Minister of Education and Research of Estonia Liina Kersna participated in the 12th International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP), organised by the OECD, Education International and the Spanish Ministry of Education, in Valencia, Spain, on 11-13 May. The aim of the ISTP was to discuss cooperation between states and teacher's unions and find solutions for the development of the teaching profession.
The central theme of this year's summit was "Moving forward after the pandemic: governments and teachers' unions: working together to leave no-one behind".
During the visit, Education and Research Minister Liina Kersna discussed education cooperation with Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at the OECD and thanked him for his evidence-based messages that helped to keep schools open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Kersna met for the first time with Finnish Education Minister Li Andersson, with whom she discussed levelling learning gaps, supporting children's mental health and integrating Ukrainian refugees into the local education systems. Ministers also discussed how to ensure flexible opportunities for teachers in kindergartens and schools who do not have the necessary qualifications to aquire them while working.
At the meeting, education ministers, national representatives and representatives of teacher's unions discussed the development of the teaching profession and presented promises to move the sector forward in the coming year. As a result of the discussion with the Estonian teacher's unions, Estonia formulated three commitments to be presented at the next summit: the creation of a career model for school leaders and teachers to ensure the sustainability of the teaching profession; support for the mental health of war refugees from Ukraine and their inclusion in the school system, as well as focusing on the Ukrainian language and culture; and work towards raising teachers' salaries and sustainable funding for higher education.
During the visit, the Minister also visited the local secondary and vocational school IES El Cabanya.
Together with Minister Liina Kersna, the Estonian delegation in Valencia included Reemo Voltri, Chairman of the Estonian Education Workers' Union; Ants Koel; Chairman of the UNIVERSITAS, Association of Trade Unions of Estonian Higher Education; and Urmo Uiboleht, Chairman of the Estonian Association of School Leaders.
The International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) took place for the 12th time. The Summit invites the world's top and potential top countries in education, based on international surveys to discuss the development, issues and future prospects of teaching profession. In 2019, the Summit was held in Finland, and in 2020 and last year, due to a pandemic, it was held virtually.