Roles and competences for teachers and school leaders in the digital age


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The European Education Policy Network on Teachers and School Leaders is a network of various organisations with the goal of building on existing initiatives and projects in education supported by the EU and support evidence informed policy-making. The annual conference of the 2nd year of the project consortium took place on 24 September 2021 focusing on New roles and competences of teachers and school leaders in the digital age.[1] The Conference co-organised by the Autonomous University of Barcelona focused on presenting the research reports and discussion on the  implementation of policy recommendations.

The discussions among representatives of education social partners, school heads’ and teachers’ associations, and researchers focused on the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation. In the COVID-19 pandemic context of digital teaching and learning, they underlined the need to support the recovery of the EU from the crisis and invest in teaching in the digital age. As much as the digital era improved the quality of communication and learning outcomes, there is a strong digital divide in technical skills and working conditions. Transformation of education to online teaching and learning brought challenges for teachers, other education personnel and pupils. This new reality also created a socio-digital divide. The participants put an emphasis on the need to improve the initial education of teachers and school leaders, which should include social aspects in interactive online learning.

ETUCE member organisations further noted that education still lacks sustainable public investment in digital infrastructure of schools. Moreover, inclusiveness within digitalisation of education needs to be ensured to support children with disabilities and special needs, and strengthen the social interaction between teachers, students, school leaders and parents when dealing with diversity and inclusion.

Michael Teutsch, Head of Unit Schools and Multilingualism at the European Commission acknowledged the challenges and lack of support and training for teachers. He also emphasised that the project is a contribution to implement the European Education Area (EEA) towards providing quality, inclusive and green education within the digital transition. The EEA puts the teachers, other education personnel and school leaders at the centre as “without having teachers on board nothing can be achieved”.

The policy recommendations of the project are based on research evidence  the project partners have compiled within a framework of topics for the second year:

  • Digital technical tools, skills and competences supporting teaching and learning;
  • Collaborative learning and collaborative school leadership in the digital age;
  • Entrepreneurial skills and competences in learning, teaching and school leadership in the digital age;
  • Communication, literacies, multilingual and critical thinking skills and competences for teaching and learning in the digital age;
  • Active citizenship skills and active digital citizenship skills in teaching and learning in the digital age.

Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director, underlined that the Policy Recommendations of the project are important and they call on EU institutions, the EU Member States, national, regional, and local decision-makers to enhance democratic school leadership and to support teachers and school leaders in facing the new challenges of digitalisation and green transition of education.

Read more about the project here

Read also: New roles and competences for teachers and school leaders in the digital age Policy recommendations 2021

[1] Deliverable-4_1-Policy-Recommendations-2021_final.pdf (