On 20-21 October 2016, ETUCE organised the third training seminar of the project “Investing in Education: Strengthening the involvement of teacher trade unions in the European Semester on education and training” in Rome, Italy. The training was organised with the support of one of the project partners from Italy, FLC-CGIL. The 1.5-day training seminar gave trade union representatives from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and the Netherlands the opportunity to discuss about the impact of the European Semester on national education and training reforms as well as investment and privatisation trends.

As an annual cycle of economic governance coordination, the European Semester increasingly influences national education policies, especially through the yearly Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) on education and training. In 2016, almost all EU countries received education-related CSRs, mostly related to the improvement of labour market relevance of education; the access to quality education to students coming from the most disadvantaged background; teachers’ professional development and enhanced investment, even from private sources, in education.

During the training seminar, Thomas Hoelgaard, DLF, EI/ETUCE member organisation in Denmark and project co-applicant, illustrated the strategy DLF set up to be better involved in the European Semester mechanism. By looking beyond the borders however, it became clear that no-one-size fits all. Paola Serafin (CISL-Scuola) regretted the weak cooperation and lacking dialogue with the government in Italy on the recent education and training system reform ‘The good school’. Rossella Benedetti (UIL and UIL Scuola) illustrated the involvement of the Italian national trade union confederations in European Semester. Professor Howard Stevenson from the University of Nottingham, who is engaged in the project as research expert, pointed out at the risks of privatisation in and of education triggered by the strict budgetary and fiscal constraints of the European Semester. In active workshops, participants shared experiences, discussed common problems and put forward ideas to influence the European Semester.

The fourth and last training seminar is going to take place in January 2017 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The project final conference will be held in Brussels in June 2017.

See pictures of the training here.