ETUCE webinar: the importance of safe learning and working environment for inclusive education


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Education trade unions continue to address the training needs of education personnel for inclusive education with the series of ETUCE webinars organised in the framework of its projectEducation Trade Unions and Inclusive Schools: Embracing Diversity in Education”. The second webinar focusing on “Safe and healthy learning and working environment” took place on 12 April 2021. The event addressed many issues, such as handling difficult situations in the classroom, harassment, bullying and cyber-bullying, stress and teachers’ mental health, as well the impact of COVID-19 pandemic working environments in education. Numerous presentations from European experts and inspiring good practices from education trade unions animated the fruitful discussions.

The ETUCE research report ‘Embracing Diversity in Education’  uncovers that guaranteeing safe and healthy learning and working environment free from harassment and bullying is a necessary condition to ensure inclusion and equity in education. It also showed that teachers, trainers, academics, and other education personnel are inurgent need of training on this topic.

All the webinars can be watched in English, French or Russian here.

In presenting the European perspective of safe and healthy learning and working environment in education, a representative from the European Network Education and Training in Occupational Safety and Health (ENETOSH) underlined the importance of changing the perspective to conceive health and safety as throughput factors for quality teaching, learning and educational school development. Recent ENETOSH initiatives include the database of good practices and the award ‘Good healthy School’ to encourage the development of healthy schools.

Among the good practices shared by ETUCE member organisations, INTO (Ireland) implemented numerous initiatives to counter homophobic and transphobic bullying against LGBTI teachers and students, building on a union’s research report revealing numerous challenges in this field. Recently, the Irish union organised an Equality Conference on LGBT+ inclusion, as well as union officers training and professional training modules for teachers on how to address bullying against LGBTI people and protect LGBTI rights. Based on these activities, the union Congress 2021 passed a comprehensive motion on LGBTI equality also including a policy for appropriate use of gender pronouns. ZNP (Poland) presented the union good practices on providing psychological support to teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through cooperation with other NGOs, the union provided free psychological and psychotherapeutic support to teachers, and promoted a series of publications, as well as an open webinar to support teachers motivating students, coping with stress and taking care of themself. EIS (UK, Scotland) presented some of the union anti-racist initiatives based on the four pillars of information, mobilisation, integration of anti-racism in the curricula, and increase of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation within education and the trade union. Concrete actions include the creation of anti-racist posters to raise awareness of racism; the organisation of EIS Leadership Learning programme to mobilise anti-racism activism and webinars on Black Lives matter in Education and Anti-racist Allyship as well as the creation of a national BAME Network.

The third ETUCE webinar on “Using digital technologies and media to foster inclusion” will take place on 29 April 2021. Registration for the webinar is possible for all ETUCE member organisations.

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