Embracing diversity in education: new ETUCE project inspires trade unions across Europe to take action for inclusive education


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Europe’s learners and education personnel are becoming more diverse. Their different social realities and cultural backgrounds require inclusive, safe physical and social environments for learning and teaching. Now education trade unions are coming together to map the experiences of education personnel and find the strategies that really work for inclusive schools and their communities. ETUCE’s innovative project Education Trade Unions and Inclusive Schools: Embracing Diversity in Education will also include an interactive webinar and a series of coordinated European action days.

This new project is just getting started, but ETUCE and education trade unions have been focusing on diversity, equality and inclusion for some years. These issues are getting more political attention, and education personnel are committed to giving all learners the best education possible. However, the research in ETUCE’s recent EU CONVINCE project showed that teachers and other education personnel often do not feel prepared and supported to teach students from diverse socioeconomic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The key reasons are a lack of relevant and practical training on inclusive teaching and learning and the lack of support for education staff and institutions.

Through this two-year project, co-funded by the European Commission, ETUCE will promote concrete measures for the implementation of upcoming ETUCE Action Plan on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at national and local level. The project will also enrich our Database of Good Practices, creating an extensive catalogue of workable approaches for building inclusive learning environments across Europe.

At their first meeting on 23 January 2020, the project’s international Advisory Group worked with a researcher to prepare an online survey for ETUCE member organisations. The survey will offer a snapshot of trade unions’ expertise and activities related to the various aspects of inclusion in education, including but not limited to migration and ethnic diversity; LGBTI issues; gender equality; students and teachers with special needs.

After the survey, the project will include a one-day Seminar in Portugal, an interactive training webinar and a final conference in Brussels. ETUCE member organisations will also carry out a series of coordinated European and national action days. These will raise awareness about the professional needs of teachers, academics and other education personnel when it comes to addressing diversity in the classroom and in society. The actions will target education authorities and wider society, demanding support for teachers, academics and other education personnel in creating inclusive learning environments.