ETUCE calls on governments to activate resources for recovery and resilience in the education sectors


On 23 November 2020, the ETUCE Bureau adopted the Education Investments Priorities for Recovery and Resilience statement calling on governments to take their full responsibility for a swift agreement and entry into force of the Next Generation EU and for a rapid activation of resources for recovery, resilience, and just transition in the education sector.

The Statement outlines Europe-wide policy challenges, reform, and investment needs in the education sectors. It is fundamental that such priorities are aligned with commitments to achieve and to fully implement the UN Sustainable Development Goal four (SDG 4) as well as the first principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights on quality education for all. This would require resources not to fall prey to for-profit and commercial interests, through outsourcing, public-private partnerships, or even through the promotion of reforms whereby private ed-tech companies would be embedded in public education systems.

Public and inclusive quality education is crucial for achieving social fairness, particularly in the light of deepening inequalities due to the multiple crises Europe is facing. School closures, and the sudden switch to hybrid methods of teaching and learning, brought to the surface the unequal impact of Covid-19, hitting those affected by pre-existing inequalities the most. ETUCE stands firm in the demand to broaden the scope of investment to ensure access to quality inclusive education and training systems. This can be achieved through targeted measures that focus on the most disadvantaged, including migrant and refugee children, ethnic minorities, people with special needs, and all those affected by pre-existing inequalities in access to education. Further support is needed to make sure students and education personnel have access to adequate and necessary digital material and internet connectivity for digital teaching and learning.

It is time to reverse the decade-long trend of austerity in education and to invest in sustainable, low-carbon emissions, and safe school buildings; in secure, quality, digital infrastructure which protects human and privacy rights; as well as in improved employment security, salaries, working conditions, opportunities for career progression and initial and continuous professional development for teachers across Europe.

ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken commented: “The multiple challenges Europe is facing in education can only be tackled if teachers and other education personnel are included in the policy process at all levels through effective social dialogue: from the development to the implementation of inclusive and sustainable education policies, reforms, and investments patterns.