On 26-28 November 2018, ETUCE, the European Region of Education International (EI), at the occasion of its Special Conference in Athens, Greece, will discuss the role of education trade unions in shaping the future of Europe. Empowering education trade unions through capacity building, trade union renewal and strong and effective social dialogue will be at the core of the two-day debate among 300 delegates from 132 education trade unions across Europe.

Celebrating the Universal children’s day (20th November), a new report from FRA, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights on ‘Combating child poverty: an issue of fundamental right’, has recently shown that child poverty is a common matter across Member States in which one in four children under the age of 18 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

On 19 November 2018, European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee in Education (ESSDE) delegates gathered in Brussels to conduct their annual Plenary meeting, with the support of the European Commission. EFEE President, Michael Moriarty, chaired the meeting. The meeting focused on: evaluating activities carried out jointly in the frame of the current ESSDE Work Programme 2018-2019; supporting teachers and trainers by increasing the attractiveness of VET and apprenticeships; supporting recruitment, retention and development of teaching professions; following-up on strategies for implementing previously adopted joint documents.

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has launched a new version of the SELFIE tool to support digital teaching and learning through the use of digital technologies in EU schools and provide guidance on digital capabilities of schools. SELFIE, the Self-reflection on Effective Learning by Fostering the use of Innovative Educational Technologies, is a part of the Digital Education Action Plan 2020 which was presented earlier this year. The SELFIE manual assists teachers in making the most of technology and encourages students to develop their skills for the digital society.

On 27 October 2018 the 9th Congress of the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia took place in Tbilisi. Amongst nearly 500 participants, official guests, including ETUCE President, Christine Blower, ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken, ETUCE member organisations from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Denmark, Moldova, Belarus, Poland, Azerbaijan and other countries attended the Congress. The representatives of the highest state and political positions of the legislative and executive government as well as local self-government representatives also took part in the event.

On 7-8 November 2018, the third case study visit of the project “European Sectoral Social Partners in Education promoting effective integration of migrants and refugees in education” took place in Belgium, organised with the support of ETUCE member organisation in Belgium, ACOD-Onderwijs, partner to this project. The visit aimed at identifying challenges, concrete solutions and joint social partners’ initiatives for effectively integrating migrants and refugees in education. ETUCE and EFEE representatives, the research expert accompanying the project and a project advisory group representative from Cyprus had the opportunity to familiarize with good practices and challenges in the Flemish education system regarding policies of inclusion and integration.