EI’s European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) has met in Brussels to review key issues for teachers’ unions and education across the region.
A focal point of the ETUCE’s discussion has been the revisions of the Professional Qualification Directive (2005/36/EC) which is a legislative act of the European Union (EU) that seeks to facilitate free movement of people and services.
One intention behind the revision to the Directive is to achieve equal treatment of EU citizens who intend to practice their profession in a member state other than where their professional qualification was obtained.
However, the ETUCE is seriously concerned that this could lead to national authorities losing the ability to decide the requirements and qualifications needed to work within the teaching profession. This could lower the bar of professional teaching standards on the pretext that only minimum requirements are necessary to become a teacher within Europe.
Consequently, the ETUCE has agreed to urge the European Commission to limit the impact of the revised Directive on national education and negotiate on the final text with the Ministries of Education and European teachers’ unions, instead of dealing solely with Ministers for Trade and Competition, as is the case at present.
Another crucial issue that was addressed during the one-day meeting was the on-going conflict between EI member organisation in Georgia, the EFSTUG, and the Georgian government. EI expressed its serious concerns about the Education Minister’s decision to stop the transfer of union dues to the ESFTUG; the dismissal, harassment and threatening of trade unionists, as well as strong internal divisions within the union.
The ETUCE, together with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), is developing a short and long term strategy to help protect teachers’ rights and freedoms in Georgia, and to support the ESFTUG during these difficult times.