The EESC welcomes the Commission communication on how to improve teachers' initial studies and professional training and broadly agrees with its approach and thus wishes to make the following recommendations:
Teachers should be better prepared to deal with the social phenomena affecting their pupils (in particular, problems related to immigration, social discrimination, poverty and youth violence). To this end, teacher training should give more prominence to the fact that education is a tool for improving social cohesion and social and economic development and for training people to be active and committed and to respect cultural and environmental diversity. Teacher training should also help to create "inclusive" schools that are able to accommodate young people with special educational needs.
Initial teacher training should also be as long and as in-depth as possible. It should be of high quality in terms of academic content and of the educational/teaching content and also as regards the abilities to work as part of a team, to interact with other social stakeholders, in particular families, and to instil in their pupils the desire to learn.
Teachers should be given the time, space and resources needed to undertake ongoing training and to be actively involved in developing, planning and implementing such training. Ongoing training should also focus primarily on schools and on the specific aims of each school's educational project.
Ongoing teacher training in vocational and technological subjects should keep pace with technological developments and should take account of the new concerns facing society.
Given that in Europe, the teaching profession is today clearly ageing, it is crucial to make the teaching profession more attractive to young people.
In order to attract the most able people into teaching, it is important to provide attractive conditions for entering the profession and for career development, adequate pay and social recognition of the profession.
The introduction at EU level of education indicators, specific programmes to upgrade the teaching profession's profile and exchange of experience and information are other potentially worthwhile measures.