Trade Union Advisory Committee on Education to the OECD, May 2024

The TUAC Working Group on Education and Skills convened at the OECD headquarters in Paris on May 22 and 23. The meeting had a fairly extensive agenda which included updates from the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills and the Centre for Skills, highlighting the past year's achievements and outlining the Directorate's main priorities for the upcoming biennium.  These priorities have been heavily influenced by those participating on the committee.  

IFUT was represented by our General Secretary and Assistant General Secretary, Rob McNamara, at this important gathering. Trade unions present used the opportunity to share updates from other OECD working party meetings and to discuss education policy developments and issues from their respective countries. Additionally, we were briefed on key discussions from the  International Summit of the Teaching Profession 2024: Reimagining Education, Realising Potential ( held this year in Singapore. 

A significant portion of the meeting was dedicated to discussing the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) on skills and adult learning. This discussion was informed by OECD research and publications, which are accessible here: OECD Artificial Intelligence Papers | OECD iLibrary ( . We examined occupations highly exposed to AI and explored its potential benefits, even considering whether AI could drive a shift from a five-day to a four-day working week. 

Finally, the OECD held the second edition of OECD Local Skills Week on 25-27 June. The event focusd on the challenges and opportunities that the green and digital twin transition will bring for workers and firms in all communities. You can find more information on the programme and register to attend any of the sessions here

The TUAC Working Group is chaired by Larry Flannagan, former General Secretary of the Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) and a long-time friend of IFUT. The Group meets biannually in May and November, with participation from all four Irish teaching unions and unions from across the OECD countries. The annual "Education at a Glance", produced by the OECD, report is widely regarded as the authoritative source for data that can be relied on for identifying trends and for conducting comparative exercises across our sector. 

The IFUT head office can provide any interested members with minutes, reports, etc, of the work of this group on request.