published 8 February 2018 updated 12 February 2018


EQAR Members’ Dialogue and EQUIP Focus Group in the Czech Republic

European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) members convened for the EQAR Members’ Dialogue, held in Prague from 19-20 October. The event was followed by the Enhancing Quality through Innovative Policy & Practice in European Higher Education (EQUIP) Focus Group meeting.

At the EQAR meeting, its governmental members, stakeholder organisations, permanent observers and statutory discussed current policy developments in quality assurance, as well as EQAR’s current and future activities. The Members’ Dialogue also served as a forum for exchange and networking among governments on issues related to quality assurance. The EQUIP study’s findings examining the challenges that arise in the implementation of the European Standards and Guidelines 2015 were discussed.

Roberta Giaimo represented Education International (EI) at the event.

OECD 2030 meeting in France

At the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2030 meeting in Paris from 23-25 October, participants took stock of progress made towards the OECD 2030 conceptual learning framework in countries. They debated what the attitudes and values in education by 2030 might mean for the necessary competencies required for students in the future. There was also a clear focus on the need to transition to an implementation phase, and a call for an OECD 2030 day of action and the creation of a transnational policy paper.

Martin Henry attended the meeting on behalf of EI.

PISA Governing Board meeting in France

From 6-8 November, in Paris, the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Governing Board (PGB) received presentations on national uses of PISA 2015 from Russia, Thailand, and Spain.

Participants also discussed the new PISA Global Relations Strategy, which focuses on addressing risk factors such as maintaining technical standards, computer-based assessments, and PISA governance and management arising from the exponential increase in the number of PISA participants.

EI Consultant John Bangs contributed on issues including global competencies. He also queried why the draft Global Relations Strategy had not factored in the OECD’s global relations with social partners and the teaching profession. He noted the lack of engagement by OECD member countries in PISA for development and the global competences, and stressed that the PISA option illustrates the gaps in many “developed” countries in relation to education for international development.

COP23: States must be more ambitious with regard to climate change education and training

The key role of education and training in sustainable development to safeguard the planet was highlighted at the 23rdConference of the Parties to the United Nations (UN) Framework Agreement on Climate Change (COP23), held in Bonn from 6-17 November.

EI joined the international trade union movement in its regret that the climate change conference did not keep its promises, despite the urgent climate emergency. In addition, representatives from almost 200 countries were unable to make concrete progress on the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement against Global Warming.

Addressing the “Dreaming big in Climate Education” event as a guest organisation, EI argued that its member organisations must join forces to compel governments to observe their climate change education (CCE) commitments under the Paris Agreement. EI’s Dennis Sinyolo said this is necessary due to the low level of penetration of CCE in the curricula of various countries. Teachers must also have access to all the necessary support and training in order to become engaged and effective stakeholders in combating climate change. For its part, EI will mobilise its affiliates around this crucial issue for society’s collective future.

According to EI, better governance must also include an ambitious programme on climate-related education and training. The education sector has a crucial role to play in the transition towards a low carbon emission global economy. EI's brochure for the COP23 is available here.

EI Consultant Richard Langlois also participated in the event.

IEA ICCS 2016 launch event in Belgium

On 7 November in Brussels, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) launched the results from the International Civics and Citizenship Survey (ICCS) with the report, Becoming Citizens in a Changing World.

It also launched the European regional report, Young People’s perceptions of Europe in a Time of Change, investigating the way in which young people are being prepared to undertake their roles as citizens by monitoring students’ civic knowledge, attitudes and engagements.

The results showed that students’ civic knowledge, attitudes, and engagement have increased since the last ICCS in 2009. Significantly, 94 per cent of students agreed that men and women should have equal rights; 93 per cent of students in Europe thought that immigrant children should have the same opportunities for education as other children.

Jennifer Ulrick and Martin Henry represented EI at the event.

GEMR launch in Belgium

On 9 November, the Belgian launch of the 2017-8 GEM report entitled “Accountability in Education: Meeting out commitments” was hosted by Educaid in Brussels.

Presenting the key findings of the report, Dr Anna Cristina D’Addio, Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR) Senior Policy Analyst, said that the data showed that international progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 targets was mixed. For instance, less than one in five countries guarantee 12 years of free and compulsory education as per Target 4.1 on primary and secondary education; only 45 per cent of students complete upper secondary education; and more than half of all children do not have basic skills, rising to almost nine in 10 children in sub-Saharan Africa. In relation to Target 4.c on teachers, OECD data shows that teachers earn 81 per cent of the salaries of other workers with tertiary education.

While the GEMR also suggests that education is a shared responsibility, accountability must start with governments as they are responsible for fulfilling the right to education. The report advises governments how to design and implement a robust accountability system.

Jennifer Ulrick attended the launch on behalf of EI.

35th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in Switzerland

At the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Standing Committee meeting in Geneva, EI called for wider access and exceptions with regards to copyright in education. The call was made at the 35th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in Geneva from 13-17 November.

EI highlighted that many copyright regimes do not match the reality of education institutions and developing countries in particular lack access to materials. Despite the increasing awareness for the need for action, the SCCR could not agree on a draft action plan to move the education agenda forward with industrial countries opposed to a normative agenda for education.

The new draft action plan will be discussed next year, and EI has highlighted that it is important to work in a collective effort to pressure government to adopt an action plan. The new action plan should be transparent and inclusive and lead to broadening access to affordable materials and fewer barriers for collaboration across borders in education. For future work in these areas, it will be essential to have collective union action, to lobby national intellectual property offices as well as the EU Commission and to be more present in this global forum. If you are doing work on copyright and/or are interested in getting involved, please get in touch with Nikola Wachter ( Nikola.wachter@ei-ie.org), who participated in the event for EI.

UN 4th Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour in Argentina

A delegation of teacher union representatives from eight countries represented EI at the UN 4th Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour, held in Buenos Aires from 14-16 November. The conference was organised by the Government of Argentina and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The delegation showcased the area-based approach successfully implemented to eradicate child labour in Mali, Nicaragua, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

EI joined the larger workers’ effort to lobby conference stakeholders – governments, employers, civil society organisations, donor community – to commit to an empowering conference call to action to redouble efforts to end child labour by 2025 and forced labour by 2030, and to promote decent work amongst young people. Hillary Yuba and Noemi Tejeda from education unions in Zimbabwe and Argentina addressed the conference which hosted more than 3,000 people.

The Conference Declaration "recognises the importance of access to public, free, complete, universal, quality primary and secondary education, affordable, quality technical vocational and tertiary education and life-long learning, and of area-based and community interventions for eradicating child labour and forced labour". The Declaration also calls for "strengthening the capacity of public authorities, social partners, civil society and local communities". It outlines that "education systems should be inclusive and of quality and should assure that children, who are capable of forming their own views, and adults directly concerned, have the right to express their own views freely in all matters affecting them".

CERI meeting in France

The Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) held its meeting from 6-17 November in Paris, discussing events at ministerial level, such as the International Summit on the Teaching Profession, which highlights pedagogies for the future, teacher wellbeing, confidence and efficacy.

Participants also agreed that the OECD PISA and Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) help to examine different educational issues using multiple lenses, and noted that the education policy outlook will look at how student learning lies at the centre.

Upcoming events were debated, such as the Skills Summit, to be held from 20-28 June 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, and the TALIS Starting Strong study to be published in October 2019.

Participants learnt that equity is the proposed theme for the 2018 Education at a Glance study, focusing on socio-economic status, migration status, and a regional focus on disparity and gender.

“What are the main issues for data in education?” is the topic for the next Global Education Industry Summit.

Among other issues discussed were students’ creativity and critical thinking and innovative pedagogies for powerful learning.

Martin Henry attended the meeting on behalf of EI.

16 Days’ Campaign

The focus of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence 2017, held from 25 November-10 December, was on ending gender-based violence (GBV) in education by continuing the momentum and achievements built up over the past year. In 2017, more than 700 organisations in 92 countries voiced their support for the campaign goals.

Under the theme of‘Together We Can End GBV in Education!’,activists focused on the available human rights tools and framework in global advocacy for more effective laws, policies, and institutions that effectively prevent and address violence in and around educational settings.

Launched in 2016 the joint programme by EI and the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), ‘Education Unions Take Action to end School-related Gender-based Violence (SRGBV)’, also involves seven EI member organisations in five countries in east and southern Africa. It aims to enhance the unions’ and their members’ capacity to contribute to ending SRGBV.

‘Education Unions Speak!’, a series of podcasts, videos and blogs, further covers the personal change journeys of union members from some of the unions participating in the programme. These cover issues such as securing political will and mobilising support within the unions to make SRGBV a union priority, reaching out to communities, and creating new partnerships, all with the common aim of addressing and ending SRGBV.

The Global Working Group to End School-Related Gender-Based Violence, which EI is part of, also called on development actors, donors and governments to take the necessary key steps towards ending this issue. The call to action is available here.

Launch of refugee studies in Spain and Germany

Two studies on the integration of refugee children through education were launched simultaneously on 27 November in Bremen, Germany, and Madrid, Spain, showcasing the coordinated effort and determination of educators in Europe to stand up for those who need it most. The launch was coordinated by EI and its local affiliates, the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft and the Federación de Enseñanza CC.OO(F.E.CC.OO.).

In both countries, the reports consider the situation of refugee children and unaccompanied minors when it comes to their enrolment in and adaptation to their host countries’ school systems.

In Bremen, EI’s Martin Henry highlighted that an aligned strategy, in tune with the Refugee Convention of 1951 and the EU Reception Directive of 2013, were the right way to ensure the protection and integration of refugees.

In Spain, EI’s Dominique Marlet made a pledge for more and better funding of education systems – especially for those responsible for educating refugees. She underlined that teachers were often left alone to face the challenges posed by new students who needed individual attention and praised the participating unions for having created the necessary fabric to support their members.

The German report can be downloaded here. The Spanish report (in English) is available here.

4th meeting of the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning in Spain

The 4th meeting of the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML), hosted by the Office of International Education (OIE) in Madrid from 28-29 November, brought together representatives from numerous organisations to discuss the monitoring of learning in the SDG 4.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) initiated the meeting with updates from the Technical Cooperation Group (TCG) on SDG 4 related to the learning indicators, and informed the meeting on work done such as the 2017 survey on cross-national assessments and the experimental development of a composite indicator on children not learning.

The GAML taskforces presented the progress to date on constructing work strategies for developing the methodologies for the monitoring of indicators 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.6 and 4.7. The meeting reviewed and endorsed the interim measurement strategies proposed for 2018, as well as GAML’s recommendations to the TCG for longer term reporting. An investment case proposal was also developed for gaining funding for the monitoring of learning.

Jennifer Ulrick participated in the meeting on behalf of EI.

14th Meeting of the OECD Informal Working Group on Higher Education in France

The OECD Informal Working Group on Higher Education met for its 14th meeting on 4-5 December in Paris, to analyse the OECD’s Benchmarking report.

With respect to the in-depth analysis of labour market relevance and outcomes of higher education systems, the OECD secretariat announced that four US states had agreed to join the project (currently only Norway and Mexico are participating). The outcomes of the Stakeholder Forum on Higher Education held last September were also discussed.

EI was represented by Roberta Giaimo and Rob Copeland from the University and College Union/UK.

Development Cooperation Network meeting in Belgium

At the Development Cooperation Network in Brussels from 5-6 December, EI Education affiliates were encouraged to reflect on the sustainability and efficiency of their work.

EI Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst emphasised the significance of solidarity, a value that is based on a sense of equality and mutual support. She stressed the importance - and challenges - implicit in this approach, notably in terms of developing a cultural sensitivity for other partners. Cultural empathy leads to more efficiency in development cooperation, she said, and reinforces the collective weight and impact of trade union work.

Parallel workshops discussed topics ranging from child labour to the professional development of teachers in Africa, projects for the inclusion of refugees in schools, and the work carried out by unions to enhance unity of action in Africa.

In addition, the new website section for EI’s development cooperation work and a recently crafted newsletter were also presented.

Ongoing preparations for 3rd EI World Women’s Conference

Preparations have been ongoing for the 3rd EI World Women’s Conference, to be held from 5-7 February 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco. The conference theme is; “Finding a way ‘through the labyrinth’: Women, Unions, Education and Leadership”.

Researchers now to refer to the barriers facing women around leadership as ‘a complex labyrinth’ through which women must pass in order to take up leadership roles and positions. Multiple barriers, stops and starts form an indirect route to leadership and there is no guarantee that one woman’s success opens the doors for women coming after her.

This conference will offer a space for women leaders in EI member organisations to reflect on, share and fine-tune strategies across regions for advancing women’s leadership in unions and in education.

The following sub-themes will be discussed during the conference: Defining and Practicing Successful Leadership in Unions and in Education; Gender, Educational Leadership and Achieving SDG 4 by 2030; Gender, Power and Leadership in Unions and in Education; How can the Agenda 2030 prepare male and female students for dealing with the labyrinth?