21 December 2011

EI co-organises second International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York, 14-15 March 2012

Together with the US Department of Education, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Asia Society, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), public broadcaster WNET, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), Education International will hold the second International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) in New York from 14-15 March 2012.

The theme of this year's Summit "Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders" was chosen based on feedback from the 2011 Summit, where the ground-breaking dialogue first started among ministers and teacher union leaders from sixteen top-performing countries and regions. This year’s sessions will examine how to improve teacher preparation and school leader development to better address the needs of 21st century learning environments and changing expectations.

The Summit last year also proved the necessity of fostering effective partnerships between teacher unions and education authorities to achieve quality education.

"Some believe that teachers unions are immovable stumbling blocks to reform, but the international picture tells a different story," wrote EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen in an op-ed dated 16 March 2011 co-written with Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education and Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General. "Many of the world's top-performing nations have strong teacher unions that work in tandem with local and national authorities to boost student achievement. In top-performing education systems like Finland, Singapore, and Ontario, Canada, teachers unions engage in reforms as partners in a joint quest to advance and accelerate learning."

Participants will again include small delegations comprised of education ministers, leaders of national teacher unions, and other teacher leaders from countries and regions with high-performing and rapidly-improving education systems. Countries and regions invited to participate include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Last year’s Summit was the first step in an on-going dialogue among countries and regions about the best way to achieve and sustain high-quality teaching and learning. Summit organizers, led by Asia Society, collaborated to produce a publication on key lessons from the 2011 Summit (http://asiasociety.org/files/lwtw-teachersummitreport0611.pdf). Host organisations will again compile effective practices shared during the 2012 Summit and publish a report in the weeks following the event.

Additional information including an agenda, background materials, and details on media access will be released closer to the Summit. For further information, visit the Summit's website (http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/teaching-summit-2012.html) or contact EI's Education & Employment Co-ordinator Harold Tor (harold.tor@ei-ie.org, tel:+32 (0)2 224 0632).