Education International
Education International

Together combating teachers’ stress

published 23 November 2011 updated 19 December 2011

The EI European Region, ETUCE, wrapped-up a research project on teachers’ work-related stress and presented the results from a European-wide survey on this issue during a Conference held in Berlin on 18-19 November.

The project was launched in 2010 to assess, compare and evaluate teachers’ work-related stress in the 27 EU member states and EFTA member states Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Entitled: “Teachers' work-related stress: European-wide Survey - Assessment, Comparison and Evaluation of the Impact of Psychosocial Hazards on Teachers at their Workplace in the EU, it  has been co-funded by the Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission.

The survey has been carried out in 500 schools by the Freiburg research centre for occupational and social medicine (FFAS) with the coordination and collaboration of ETUCE member organisations.

The conference gathered representatives from ETUCE, member affiliates in the EU/EFTA and candidate countries, as well as employers in education.

The survey results were disclosed by Dr. Matthias Nübling, from FFAS. In parallel, there were two presentations of European organisations by Malgorzata Milczarek, from the European Agency for Occupational Health and Safety, and Agnès Parent-Thirion, from EUROFOUND.

Additionally, there were presentations on various practise approaches proposing how to make good use of the survey results. Key speakers included Mr. Andreas Horst, from the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and Miss Stefanie Kaempf, from the Regional Administrative Authority in Freiburg, Germany.

ETUCE President, Ronnie Smith, linked teachers’ work-related stress with its effects on quality education, underlining that “Stress can thus be harmful not only to the workforce-teachers and other educational staff- but also for the pupils, jeopardising the quality and efficiency of education”.

FFAS representative, Dr Nübling, explained how the ETUCE survey found fields of special stressors for teachers when compared to other professions, noting: “Noise and voice strain have a great impact on the burnout level of teachers and can eventually lead to work-related stress”.

Nübling concluded that, if teacher unions and education employers jointly tackle teachers’ workload, workplace risk assessment results could be improved easily.

The participants also discussed the ETUCE Policy Paper on work-related stress, which is to be presented to the European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Education in the near future.

Charles Nolda, from the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE), confirmed the employers’ interest in including work-related stress as a topic on the joint agenda of the European social dialogue committee in education.

The study report and ETUCE project brochure will be published on the ETUCE Occupational Health and Safety website at the beginning of 2012.