The role of ENTEP
The European Network on Teacher Education Policies (ENTEP) was formally launched at an international conference under the Portuguese Presidency, held in Loulé (Algarve) on May 22-23, 2000. At the first meeting of the Ministers’ Representatives and of the European Commission on May 21, ENTEP was constituted with Prof. Bártolo Paiva Campos in the chair, and the General Framework of the Network was agreed on.
The Network goes back on a proposal put forward in July 1999 by the Portuguese Minister of Education to his Colleagues in the European Union Member States inviting them to jointly establish such a Network, with the main purpose of developing the political dimension of teacher education in Europe involving all relevant players.
Ministers of Education of fourteen European Union Member States (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom) and the European Commission joined this initiative and appointed their representatives. Luxembourg joined a little later, and in 2003 the ten new member states were also invited to join the network.
ENTEP exists to promote co-operation among European Union Member States regarding their teacher education policies in relation to initial, in-service and continuous professional development programmes, in order to:
Develop opportunities to learn from each other by analysing and comparing policies and issues, as well as by sharing good practices;
Promote the discussion and analysis of teacher education policies initiatives taken at national and European level;
Raising teacher education quality so as, in turn, to raise the quality of education and training in the European Union in a way which responds to the challenges of lifelong learning in a knowledge-based society;
Developing a European dimension of education, and other elements which could be common in teacher education programmes;
Improving the public image of the teaching profession;
Improving mutual trust in the teaching qualifications awarded by Member States;
Promoting teacher mobility in the European Union.
ENTEP develops its activities in the field of teacher education policies, but it is neither a decision group nor an expert group. It is an advisory group or reference group that acts as a sounding board for the European Commission and individual member states. The group has a wide range of expertise and professional experience and acts at both of the following levels:
At the European level
It promotes the exchange of information about recent issues, trends and policies in the European Union Member States for mutual inspiration;
It addresses issues of common concern;
It works on the construction of convergences;
It participates in ongoing community work.
Within the Member States
It contributes to a European perspective of the debate on teacher education policies;
It contributes to policy and decision-making concerning teacher education policies.
They are representatives of the Ministers of Education or of the European Commission;
They work on or are linked to teacher education policy making;
Generally there is one representative. Some Member States decide to send two representatives based on the differentiation between initial and in-service teacher education or primary and secondary education or different ethnic groups;
Representatives should represent their country for a period of at least two years to ensure continuity. There should also be a substitute.
In addition to their individual work, the ENTEP members work in general meetings which involve all network representatives and, between meetings, sometimes in smaller working groups.
The official language used is English.
The meetings last at least one day, they are organised in plenary sessions and in small group sessions, where there is the opportunity to debate and analyse relevant issues of teacher education policies;
The meetings are to be preceded by appropriate levels of preparation (i.e. state of the art studies, well chosen themes, etc).