INITIAL MEETING OF THE TEACHER TRAINING NETWORK FOR SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE (SEE TT NETWORK)
The Initial Meeting of the Teacher Training Network for South East Europe was jointly organized by the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) and the European Training Foundation (ETF). It gathered 22 participants (full list attached as annex 1), composed of representatives of bodies in charge of education and training of teachers and ministries for education from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia.
The meeting was led by Director of the ERI SEE Secretariat Ms Tina Šarić and Mr Julian Stanley, ETF specialist in the subject of VET Teachers and Trainers.
Ms Šarić welcomed the participants and opened the meeting with a brief introduction on ERI SEE, its role and spheres of action. She stressed the day’s objectives, emphasizing the importance of open discussions and sharing of practices among participants. In his opening address, Mr Stanley also encouraged participants to sharing, not only among countries but between experts from general and VET sectors. Ms Todorović, assistant Director of the Institute for advancement of education of Republic of Serbia also welcomed all participants.
In the first session representatives of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia gave their input on the system of teacher education and training and current reforms, as well as their strong and weak areas. More information can be found in the presentations attached to these minutes.
After that, in the second session, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia presented their systems and reforms. Detailed information can be found in the presentations attached.
In the afternoon session, Mr Albert Sese-Ballart from the European Commission addressed the participants. He stressed that teacher training was the heart of any reform and that the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans was one of their priorities. Mr Sese Ballart presented some of the programmes of the European Union from which the Western Balkans countries could benefit such as the Erasmus + programme. He stated that 70 % of all the mobilities that took place were from the Balkans to the EU and 30% vice versa.
The key actions are increasing mobility, capacity building and changing views of policy makers – peer to peer learning.
Mr Sese Ballart mentioned two important networks for teachers
The E-twinning network for school teachers
The School Education Network
He stressed the importance of regional cooperation, establishing standards and upgrading the conditions for teachers by listening to their needs, introducing a merit-based salary structure, rooting out corruption and increasing the mobility of teachers.
The European Union is opening 2 new tools in the region:
SELFIE- on school level, evaluation on digital skills
HEINNOVATE for entrepreneurial skills
Mr Julian Stanley from the ETF held a presentation about the findings from the ETF report. Six of the countries have national accreditations of continuous professional development (CPD) programmes. There are certain norms, a number of hours which teachers need to achieve, however this is not a guarantee of quality. Teachers were consumers of CPD and not the shapers and should be more actively involved. CPD needs to be incorporated into the system.
The participants worked in groups on the identifications of key topics that are relevant for all of them.
The conclusions were presented:
As the joint areas of interest – priorities – in the area of teacher training, the following topics are the identified
Quality of programs – the accreditation process and the flexibility of programs should be adjusted.
Quality of trainers
Effects of CPD – Monitoring what happens after the training.
Legitimize other forms of CPD – school to school visit, non-catalogue courses
The participants confirmed their interest in the continuation of regional activities, and recognized potential common areas of regional cooperation:
Training of trainers
Montenegro has established a successful system of training of trainers and offered to host such a course on regional level.
Harmonizing the needs of teachers with the actual offer
Measuring the impact of the trainings – the example of Serbia could be used, in the form of presentations and seminars, “learnt in seminar, applied in practice”.
Digitalization – there is a need for improving digitalization. Croatia has offered to share their experiences how to use on-line tools such as moodle trainings and concepts.
On–line database of courses and participants
All participants agreed regional cooperation can benefit their national developments, and that there is a need and possibilities for continuing meeting in a format of seminars or study visits within the region, keeping the dynamics of meetings held twice a year and on-line communication and exchanges in the meantime. Preliminary agreement was that the next regional meeting of this group would be held in Podgorica, Montenegro, in the first part of 2019, focusing on the subject of training of trainers and study visit to the Montenegrin Centre for teacher education.
Both Ms Šarić and Mr Julian Stanley stated they would like to include such activities in annual plans of their institutions respectively.