The Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission has recently published the results on the public consultation on “Promoting social inclusion and shared EU values through formal and non-formal learning“. An ETUCE position paper was developed to guide members organisations in their participation in this survey and to influence the future Council recommendation in this regard.

Among other important findings, the consultation report showed that:

  • Supporting and empowering teachers is one of the most effective solutions for building inclusive learning environments and for dealing with multiculturalism, diversity and controversy;
  • Improving the quality of initial teacher training (ITE) and continuing professional development (CPD) is also one of the most effective ways in building high-quality inclusive education systems;
  • Adapted school curricula; innovative teaching methods and learner-centred approaches of teaching are vital to effectively teach transversal issues of Citizenship and Human Rights;
  • Training for teachers and educators, including also mentoring, peer guidance and exchange of best practices, as regards ‘non-formal learning’ is important to help teachers enhance and better comprehend their role in promoting shared values outside the classroom (e.g. in extra-curricular activities), specially at the time of interacting with students with a migrant/refugee background.

ETUCE welcomes the recommendation of “stepping up efforts to overcome the shortage of qualified teachers and to make the teaching profession more attractive. This includes offering good salaries which are comparable with other graduate professions. Efforts should also be made to enhance the recognition of the status and social function of teachers, academics and other education personnel as educators of future active and responsible citizens who are able to think critically and contribute effectively to a more just society”.

ETUCE also welcomes the recommendation on involving the wider community to support a ‘whole-school approach’ in the promotion of EU values and social inclusion. ETUCE criticizes that the report overlooks the role of education trade unions, as key education actors in supporting teachers in their task of teaching citizenship and transmitting EU shared values. As  social partners, education trade unions are essential in developing education policy and in advocating for inclusive education.

ETUCE also notes that that the idea of “profound systemic changes in the education and training systems so as to inspire a pedagogical culture where there is an emphasis on students”, is not an efficient measure to promote social inclusion. Indeed, those policy changes must be consulted with education trade unions and take all the relevant dimensions of public education into account: not only school strategies, educational systems’ contexts and specificities and students’ experiences, but most important, teachers’ training needs, teachers’ experiences and successful teaching practices and methods.

Agreeing that EU funding should be ‘teacher-friendly’ and that increased funding opportunities for teachers’ mobility are indeed crucial to develop new and inclusive teaching methods, ETUCE criticizes  that the European Commission does not refer to “increase growth-enhancing investment in education both at school and tertiary levels, in particular with a view to ensure funding for national, regional and local programmes and projects on citizenship and human rights education and training”.

To learn more about our position paper, please click here.

The read the full consultation report, please click here.