ETUCE: It is high time to improve the value of the teaching profession

Brussels, 27 June, 2014


ETUCE welcomes that the European Commission calls for actions as OECD  survey reveals that more than 80% of teachers in the EU feel undervalued.

Yesterday OECD presented the international Talis results on teaching and learning and the European Commission presented the outcomes of the survey concerning Europe. The survey is based on answers of teachers and school leaders of lower-secondary schools  in 34 countries, from which 19 countries are in Europe. Around 100.000 teachers answered worldwide, 55.000 in Europe.

Main results:

1.         Teachers love their jobs but 2/3rd of the teachers, mainly the European ones feel that the profession is undervalued in the society, it is not recognised and not supported. More than 80% of teachers in the EU feel undervalued.

2.         Teaching is a female profession (highest rates of female lower secondary school teachers are in  Latvia and Estonia – 90%, Italy – 80%), and 50% of school leaders in Europe are female. The early drop out can be the result of not finding man role models among the teachers.

3.         36% of EU teachers work in schools where there is a shortage of qualified and/or well-performing teachers (mainly concerns NL, RO, EE, UK-ENG, with FR, NL, HR, ES, EE reporting shortages of teachers for pupils with special needs), according to school leaders (principals).

4.         90% of the teachers said that they participated in continuous professional development (CPD) within 12 months before the survey. Continuous professional development of the European teachers focuses mostly on ICT use and curriculum development. The main obstacles of their attendance in CDP is lack of support and high price of training.

5.         While the teaching time in average is around 20 hours, working time of teachers is the highest in the UK (46), Portugal (45), and Italy has the lowest (30).

6.         Teachers are dissatisfied in their job not because of the size of the class, but because of behavioural problems of the students.

7.         38% of school leaders in Europe reported that there is no induction programme for novice teachers in their schools.

ETUCE, which represents 129 teachers trade unions in Europe, calls for urgent national actions as it is high time to improve the value of the teaching profession.

We suggest that the European Commission should take a more active role in this effort by building up its strategic objectives on education and training for 2015-2020 to focus on teachers. The European Commission should encourage governments to:

- Increase quality of education, particularly of teaching,  by sustainable funding;

- Ensure appropriate working time, workload, and salary for teachers to increase value of teaching in the society;

- Enhance effective social dialogue on education and training;

- Lower the shortage of qualified teachers in Europe;

- Increase the number and improve the quality of induction phase of novice teachers;

- Attract more male to the profession to achieve gender equality among the teachers;

- Allocate at least 10% of the work time of the teachers to continuous professional development, which should be supported by the school leaders, and financed by the school.




The European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) represents 132 Teacher Unions and 11 million teachers in all countries of Europe, 4.2 million teachers in the EU, from all levels of the education sector. ETUCE is a Social Partner in education at the EU level and a European Trade Union Federation within ETUC, the European Trade Union Confederation. ETUCE is the European Region of Education International, the global federation of teacher unions.

Phone : +32 (0)2 224 06 92