies, especially on pedagogical issues and on curricula. Specific focus should also be given to strengthening social dialogue at local level involving teachers and school leaders.

4 - Promoting democratic citizenship and inclusion

In recent years, terrorist attacks, violent radicalisation, extremism, nationalism and xenophobia have surged across Europe and are posing a threat not only to the safety of its citizens but also to the EU fundamental values of freedom, democracy, tolerance, equality, non-discrimination, respect for the rule of law, human rights and solidarity. In this context, the role of education, teachers, school leaders and other education personnel reveals to be crucial for the promotion of democratic citizenship and social inclusion in diverse educational contexts and learning environments.

As European governments, in particular the member states of the European Union, have failed to build a coherent, unambiguous, unified, and single, rather than fragmented, migration policy, including the basic principle of solidarity, teachers are left to deal with the challenges without receiving the pedagogical, financial or administrative support and long-term assistance that they require. Hence, ETUCE demands sustainable funding and support for teachers and other education personnel in teaching democracy, human-rights, universal values and citizenship skills to competently address and cater for the needs of their students. In a fast changing world where innovation and digitalisation are major influencers of society, young people need to learn to become critical-thinking and responsible citizens who are aware of their rights and obligations and value mutual respect, equal opportunities and diversity.