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Sectoral social dialogue - Education

Social partners

Employees' organisations Employers' organisations

ETUCE - European Trade Union Committee for Education


EFEE - European Federation of Education Employers

Social dialogue in this sector covers:

  • early childhood education
  • primary and secondary education
  • vocational education and training
  • higher education and research
  • teaching, management and administrative staff.

Between 2001-08, the proportion of GDP dedicated to education in the EU remained stable at around 5%, with considerable disparities between countries - some of which experienced significant changes during the period. Staff costs represent around 70% of annual education expenditure, covering some 15 million staff members. Most teachers at primary and secondary level are women (over 60%), but not in tertiary education. From the beginning of 2010, available figures suggest that the effects of the continuing recession have started to be felt in certain countries, local government areas, levels of education, types of schools (private schools dependent wholly or partly on student fees) and types of jobs (non-teaching).

The professional development of teachers and school heads is a key factor in ensuring successful outcomes for students. Efforts must be increased to attract more suitably qualified people to the profession and to combat the teacher shortages that may face many European countries in the future.

Focus areas

The Committee is currently focusing on:

  • Joint lobbying to modernise the Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC)
  • quality in education, including a joint project on self-evaluation of schools & teachers as for a way of identifying future professional needs
  • demographic challenges, including a joint project on recruitment and retention in education
  • higher education and research
  • a joint project launching a feasibility study for a European Skill Council for the education sector
  • work-related stress, violence and harassment
  • promotion of social dialogue, notably at national level
  • lifelong learning; public/private developments in education.

Activities and meetings

Check the library entries for this sectoral social dialogue committee.


  • Investing in the future. A joint declaration on education, training and research (2011)
  • Joint guidelines on trans-regional cooperation in lifelong learning among education stakeholders (2011)
  • EFEE and ETUCE are signatories of the Multi-sectoral guidelines to tackle third-party violence and harassment related to work (2010)

See also "European sectoral social dialogue – recent developments" (2010 brochure).