published 6 July 2017 updated 12 July 2017


European economic governance

On 22 May, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) urged its member organisations in the European Union (EU) to take action to influence the 2017 Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) on education and training in the framework of the European Semester.

The ETUCE has produced and disseminated an analysis of the CSRs on education and training proposed by the European Commission, encouraging its member organisations to actively engage with national and European decision-makers ahead of the European Council that is set to endorse the CSRs. These are related to inclusive education, higher education and education financing, and should be implemented by EU member states within the coming 12-18 months.

International workshop on active trade unionism among youth in Belarus

From 22-23 May, the workshop “Trade union and Youth – Together. Together to future!” was organised in Minsk under the auspices of the Belarusian Trade Union of Workers of Education and Science, an ETUCE member organisation.

The ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken, participated in the workshop.

ETUI workshop on psychosocial risks at work

From 23-24 May, a workshop on the prevention of psychosocial risks at work was organised by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) in Brussels.

ETUCE Programme Officer Eduardo Nadal outlined the two-year ETUCE/EU-funded project on ‘Social partners promoting decent workplaces in the Education sector for a healthier working life’.

Tax justice and fair taxation

On 26 May, ETUCE urged member organisation to contribute to European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) activities in the field of tax justice and fair taxation by acting to influence the European Parliament’s vote on the European Commission’s Directive on publiccountry-by-country reports from multinational companies. On 16 June, ETUCE also joined the online petition on the No to Tax Havens platform, asking the European Parliament to support the creation of an EU-wide common corporate tax base.

Higher Education: Bologna Follow-Up Group meeting in Malta

From 24-25 May, ETUCE represented member organisations in the Bologna Follow-Up Group meeting in Gozo. The ETUCE vice-president, Andreas Keller, highlighted crucial topics in higher education and research such as academic freedom, support to teachers and researchers, and institutional autonomy.

ETUCE Senior Coordinator Agnes Roman also took part in the meeting.

General Assembly of EQARin Malta

The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) members convened for the 13thGeneral Assembly, hosted by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU and in conjunction with the Bologna Follow-Up Group meeting from 24-26 May.

Karl Dittrich was unanimously elected as EQAR President with a mandate from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020. Six new Committee members were approved by the General Assembly, with their two-year term starting on 1 July: Maria Arminda Bragança de Miranda, Riita Kaarina Pyykkö, Izabela Suika, Beate Treml, Anne Verreth and Steffen Westergard Andersen.

Andreas Keller, ETUCE Vice-President, outlined ETUCE’s activities on higher education and research, highlighting academic freedom, support to teachers and researchers, and institutional autonomy.

ETUCE Senior Coordinator Agnes Roman also attended.

Eğitim Sen’s General Assembly in Turkey

The General Assembly of Eğitim Sen, an ETUCE member organisation in Turkey, took place from 26-28 May in Ankara. Delegates urged the Turkish government to end the state of emergency and allow dismissed and suspenders teachers and workers return to their posts.

The ETUCE Vice-President, Odile Cordelier, together with representatives from the Turkish Cypriot Secondary Education Teachers’ Union (KTOEOS/Cyprus), the Eastern Mediterranean University Union of Academic Staff (DAU-SEN/Cyprus), the Danish Union of Teachers (DLF/Denmark), the Syndicat National des Enseignements de Second degré(SNES-FSU/France), the Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OLME/Greece), the Primary Teachers Union (DOE/Greece), the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT/United Kingdom), the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissen schaft (GEW/Germany) and the Algemene Onderwijsbond(AOb/The Netherlands) participated in the Assembly.

ETUCE Conference on public investment, reforms and privatisation patterns in education across Europe

On 30 May, in line with the EI Global Response initiative, the ETUCE Conference, ‘Education in Europe: Public Investment, Privatisation and Reforms’, took place in Brussels, Belgium.

This event marked the closure of the ETUCE-led project, Investing in education: Strengthening the involvement of teacher trade unions in the European Semester on education and training’.Around 100 participants discussed investment in education, with a focus on privatisation and commercialisation trends throughout Europe. A Research Report and a Practical guide on the European Semester for education trade unions were presented.

ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken opened the conference; ETUCE Vice-Presidents Odile Cordelier and Dorte Lange co-chaired the event; Paola Cammilli, ETUCE Coordinator, organised the event.

ETUC Mid-Term Conference in Italy

From 29-31 May, the ETUC held its Mid-Term Conference in Rome. The conference focused on Europe for working people – the future the European trade union movement wants to build for European workers and their families.

ETUCE was represented by European Director Susan Flocken, Vice-Presidents Trudy Kerperien and Mike Jennings, and Committee member Alexandre Da Cunha Dias.

European Alliance for Apprenticeship

From 30-31 May, ETUCE and several member organisations celebrated the fourth anniversary of the European Alliance of Apprenticeship in a high-level event organised by the European Commission and the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council in Malta.

ETUCE highlighted the important role vocational education and training (VET) teachers and trainers play in organising apprenticeship for students and maintaining its quality.

Agnes Roman, ETUCE Senior Coordinator, participated in the event.

Open Educational Resources Policy Forum in Poland

On 1-2 June, the second Open Educational Resources Policy Forum took place in Warsaw, organised by Communia Association.

The ETUCE presented the ETUCE Statement on Copyright in the digital single market representing the position of education trade unions across Europe.

Eduardo Nadal, ETUCE Programme Officer, attended the event.

Social partners’ hearing on the future of the European Quality and Effective Framework for Apprenticeship

On 7 June, ETUCE participated in the second Social Partners’ hearing organised by the European Commission on the future European Quality and Effective Framework for Apprenticeship.

It called for support of VET teachers in the forthcoming initiative, which will be adopted in the autumn as a Council Recommendation.

ETUC Youth Committee

On 9 June, the ETUC Youth Committee met in Brussels, Belgium.

It discussed the draft proposal for a ETUC Youth Committee Position on Youth Mobility, including the demand for simplified procedures of recognition of academic qualifications, and the ETUC Resolution on the European Solidarity Corps.

Agnes Roman, ETUCE Senior Coordinator, highlighted the latest developments regarding the European Quality Framework for Apprenticeship. The ETUCE also provided material on precarious work in the education sector to the Pay Rise Youth Branch campaign.

Ekaterina Efimenko, ETUCE Programme Officer, also attended the meeting.

ETUC Conference ‘Safe at home, safe at work’

On 12 June, the ETUC held the final conference of its “Safe at home, safe at work” project in Brussels, Belgium.

This initiative made an innovative link between domestic violence and work. During the event, several panellists emphasised the role of trade unions in addressing and preventing gender-based violence.

Ekaterina Efimenko, ETUCE Programme Officer, and Marthe Stamer, ETUCE Intern, attended the event.

Key Competences Conference

On 14 June, ETUCE participated in the European Commission’s Conference on the Revision of Key Competences Framework in Brussels, Belgium.

Participants identified competences related to citizenship, personal and social development, sustainability, and cultural awareness and expression. They also explored how to better support the use of the key competences framework.

Ekaterina Efimenko, ETUCE Programme Officer, attended the event.

Public debate on ‘Education and copyright’

On 21 June, ETUCE participated in the public debate on the copyright reform for the education sector in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.

Significantly, the ETUCE letter sent to MEPs was debated concerning amendments of the so-called COMODINI report of the EP Legal Affairs Committee, in line with the ETUCE Statement on Copyright in the digital single market.

Eduardo Nadal, ETUCE Programme Officer, represented ETUCE.

Public Services Day: EPSU and ETUCE launch media campaign on pay rise

On 23 June, ETUCE joined forces with the European Public Service Union (EPSU) on World Public Services’ Day, in a media campaign.

The campaign called for increased wages for public sector workers, including in education, as well as restoration of social dialogue and collective bargaining across Europe. This action is in line with ETUC campaign, “Europe needs a pay rise”.

In the context of the joint-action, ETUCE and EPSU issued a joint press release and a briefing entitled Pay in the Public Sector: how workers continue to pay for the crisis.

They urged member organisations to share and disseminate campaign material, including an animated video.

European Social Partnership: Round table meeting in Ireland

On 27 June, ETUCE and the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) met the Irish social partners in education in Dublin at the second social dialogue round table of the joint ETUCE-EFEE project on European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education capacity building III.

Participants discussed European and national social dialogue, particularly in relation to the promotion of healthy workplaces in education. They were joined by experts from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, and the project’s expert consultant firm, ICF. Additionally, Slovakian social partners in education shared their experiences.

Paola Cammilli, ETUCE Coordinator, attended the event.

Discussion on the future of education and privatisation in Africa in Germany

On 1 June, under the banner “Inequality discarded–Time for Justice”, as part of the Programme of the International Week of Justice 2017, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation organised the discussion, “Earning by learning – is this the future of education in Africa?”

The panel consisted of Utz Dräger, journalist; Wilson Sossion, KNUT General Secretary; Professor Annette Scheunpflug, University of Bamberg/Germany; and Angelo Gavrielatos, EI. The discussion focused on the growing opposition to the expansion of Bridge International Academies in Kenya and beyond.

Approximately 90 people representing GEW, civil society organisations, and members of the public were in attendance.

On 2 June, at a special briefing at the German Parliament, Sossion conveyed the growing concerns directly to German decision-makers, NGOs and business representatives.

“Investing in the crisis: Private participation in the education of Syrian refugees” seminar in Norway

On 2 June in Oslo, the Union of Education Norway (UEN) organised a seminar on the growing presence of private actors in the education of Syrian refugees.

Assistant Professors Francine Menashy and Zeena Zakharia (University of Massachusetts Boston) presented their report, Investing in the crisis: Private participation in the education of Syrian refugees, released in Lebanon earlier this year. This was followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the Norwegian Refugee Council, The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and UEN President Steffen Handal.

Support for human rights activists in Turkey

Education International joined the call from Amnesty International demanding that the charges against Taner Kılıç, Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, be dropped and that he be released immediately and unconditionally.

Kılıç, a longstanding human rights defender, was taken into police custody on 6 June. On 9 June, he was charged with membership of a terrorist organisation and imprisoned pending trial. Kılıç is one of thousands, including activists, journalists, academics, unionists and others critical of government policy in Turkey who have been subject to criminal prosecutions on false terrorism charges following the coup attempt of July 2016.

Education International has repeatedly condemned the targeting of tens of thousands of education employees across the country, including members of the education union, Eğitim Sen. It has also created a solidarity fund to provide financial assistance to Eğitim Sen members who have been dismissed and cannot apply for new positions in the education sector. In June, more than 1,400 Eğitim Sen members received funding from the EI fund.

Launch of the Centre for International Development in the UK

A new Centre for International Development was launched on 15 June at the Institute of Education, University College London.

The new Centre will be co-directed by Professors Elaine Unterhalter and Moses Oketch, and comprises a team of internationally recognised experts in international development, education, and international educational policy. The Centre delivers world-class teaching and carries out research of global importance.

Work at the Centre is clustered under five themes: poverty, education and inequalities; examining conflict, violence, and peacebuilding through education; education and the promotion of physical, social, emotional, and sexual health wellbeing; understanding the interconnections between education and migration; and knowledge creation relating to education, gender equity and empowerment.

EI’s madeleine kennedy-macfoy participated on a panel on SRGBV by presenting the ongoing joint EI/UNGEI initiative on SRGBV, which is currently being implemented in a number of EI member organisations in sub-Saharan Africa.