Finnish education trade union, OAJ, has recently published a report entitled “Solutions for Europe”, in which it outlines its goals for future European policy and suggests twenty-five solutions to improve the current state of affairs. In light of the upcoming European parliamentary elections and the Finnish Presidency, due to commence in July 2019, OAJ has chosen the election theme #educationisthesolution (#koulutusratkaisee) to highlight the focus that should be placed on education to ensure a successful, democratic and equal Europe.

ETUCE is pleased to announce that the registration for the online course on Citizenship and Human Rights Education for Change, is open now. This research and training initiative is free of charge. The 6 weeks course takes place from 29 April until 9 June 2019, and offers teachers, school leaders, other education personnel, and education employers, an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in teaching and learning about democratic citizenship, human rights and inclusive education.

In the lead-up to the large national demonstration of teachers and educators on 23 March 2019 in Lisbon, ETUCE once again confirms its support and  strong solidarity with all its member organisations in Portugal.The education trade unions stated that the State Budget Law no. 36/2019 published on 15 March 2019 implies the recovery to teachers of only 2 years, 9 months and 18 days of the frozen service time despite wide criticism. Furthermore, taking into account teachers’ pay scale grouping, this law entails an unequal distribution of recovery time for the frozen service.

On 14-15 March 2019, social partners from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and UK met in Copenhagen to discuss effective policies and measures to address educational inclusion of migrants and refugees. Despite the right to education is internationally recognised to all children, irrespective of their migration status, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, barriers remain for refugees, asylum seeking and undocumented children in today’s Europe. Education personnel and their unions, and education employers across Europe are taking the responsibility to mobilise, to study, to share the challenges and to shape solutions together, through the European and national social dialogue.

The four Flemish education trade unions- ACOD- Onderwijs, COV, COC and VSOA- Onderwijs – ETUCE member organisations in Flanders, Belgium, organised a mutual strike action covering all levels of education on 20 March 2019. The education trade unions highlighted that it had been the first general education strike in Flanders since 2001. Nancy Libert ACOD- Onderwijs General Secretary said , “There is a teacher shortage. Teachers flee education!  Young teachers deserve more employment security and to keep them on board decent working conditions for all teachers are required.

In November 2017, alongside the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Heads of State made education their priority and launched the European Education Area. Yet, resources to deliver on this commitment are still lagging behind jeopardizing the sustainability of education systems and upward social convergence in Europe, as well as measures aimed at closing the equity and equality gaps between those who have and those who have not. The ETUCE European Director raised concerned towards EU leaders and the social partners over low public investment as many countries have not yet recovered from decade-long austerity-driven budget cuts in the public sector.