“The role of teachers and school heads in improving the status of VET” public hearing was organized jointly by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE). On the occasion of the second European Vocational Skills Week, the European Social Partners in Education, EFEE and ETUCE, have wished to promote, through this event, the role of the education social partners in improving the quality of VET and apprenticeship systems across Europe.

Social dialogue in education

The first panel has addressed the extent to which social dialogue in education is effective in contributing to the improvement of the status of VET. In so doing, Tatiana Babrauskiene, from FLESTU in Lithuania, has stressed that two main aspects should be dealt with: a change in the generational pension system and an emphasis on the continuous professional development of teachers, reinforced by EU budget. On the other hand, Dirk Debroey has emphasized that the main challenge in current VET is the promotion of apprentices, where the triangle schools-enterprises-teachers stands out. The major problem lies in the fact that, even though there is a very well-developed VET system, there is still a gap between VET education and general education and this is a social gap.

Further actions

Secondly, the event has discussed further actions that the European Union should be taking. Juan Stanley, from the European Training Foundation, has stated that in many schools, there is a lack of autonomy and ambition on the part of teachers. Thus, responsibilities must be transferred to these. In addition, he has claimed that there is an issue of recruitment, since the process is not truly professional. For instance, political factors intervene, which is damaging in the long run for the performance of schools. Last but not least, he has pointed out another major issue: although there are many educational tools, most of them are not linked to the practice of instruction.

Conclusions

Finally, Moriarty (EFEE President) and Blower (ETUCE President) have drawn the following conclusions:

  • There should be a focus on improving the quality of VET institutions to enhance learning environments that are free of gender stereotypes for stands and work environments for teachers, trainers and school leaders;
  • There should be a concrete promotion for the involvement of social partners in the development of high quality apprenticeships and work-based learning schemes;
  • Thirdly, particular attention should be paid to promote further investment in the VET systems in particular to teaching, workshops and equipment of VET institutes to keep up with technical developments;
  • Finally, there should be an enhancement of the professional technical training and upskilling of VET teachers, trainers and school leaders.

Reported by Danel Ocio