President Christine Blower opened the quadrennial conference of the ETUCE, the European region of Education International, in the Sava Centre, Belgrade. A welcome speech was given by the Serbian Minister of Education who stressed the need for enhancing the status and attractiveness of the teaching profession and securing investment to underpin quality education provision.

The ETUCE Central and Eastern European Network (CEENET) meeting was the first pre-conference event held ahead of the ETUCE Conference (6-8 December 2016 in Belgrade). The participants discussed the future of the network and evaluated the work conducted during the  first two years. Representatives  from ETUCE member organisations in Georgia, Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Slovenia and Bulgaria outlined the key achievements and challenges at stake in their countries.

On 6-8 December 2016, ETUCE, the European Region of Education International (EI), during its Regional Conference in Belgrade, Serbia, will take up challenges for quality education related to sustainable public financing, with a view to empower education trade unions in Europe. The Conference is to put forward alternatives to austerity across Europe and to discuss how education trade unions could counter the ideological drive towards privatisation encouraged by some European policies, lobbying and for-profit interests.

Among the issues addressed at the conference, the introduction of digital devices in education is a topic which is of major importance for the educational community. At EU level, the European Commission emphasises in its Digital Agenda and the Strategic Framework for Education and Training 2020, the need for innovative learning and teaching approaches in the member states to enhance digital skills and prepare the workforce for the digital jobs of the future. Furthermore, research studies and reports from the OECD and UNESCO also point in the same direction: the inherent need to ensure that education institutions are equipped to apply Information Communications Technology (ICT) in teaching and enhance teaching competences regarding the pedagogical use of ICT at all levels of education as a means to shape the world of the future.

On 6-8 December 2016, ETUCE, the European Region of Education International (EI), is going to open the doors of its Regional Conference, kicking off important discussions to address, among others, major challenges that the education sector faces for effective social dialogue both at national and at European level. With the promise of empowering education trade unions to promote quality education, the Conference is to set forth concrete actions and proposals to improve social dialogue and collective bargaining at European, national, regional and local level at times of increasing pressure on social dialogue structures, social partners’ autonomy and trends towards unilateral decision-making by governments.

The further discussion about the critical state of affairs in Turkey and the education community’s solidarity actions will be among the most anticipated issues that will be addressed by The ETUCE Regional Conference on 6-8 December in Belgrade, Serbia.