Welcoming the participants to ETUCE's first Special Conference on 26-27 November 2014 in Vienna on The Future of the Teaching Profession, the ETUCE President Christine Blower reflected on what education and teachers' work will be like in future taking reference in today's world that is already constantly online. EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen outlined the potential consequences when children fall through the cracks of society because of insufficient education and touched on the challenges confronting quality education, such as austerity measures, privatisation and de-professionalisation. Framing the conference theme, the European Director Martin Rømer highlighted the challenges of rapid developments in ICT, the decreasing investment in education and with a view to initiate the discussions, provocatively questioned the participants whether teacher unions can match governments and private providers in the discussions on innovation in education and whether teacher unions will in future be an attractive partner for debate on this topic.

Four honoured guest speakers prompted and inspired the discussion:

In his speech on funding and public-private partnerships in education, John MacBeath, Emeritus Professor from Cambridge University, pointed to the challenges and changes facing the teaching profession in the coming years, such as the dilution of common values and increased competitiveness. As one way of counteracting on this trend, he proposed the 'leaders as learners' solution with teachers developing an inner eye so as to penetrate accepted assumptions.

The Director General of DG EAC, Xavier Prats-Monné, spoke to the audience about his views on the future of education and teaching, making clear that quality in teaching ultimately depends on the teacher, and that creativity and humanities are just as important for the future as science and technological knowledge.

Dr. Riina Vuorikari, Research Fellow at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, presented five scenarios of what teaching and education will be like in 2030, depending on the priorities set by the education stakeholders, unions, teachers, students and parents alike. The five scenarios were created as a way to trigger discussions about what the future should and could be like for teachers and education as a whole.

Susan Lee Robertson, Professor of Sociology of Education from Bristol University, spoke about the economic crisis, social inequalities and how education can play an ameliorating role. On the second day of the conference the union delegates discussed and deliberated the conference theme in three working groups.

Two days of well-attended side events preceded the conference, focusing on Early Childhood Education, Higher Education and Research, the Impact of the Economic Crisis and Equal Opportunities in Education, as well as an exhibition by ETUCE member organisations on Quality in Education including the first meeting of the newly established Central and Eastern European Network (CEENET).

You can have a glimpse at the event and its side-events via our Twitter account  and #ETUCESpecialConf2014

Speakers' Presentations: Martin RømerJohn MacBeath, Riina VuorikariSusan Lee Robertson

The Photo Gallery

Watch the 4 short videos of the event:

Vienna 1 from Jur&Jur on Vimeo.

Vienna 2 from Jur&Jur on Vimeo.

Vienna 3 from Jur&Jur on Vimeo.

Vienna 4 from Jur&Jur on Vimeo.