Education trade unions on learning mobility of teachers and trainers


On 7-8 November 2022, the ETUCE Committee adopted a position paper on the Council conclusions on enhancing teachers’ and trainers’ mobility, in particular European mobility, during their initial and in-service education and training”. The position paper is a response to a set of conclusions adopted by the  Education Council of ministers on 4-5 April 2022 which calls on the Member States and the European Commission to take specific actions to integrate mobility in teacher and trainer initial education and continuous professional development.

Via the position paper, ETUCE aims to have an impact on the implementation of this EU policy at national level. ETUCE welcomes the positive benefits of mobility, as contributing to personal and academic development and self-confidence of teachers, calling on Member States to integrate mobility across the teacher education continuum including initial education and continuous professional development and learning. Furthermore, ETUCE supports the regard for institutional autonomy of teachers, while requiring that this is accompanied by professional autonomy of teachers, allowing them to choose the mobility periods according to their personal and professional needs. Moreover, ETUCE member organisations agree with the importance of facilitating the formal recognition of the outcomes of mobility periods, while demanding that this should be complemented with free and high-quality career guidance to teachers. With regard to the recognition of teacher qualifications, ETUCE reminds that, as education is a national competence, thus ensuring automatic mutual recognition should comply with the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36).

The newly adopted position paper explains that it is of the utmost importance that effective access to mobility is granted to teachers. ETUCE agrees and acknowledges the obstacles to the mobility of teachers and trainers laid out in the Council Conclusion. In particular, ETUCE member organisations stressed the need to guarantee that teachers can access long-term mobility and arrange adequate substitute teachers and trainers.  Sufficient financial coverage of costs during the learning mobility in the host country also need to be guaranteed for the teachers. Other barriers are given by the shortage of integrated mobility periods in curricula, the overregulation of the teaching profession, different school year structures across Member States and the lack of language competencies. In this regard, ETUCE regrets that the Council Conclusions do not mention financial means as barriers to mobility. To combat this, ETUCE asks that the funding available reflects the real costs of participating in Erasmus mobility for teachers and trainers. ETUCE member organisations believe that granting mobility is also weakened by the flexibility offered to Member States. Furthermore, the members of ETUCE Committee stressed that it is of the utmost importance to differentiate learning mobility from brain drain, since mobility should not be understood as a means for Member States to engage in a race to the bottom to find cheap workers.

Finally, ETUCE regrets that the Conclusions do not provide any recommendations or indications to Member States to ensure democratic governance on policy developments, and guarantee that there is effective social dialogue with trade unions.

Please find the position paper here