Teaching in Europe

Eurydice has published a new report about the teaching profession in lower secondary schools (approximately ages 12-15) in Europe. It uses the findings of the the 2013 OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and Eurydice and Eurostat data on the 28 EU Member States, and seven other European countries. In all, 40 different education systems (including England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland), and around two million teachers were included.
The extensive report examines five areas considered important for policy: (1) demographics and working conditions; (2) initial teacher education and the transition to the teaching profession; (3) continuing professional development; (4) transnational mobility; and (5) attractiveness of the profession.
Findings include:
  • A degree is the minimum entry level for teacher training programmes in 15 countries, and 17 countries require a Master’s;
  • The minimum length of initial teacher training is usually between four and six years;
  • Within the EU, 91.2% of teachers have completed an initial teacher training programme;
  • Teaching time is contractually specified in 35 education systems. The majority of countries also centrally regulate the total working time of teachers, which averages 39 hours a week;
  • On average, teaching time constitutes 44% of a teacher’s total working time. England, Estonia, Sweden, Wales, and Northern Ireland are the only education systems that do not contractually specify the number of teaching hours;
  • In 29 education systems CPD is a “professional duty”, although around a third of these (including England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) do not specify how much time should be spent);
  • Incentives to participate in CPD exist in almost two-thirds of the education systems surveyed; and
  • In general, teachers are satisfied or very satisfied with their profession but consider that society does not value it.
Source: The Teaching Profession in Europe: Practices, Perceptions, and Policies (2015), Eurydice.

Citizenship education in Europe

This report from the Eurydice network summarises how policies and measures relating to citizenship education have evolved in recent years. Citizenship education has gained prominence in teaching across Europe, with 20 of the 31 countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Croatia, and Turkey) dedicating a separate compulsory subject to its teaching.

The report focusses in particular on curriculum aims and organisation; student and parent participation in schools; school culture and student participation in society; assessment and evaluation; and support for teachers and school heads.

Citizenship features on the curriculum in all countries, but the authors say that more needs to be done to improve teachers’ knowledge and skills for teaching it. In general, citizenship education is integrated into initial teacher training courses for secondary education in subjects such as history and geography, but only England and Slovakia offer training as a specialist teacher in citizenship education.

Source: Citizenship education in Europe (2012), Eurydice

Entrepreneurship education in European schools

Europe faces a number of challenges that can only be met if it has innovative, well-educated, and entrepreneurial citizens, according to the Eurydice Network, which surveyed entrepreneurship studies in primary and secondary education in 31 European countries. Their analysis is divided into four areas:

  • National strategies and action plans to encourage the integration of entrepreneurship education;
  • How entrepreneurship education is currently being addressed;
  • Specific learning outcomes defined for entrepreneurship education and practical guidelines to support teachers; and
  • Initiatives to promote entrepreneurship education and current educational reforms on the subject.

The results of the survey show that two-thirds of European countries incorporate entrepreneurship education into the curriculum at primary education level, but that this changes significantly in secondary education, where virtually all countries integrate it into the curriculum in some form.

Source: Entrepreneurship education at school in Europe: National strategies, curricula and learning outcomes (2012), Eurydice