Framework of ENTEP
In recent years, co-operation among European Union Member States in the field on teacher education has been developing with the support of several Community programmes and instruments, in particular the Socrates programme. This co-operation focuses mainly on teacher education providers and the teachers themselves. The establishment of the European Network on Teacher Education Policies aims to reinforce this, and to develop the political dimension involving all relevant agencies.
This initiative derives from a proposal put forward in July 1999 by the Portuguese Minister of Education to his Colleagues in the European Union Member States. This invited them to consider whether they would be interested in the establishment of such a Network, to be launched under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, during the first semester of 2000.
Currently, Ministers of Education of thirteen European Union Member States have joined this initiative (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom) and appointed their representatives to work on establishing the Network. The European Commission guaranteed that adequate follow-up of this Network will be organised.
These representatives of the Ministers of Education, who have come together for their first meeting on May 21 in Loulé, Portugal, have agreed on the following:
I. Network membership
Representatives of the Ministers of Education of the European Union Member States and a representative of the European Commission constitute the European Network on Teacher Education Policies (ENTEP).
II. Network goals
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.
III. Network activities
1. To attain its goals, the ministerial representatives will meet regularly and develop several kinds of activities, such as:
The organisation of conferences/seminars for open discussion and sharing knowledge on the basis of written and oral presentations related to specific challenges and issues on teacher education policies;
The organisation of exchanges and study visits for teacher education policy-makers
The production of reports describing, comparing and analysing the present situation and future trends of teacher education policies, globally or regarding specific aspects;
The regular and systematic exchange of information, policy documents, consultation proposals, and other materials relevant to the development of teacher education policy (especially unresolved questions where collective discussion would be beneficial);
The stimulation, development of, and experimentation with innovative forms of networking and information transfer.
2. The Network will endeavour to involve other European countries in its activities.
3. In Annex I are listed some of the issues that may be considered by network activities.
IV. Network organisation
1. During an initial period the network will define its own organisation and functioning and promote its first initiatives.
2. During this initial period the network will be coordinated by Portugal with the support of the Member States holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union within this period.
3. A meeting of the network will be held at least once a year.
Some issues for possible consideration under the network
New challenges to the professional teacher profile (the ability: to ensure all school pupils, including those from disadvantaged groups, achieve their potential; to deal with the problems arising from the presence of pupils with different cultural backgrounds; to make use of research in teaching; to play a full part in whole school activities and in self-evaluation, in order to facilitate its continuous improvement and development; to be prepared for solving pedagogical problems and for theory-guided teaching; to know how to use information and communication technologies in teaching; and to take account of the European dimension of education in their teaching...)
Shortage of teacher education candidates, or of good candidates (attraction of enough good students into teaching; improvement of their recruitment; competition between the teaching profession and other professions for the most talented individuals...)
Higher education and school partnerships (the development of work- ing partnerships between teacher education institutions and primary and secondary schools and the encouragement of good schools to participate in these; school research-based teacher education...)
Continuous teacher education systems (promotion of the lifelong learning perspective in professional teacher education and development; articulation in a coherent system of initial, induction, in-service and further teacher education; linking continuous teacher professional development with school improvement and quality assurance and with school-based educational research...)
Teacher education and teacher career advancement (the promotion of relevant in-service teacher education to help teachers handle the ever-changing teaching problems with which they are confronted, and overcome gaps between learning goals and students achievement; the links between in-service training and specialised functions in schools to aid career progression; the assessment and accreditation of teacher competencies...)
Obstacles to teacher mobility caused by teacher education (the obstacles to the mutual recognition of teacher education professional periods of study and diplomas relying on differences in teacher education programmes, on their approval/professional accreditation methods and on the ways qualified teacher status is certified...)
Issues concerning equal opportunities, including gender and ethnic differences in teacher education and teachers’ work, and the composition of the teaching force.
Research and graduate studies related to teacher education and teachers’ work.