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LLLP launches its Annual Theme 2024: 21st century challenges for the teaching profession; a call for system change

The Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP) addresses forward-looking issues in the field of education and training on an annual basis. This year’s theme will be explored during different events and meetings at the crossroad between the Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies of the Council of the EU, while ensuring that the 2024 Annual Theme takes a strong stance on one of the overlooked professions of our societies:



In 2019, after long advocacy from education and training stakeholders, including civil society and social partners, the European Commission responded by dedicating the 2019 Education and Training Monitor to the teaching profession. The Monitor recognised the grave teaching shortages across the EU, including those subject-specific. It also considered the training requirements for teachers in a period where the composition of the classroom, the curricula and learners’ needs were changing. It concluded with reflections on the working conditions and career prospects for the profession1. A profession under pressure, just when EU institutions started to recognise this, was plunged into the COVID-19 lockdown and the era of online learning and teaching. As teachers were acclaimed for their work in maintaining the education and training systems, societies became increasingly aware of the lack of funding in the sector, the devalued teaching profession and witnessed the toll the pandemic took on educators specifically2.


In 2024, LLLPlatform will dedicate its advocacy efforts on the educators considering how ever since 2019, their situation, in fact, worsened. In 2018, Eurostat was reporting that 40% of the primary and secondary education teachers are over the age of 503, and, given the demographic changes identified with the EU’s Harnessing Talent in Europe’s Regions Communication, this is bound to worsen since recruitment and retention of young professionals is not yielding positive results. Out of 43 education and training systems studied by a Eurydice report, 35 suffered from teacher shortages and/or oversupply (especially regional and subject-specific oversupply4). In Flanders, the school year 2023 started with an additional 19.000 teachers but still suffered from shortages due to the increasing numbers of pupils5. In England almost 9% of the teaching profession quit before retirement in 20226. Over 2022, there were 4.000 vacant teaching roles in France while the shortage will reach 25.000 by 2025 in Germany and 30.000 by 2030 in Portugal.


The shortages are, nevertheless, only one issue to be explored. The societal perspective over educators and the value they receive in terms of remuneration will also be explored. Over half of educators and principals active are displeased with their wages, only 26% believe their profession is valued adequately in society and approximately half consider the increasing administrative workload to be the main cause of stress7. The profession continues to have entry salaries at a ratio below 1.5 to minimum wage in Hungary, Greece, Romania, Poland, France, Slovakia, Serbia and Albania, with the average in the EU being 1.86 ratio compared to the minimum wage. The Annual Theme will consider the recent trends related to the progression, such as increased violence in the workplace with heinous crimes being committed in France against teachers, with attacks against teachers taking place in 25% of German schools8. The insufficient investment in education and training will also be invariably approached considering how it leads to the privatisation of a public good, to educators lacking resources to engage in training and mobility, and to further pressures on educators (increased workload, bigger classrooms, overcrowded curricula) among others. To no surprise, the past year saw strikes in education sectors in Romania (the biggest in modern history), Portugal, Hungary, and England (the biggest in a decade). This situation does not even account for the lack of recognition provided to all educators that are not teachers. 


Through this annual theme and related research, LLLP wishes on the one hand to explore the origins of perception of the educator profession and of the inadequate investment which lead to the aforementioned challenges and many others. On the other hand it wishes to identify how the European Education Area, and its specific priority on educators, can be strengthened to support Member States in revaluing and supporting the teaching profession. The Annual Theme will spotlight the educators, their needs, their wellbeing, their passion, their innovation but will mostly emphasise that learning is an ecosystem, of which educators are one part only. The responsibility for learning falls on all stakeholders to support the educators to guide learners.


Sub-topics 

Enabling environment for education and training professionals (teachers, educators, trainers, mentors, counsellors, guidance professionals, tutors, facilitators, etc)


  • The system they live in and grow  

  • Educators’ wellbeing

  • Relations with learners and other stakeholders

  • Distributed leadership: empowering educators

  • The tools they work with and what for

  • Teaching skills and competence

  • ICT

  • Innovative pedagogies and teaching key competences

  • Recognition

  • Funding the educators

  • Remuneration

  • Resources

  • Who is responsible for funding: education as a public good


Want to participate in the definition of LLLP’s position? Get in touch with us at policy@lllplatform.eu .


 
  1. European Commission (2019). Education and Training Monitor 2019, here. European Commission (2023). Education and Training Monitor 2023, here.

  2. Education International (2021). Education research in the spotlight: COVID-19 recovery and the status of teachers in 2021, here.

  3. Eurostat (2020). Teachers in the EU, here.

  4. Eurydice (2021).Teachers in Europe Careers, Development and Well-being, here.

  5. L. Walker (2023). Teacher shortages persist despite record number of newcomers, here.

  6. R. Adams (2023). Record numbers of teachers in England quitting profession, figures show, here.

  7. OECD (2018). TALIS 2018 Results, here.

  8. A. Pearson (2018). Teachers attacked at 1 in 4 German schools, here.