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Teachers and schools are the cornerstones of the JA education programmes

Sophie Norman, Head of Policy and Communications

Earlier last month, the outgoing European Commissioner for Education Tibor Navracsics convened the 2nd European Education Summit. Attended by 160 European teachers, more than 20 European education Ministers and about 700 education experts, this second edition was dedicated to the teaching profession.

At JA Europe, we are convinced that none of our projects could happen without the dedication and commitment of teachers throughout Europe. None of the 4.2 million students would have had a hands-on experience at school last year. None of the 500,000 students would have participated in the JA Company Programme and created their mini-companies.

It is thanks to teachers, their thirst to upskill themselves and their understanding of the need to bring more innovation into the classroom, that students are offered the opportunity to build a start-up, attend idea-generation innovation camps and in effect have a practical entrepreneurial experience before leaving school that prepares young people for employment and entrepreneurship. Every year, more and more teachers take part in our trainings to include entrepreneurship education as part of their activities.

Education is a national prerogative, so what is the role of the EU in that matter?

Unlike many areas, education is not a competence of the European Union. So what can we do about education at the EU level? As the Education Commissioner very nicely put it, we have an opportunity to define ambitious standards, to inspire each other and guide action at national level. For example, EU Member States have joint targets in basic skills such as reading, maths and science. While there is still a lot of progress to be made, these ambitious, common goals as inspirations to look up to and motivations for government to select the right tools to reach these objectives. It was also very stimulating to see the teachers take the opportunity of the Summit to share stories, ideas and solutions. Such international fora and ecosystems, also provided by networks and organisations such as European Schoolnet, JA Europe’s EE-HUB, Teach For All or Cedefop make a huge impact in accelerating sharing, often faster than education systems themselves.

“The world’s most beautiful job”, yet getting so little recognition

Several recent pieces of research, as well as a survey made amongst participants of the European Education Summit reached the same conclusion: teachers get increasingly less recognition despite rising expectations. As interest in the teaching profession is declining, certain European countries are already or will soon be, facing a shortage of qualified teachers. In most European countries, the teaching profession has lost much of its capacity to attract the best candidates. Among the main reasons: decline of the prestige associated with the teaching profession, deterioration of working conditions and relatively low salaries compared with other intellectual professions. Not all is gloom and doom– despite the lack of recognition, the attendees of the European Education Summit said that they would be proud if their children became teachers as well.

Time to celebrate teachers and entrepreneurial schools in Europe!

We are fully convinced that schools and teachers are the cornerstones of the education systems. As we want to recognize their roles and contributions to supporting young Europeans to become knowledgeable, active and engaged citizens, we created back in 2015 The Entrepreneurial School Awards. This yearly celebration is a recognition of the outstanding primary and secondary schools championing entrepreneurship education throughout Europe.

In Helsinki on 16 October 2019, during the upcoming European Vocational Skills Week, we will recognize 34 entrepreneurial (academic and vocational) schools across Europe for their entrepreneurial vision and outstanding implementation of entrepreneurship education programmes.

Without these 34 schools, and the other 45,580 schools that have implemented last year one of our programmes, we would not have been able to give such enriching experiences to the students and help them become more responsible, active citizens ready for the future of work.

Category : Entrepreneurship Education Posted : 14 October 2019 09:33 UTC
About the Author
Sophie Norman, Head of Policy and Communications

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