APRES COVID case study visit: Spotlight on teachers’ well-being and mental health in Slovenia


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On 22-23 May 2024, representatives from ETUCE and EFEE gathered in Ljubljana (Slovenia) for the first case study visit of the "APRES COVID" project. This initiative, co-funded by the European Commission, focuses on addressing the long-term psychosocial risks and challenges in the education sector that have emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

During the case study, representatives of education trade unions and employers visited two education institutions, engaging with teachers, school leaders, school counsellors, and administrative staff to gather valuable insights on real-life experiences of the long-term impact of COVID on their work, well-being and mental health.  

Following the disruptive impact of emergency teaching and learning, the return to in-person schooling led to an immediate improvement in both student and teacher well-being. Teachers shared their experiences of isolation during the pandemic but also highlighted the crucial emotional support they received from colleagues and school management. 

In the aftermath of the pandemic, on the one hand, schools are confronted with increasing student struggles in terms of learning difficulties and disruptive behaviours along with increasing expectations from parents, particularly in primary education. These challenges, along with the high workload and administrative burden, have an impact on education workers' well-being and undermine the attractiveness of the teaching profession. On the other hand, the accelerated adoption of digital tools was highlighted as a positive development leading to more cooperation and improved communication in the education institutions.  

A significant part of the case study focused on social dialogue in both European and Slovenian contexts, leading to insightful discussions on health and safety in education among education trade unions, education employers and ministry representatives towards promoting the well-being and mental health of teachers, school leaders, and other education staff. The need for more cooperation and dialogue on the topic of well-being and mental health in education was recognised by all the participants.  

Among the good practices implemented at the national level, support networks emerged as important tools to support teachers, school leaders and other education personnel during the pandemic. Besides, at the ministerial level, a wide training offer has also been on the topics of well-being and mental health. At the school level, various projects aimed at fostering a safe, educational environment were also implemented, including activities on non-violent communication, conflict resolution, and addressing violent behaviours among students. Besides, schools organise health-related projects, including sports activities, to promote physical and mental well-being.   

Overall, the case study marked an invaluable opportunity to assess the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on well-being and psychosocial risks in education and to enhance social partners' cooperation in this field. The findings from this visit will contribute to the objective of the "APRES COVID" project.