Social dialogue in the education sector

The meeting “Social dialogue in the education sector” of the Platform for Education financed by the European Union in cooperation with EZA and NSZZ "Solidarność" was held in Zakopane, Poland, from 25 to 28 May 2017. The event was attended by 32 representatives of workers’ organisations from the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Hungary, Portugal, Austria and Poland. The meeting was moderated by Elzbieta Wielg from NSZZ "Solidarność". The main subject focused on the topic "The role of the teacher and the role of trade unions in developing policies and strategies at local and regional level” and was presented from different perspectives and in different aspects.

The Educational Platform was opened on 25.05.2017 in Cracow, at the headquarters of the Regional Solidarity Board of NSZZ „Solidarność”, where the participants were welcomed by the President of the Solidarity Trade Union Solidarność - Wojciech Grzeszek, EZA Vice-President Jozef Mozolewski and the Chair of the Regional Education Department of NSZZ "Solidarność", Agata Łyko. Then the representative of the Ministry of Education of Małopolskie Voivodship, curator Barbara Nowak, presented the role of teachers and trade unions in creating and implementing educational strategy from the position of the Polish Ministry of National Education and the Malopolska Region.

The next part of the program was held in Zakopane, where the main topic "The role of a teacher and the role of trade union in developing policies and strategies at local and regional level" was presented from the perspective of the Netherlands, Slovakia, Austria, Bulgaria and Poland.

During the discussion participants highlighted the issues concerning: teacher work with students from different cultures; involvement of employers in co-financing the vocational training syllabus but much of the time was devoted to the need of educating teachers to operate freely in the digital area. Digital skills certification for teachers was also raised in the discussion as well as creating a core curriculum on digitization and management of this knowledge. Participants pointed out that mentioned issues should be taken into account in developing the educational strategies and policies at the regional and local levels.

 

In the workshop a part the participants discussed 2 topics:

 

1. Major problems and threats in the teacher work including the topic of preparing teachers to function in the dynamically developing digitization sphere. The work of the teacher was also analyzed in the context of stress, wages, working conditions, excessive bureaucracy, aging and reducing the number of teachers in the profession, which in turn reduces the quality of the whole education process;

 

2. Challenges for trade union organizations in the field of education. The need to develop new tasks for trade unions in the face of the progressive digitization process changing the current labor market mode, was strongly highlighted.

Due to the dynamically extending digitalization, almost omnipresent by now, it is necessary to modernize and adjust the system of education of the teaching staff, both the already existing as well as the future teachers. Trade unions should take immediate awareness rising actions on the necessity of these works among decision-makers and teachers. Also trade unions should bring about works over teacher education system, with identifying the necessary conditions of functioning of the system, including the financial cost.

The participants accepted the proposal of the recommendations on further activities for the TUs’ involved in the work of the Education Platform. TUs see the need to review the Europe 2020 Strategy in the context of the implementation of education policy at the national and regional level. Therefore the organizing national debates assessing the actions and initiatives taken to implement the educational objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy is highly recommended. These debates would aim to review the work done to avoid the political, economic and educational risks identified in the implementation of educational initiatives from the Europe 2020 Strategy. Such analyzes will be a real TUs contribution to the development of the new EU Strategy for the next perspective.

 

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