Education is both a fundamental right for all human beings and a powerful tool for social inclusion: two truths which must inform European countries in their response to migration and refugees. They also inspired a joint project on education and migration by education trade unions and organisations representing education employers. How can education social partners contribute to the inclusion of newcomers in Europe? Last week’s closing conference presented the research and case studies gathered in the project. Then we took the message to the European Parliament for a public hearing and the premiere of our documentary Education Without Borders.

New data from the European Commission show that greater public investment in early childhood education would bring excellent returns, while funding for higher education also needs to be strengthened. ETUCE welcomes the conclusion that sectoral collective bargaining and high levels of trade union membership can help build a socially sustainable Europe.

The new Gender Equality Index focuses on work-life balance. The report shows that family responsibilities are more of a barrier for women’s social progress than for men. This is not just about childcare responsibilities, as rising disability rates and aging populations in the EU create more demand for long-term care. ETUCE calls for education that breaks down gender stereotypes around family care and educational choices, and better funding for flexible education options that let women access lifelong learning. The education sector itself must also ensure a decent work-life balance that gives women workers space to succeed.

ETUCE was present throughout the European Vocational Education and Training Week, which took place on 14-18 October. This fourth edition of the VET Skills Week was organised in Helsinki jointly by the European Commission and the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. A particular highpoint was a seminar on the changing role of VET teachers and trainers, where our director Susan Flocken was a speaker.

The Central and Eastern European Roundtable is an ETUCE event that takes place every two years, gathering education trade unionists from Central and Eastern European countries.This year the CEE Roundtable 2019 will take place in Tbilisi, Georgia on 28-30 October, with trade union renewal and advocacy on European and international policy at the top of the agenda.

ETUCE is supporting its member organisation SBASHK as it provides a series of trainings for teachers in Kosovo. Two programmes have now been delivered to a total of 59 participants, covering media education and skills for strategic planning in education policy.