According to a study conducted upon request of the VBE, the inclusion of children with special needs into regular schools remains challenging. For the representative study, 2050 teachers in regular schools were interviewed. Teachers‘ opinions on inclusion differ greatly: while 54% of the respondents were generally in favour of inclusion, 42% found enrolling children with special needs in special schools more reasonable. The promotion of tolerance, better integration of children with special needs and the promotion of social competencies were among the arguments listed in favour of inclusion.

The VBE published a brochure on violence against teachers. Based on results of a study conducted upon request of the VBE on violence against teachers, the brochure includes practical guidelines on what to do in the case of violent incidents. Udo Beckmann, Federal Chairman of the VBE, explains that this publication aims at moving violence out of the taboo zone. He furthermore stresses: “Not only do we want to point out hazardous situations, we also want to help. It became evident, that there is often no transparency about how to act in the case of a violent incident.”

The European Parliament has adopted a report on the need for an EU strategy to end and prevent the gender pension gap. The report reaffirms the importance of investment in education to enable especially women to stay longer in the labour market which would have positive effects on their pensions. With this report, the European Parliament calls on the European Commission and the EU Member States to tackle inequalities and discrimination in the labour market, in particular through education and empowerment of girls and women to enter sections of the labour market that are currently dominated by men.

On 18 May, the ETUCE Bureau adopted a statement as a contribution to the Public consultation on Revision of Key Competences . From ETUCE’s perspective, challenges remain regarding the design and application of the Key Competences Framework. One of the obstacles to implementation is the lack of a clear audience of the Key Competences Framework: who is the target group (national governments, policy makers, school heads, teachers or any other actors of the education sector)?

Today, 30 May 2017, ETUCE is hosting a Conference titled: ‘Education in Europe: Public Investment, Privatisation and Reforms – What role do education trade unions play?’, in Brussels. The one-day event marks the culmination of the ETUCE-led project ‘Investing in Education: Strengthening the involvement of teacher trade unions in the European Semester on Education and Training’ that was carried out from 2015 to 2017. With this conference, ETUCE brings together around a hundred participants from ETUCE member organisations from across Europe, social partners, the European Commission, as well as other stakeholders.

On 11 May 2017, the Council of Europe adopted a decision on signing the Istanbul Convention, international Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Istanbul Convention was presented by the Council of Europe in 2011 and recognised violence against women as a human rights violation. It criminalises the various forms of violence against women and domestic violence and focuses on measures of preventing violence, protecting and supporting victims and witnesses, and prosecuting the perpetrators.