Video conference held on “Teachers and Trainers for the Future: Towards the ‘New Normal’” within the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU

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A video conference on “Teachers and Trainers for the Future: Towards the ‘New Normal’” was held on 29 June 2020 within the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The conference was attended by more than a thousand participants from 43 countries, including education policy makers, teachers and trainers at all education levels, representatives of European institutions and associations as well as student representatives.

The conference was opened by the Croatian Minister of Science and Education, Prof. Blaženka Divjak, PhD, and the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Ms Mariya Gabriel.

The introductory speeches on the topic of challenges faced by teachers and trainers and changes in education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were held by Mr Andreas Schleicher from the OECD and Mr Pasi Sahlberg, an expert from the University of Sydney. 

The ministerial panel, moderated by Assistant Minister Lidija Kralj, included the following panelists: Croatian Minister Blaženka Divjak, French Minister of National Education and Youth Jean-Michel Blanquer, Swedish Minister for Education Anna Ekström, Czech Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Václav Velčovský and Ms Themis Christophidou, Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission.

The second part of the conference, organised in three thematic sessions, focused on the changes in the pedagogical context, the role of teachers and trainers, as well as the digital challenges of the ‘new normal’ in the area of higher education, general education and vocational education and training.

The first session, entitled ‘Pedagogy in virtual environment’, included the following participants: Ms Elvisa Sekulić (Primary School Zorka Sever, Popovača), Ms Päivi Nilivaara (Faculty of Education and Culture, Finland), Ms Hannah Grainger Clemson (DG EAC) and Ms Lília Maria Vicente (DG for School Administration of the Ministry of Education of Portugal).

The session entitled ‘Evolving roles of teachers and trainers in VET and AL’ was opened by Ms Irene Psifidou (CEDEFOP) and Mr Jari Laukia (Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences) who also participated as a panelist. The session also included Ms Eleonora Schmid (CEDEFOP), Ms Susan Flocken (ETUCE) and Ms Ann Vanden Bulcke (DG EMPL) as speakers.

In the third session entitled ‘University teachers in contemporary teaching and learning’, the following participants presented their topics: Mr Michael Gaebel (EUA), Ms Gohar Hovhannisyan (ESU), Ms Terry Maguire (National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Ireland) and Mr Ulf-Daniel Ehlers (Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University Karlsruhe).

The session was followed by an interesting and interactive presentation held by Mr Kevin Hawkins on the topic ‘Fostering the wellbeing of teachers and trainers’. The conference concluded with presenting the reports of the thematic sessions. 

All materials, the conference video and illustrations of the held presentations and discussions can be found on the official website of the conference: The conference was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. 

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