ETUCE Extraordinary Conference Day 1: Education Trade Unions discuss the recovery of the education sector


Today, Monday 5th of July the ETUCE online Extraordinary Conference “For an Education-led Recovery” took place. For two days, Education Trade Unions from across Europe are discussing and adopting strategies on how to address the existing and future challenges of the teaching profession in the context of the COVID-19 recovery.

Larry Flanagan, ETUCE President and chair of the Conference, opened the Conference by welcoming the education trade unions’ delegates and members, and inviting the participants to respect a moment of silence to colleagues passed away recently. “Teachers and education trade unions should be proud of what they have achieved during these difficult times of global pandemic”, he said.

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Themis Christophidou, Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture at the European Commission, presented the initiatives implemented by the European Commission to support teachers in Europe and stated: “Now is the time to see how we can support teachers to overcome the difficulties of this last year. We need to do more. We need to continue our dialogue on inclusion. We need to work harder to improve access to digital skills and infrastructures. And most importantly, we need to invest more in teachers.”

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David Edwards, General Secretary of EI, to address the audience provided examples of the impact of the crisis on human rights and democracy in the world and underlined the importance of education trade unions for a sustainable and democratic recovery. “After decades of neglect, education can no longer wait. There is an urgent need to mobilise. There is not a day that goes by when I am not impressed and humbled by the commitment of teachers and trade unions. We are powerful. We are resilient. Solidarity is our challenge and our mission.”

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Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation emphasised the importance of a strong collaboration between trade unions at the European level, as well as the crucial role played by trade unions in protecting workers’ rights. In the afternoon, Andy Hargraeves, Adviser in Education to the First Minister of Scotland gave an engaging and thought-provoking talk on strategies for students’ engagement and post-pandemic education in these times of convergence of crises.

The theme of the Conference “For an Education-led recovery” was introduced by Susan Flocken, ETUCE Director. She insisted on the fact that this crisis has challenged teachers and other education personnel in unprecedented ways and that it is the role of the education trade unions in Europe to adopt strategies to support their work. “We, the education trade unions, are open to discuss and tackle what has become an economic and social crisis. We are ready to contribute to a recovery that includes everybody, and we will be taking an active part in shaping the future!”, she said.

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The main objective of the Conference is to formally adopt important policy documents, giving ETUCE and its member organisations a solid basis to implement its programme during the current mandate. The first one being the resolution on the main theme “For an education-led recovery”. This resolution triggered fruitful discussions and was adopted by the delegates. Also adopted was the resolution on “Campaigning for a better future for higher education and research” under the recovery heading.  


Useful links:

Watch the Day 2 of the Conference Live here: We will discuss the Resolution on Artificial Intelligence, the Resolutions in relation to Education and Climate Change, the Action Plan on Equality and Inclusion, the ETUCE Action Plan on Trade Union Renewal as well as listen to new interesting key note speakers.

All the information regarding the 2021 ETUCE Extraordinary Conference can be found here

The programme can be found here

All the Conference documents can be found here

The speakers’ list is here

Background document from the ETUCE 2020 Conference “Campaigning to Enhance the Teaching Profession for Solidarity, Democracy, Equality and Sustainability”.

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