This project seeks to raise awareness in European societies on the importance and value of the teaching profession, within quality education institutions that are inclusive, learner-centred, and sustainable. The project aims to further enhance the contribution of the education social partners at all levels for an attractive teaching profession, and to continuously promote and improve social dialogue structures and capacities to rise to the challenges facing the future of education, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated pre-existing threats facing the profession.

Advisory Group

  • John MacGabhann TUI Ireland
  • Ana Čanović TUEM Montenegro
  • Agata Adamek KSOiW NSZZ Solidarnosc Poland
  • Inga Vanaga LIZDA Latvia
  • Alexandra Cornea FSLI Romania
  • Rossella Benedetti UIL-Scuola Italy
  • Daniel Wisniewski EFEE Belgium
  • Samira Bührer EFEE Belgium
  • Paul Fields ETBI Ireland
  • Luigi Sepacci ANNISEI Italy
  • Jussi-Pekka Rode Finish Education Employers Finland

Funding

This project is funded with support from the European Commission.

The crisis born out of the spread of Covid-19 pandemic risks adding pressure on education systems and threatening even further the sustainability and resilience of European education systems by deepening pre-existing difficulties in recruiting and retaining teachers in the profession and exacerbating problems related to an ageing of the current education workforce. The results of the OECD 2018 Teaching and Learning Internal Survey (TALIS) and the EC Education & Training Monitor 2019 portrayed a worrying situation, with 24 out of 27 EU Countries reporting current or foreseen teachers’ shortage.

According to the European Social Partners in Education, a well-functioning social dialogue at European, national, regional, and local level is key to ensure that measures undertaken to make the profession more attractive are successful, inclusive, and sustainable. For this reason, in the frame of the project, substantial research is being carried out by Prof. Howard Stevenson (University of Nottingham) as an external expert and trainer. Prof. Stevenson supports the Advisory Group members and the ETUCE Secretariat staffers involved in the project investigating the functioning of current sectoral social dialogue institutions in EU countries, identifying the remaining barriers and gaps for capacity building, including the relevant actors involved in education policy on matters related to the teaching profession. This will allow the European Social Partners in Education to better target structural, organisational, and institutional needs, and to address relevant interlocutors in a fragmented landscape of actors to improve both the functioning and the outcomes of social dialogue in the sector.

These are the three core elements of the overall research.

  1. The picture. On recruitment, what is the current state of the teachers’ supply? Are enough people interested in becoming teachers? This is both a labour market issue and a demographic issue. On retention, is the nature of the job sufficient to keep people in the profession? Attractiveness is not only a problem of entry but also of exit. The picture looks quite different across and within the Countries.  
  2. The factors for low attractiveness. Their prevalence depends on the context: policies, funding, approach to curriculum reform and pedagogy. One of the most important points under this element is that of professional agency. Combined with increasing workload, teachers are experiencing a sense of loss of control of what they do within work hours. There is a sense that the increased amount of control of teachers’ work is partly contributing to the frustration that pushes people to leave the profession.  
  3. The contribution of Social Dialogue in tackling those problems. Where does Social Dialogue work well? What can we learn? Are there particular ways of conducting social dialogue that appear to be more effective? What are the main obstacles? What are the capacity issues within the Social Dialogue mechanisms? For now, the critical success factors highlighted by the European Social Partners in Education are the structures (collective bargaining mechanisms and governance frameworks), the financial resources, the trustful relationships, and a shared agenda. The case studies should allow to better highlight the contrasts and to show the complexities, without any generalisation.

Prof. Stevenson will compile a final research report on the attractiveness of the teaching profession and capacity building for effective social dialogue at the end of the project. The report will be translated into English, French, and Russian and it will be disseminated electronically via the project partners’ websites and social media channels, and through paper copies during the closing conference.