Education unions and government set out key priorities at international summit

An Irish delegation led by Minister of State Thomas Byrne TD, including the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), the Chief Inspector and the Department of Education attended the recently convened International Summit on the Teaching Profession, in Singapore.

The annual summit organised by Education International, and the OECD provided an opportunity for delegates from 19 of the world’s highest performing education systems to engage on key educational issues.

The Irish delegation adopted a range of priorities for Irish education arising from the conference, which facilitated a broad understanding of the challenges facing education systems globally. The Irish delegation agreed that the development of future-ready competencies ‘front and centre’ across our curriculum specifications for early years, primary and post-primary education is necessary, but not in itself sufficient, to achieve the desired development of future-ready competencies in students.

The Irish delegation further committed to the following areas of work with regards to the conference themes.

Facilitating the development of future-ready competencies in students

The delegation set out that Ireland will continue to invest in quality and timely teacher professional learning to support teachers and school leaders in developing future-ready competencies and using assessment effectively as part of teaching and learning.

Role of technology in transforming education and vocational training

The delegation affirmed that technology must complement, and augment supports for learners that meet their needs. We will ensure that we can harness the potential benefits of digital technologies, while also safeguarding against risks that may arise.

Partnerships to support learning for life

The delegation agreed to maximise learning for all children and young people by continuing to adopt a collaborative, partnership approach. Such an approach ensures that learning is not restricted to the boundaries of classroom walls, and it supports high quality individual and collaborative learning experiences that support lifelong learning for all.

Delegation leader Minister Byrne submitted a detailed document, drafted by the Irish delegation, elaborating on the commitments outlined above. This report will be published in the final report for the summit which is expected to issue in July.

Speaking from the summit in Singapore, INTO General Secretary John Boyle said:

I want to thank the Minister for Education for facilitating Ireland’s participation in ISTP 2024. Irish primary education is held in high regard globally, with several delegations seeking to engage with and learn from the Irish delegation. In sharing our experience and learning from other countries, we were able to adopt several shared priorities to enhance our education system for the next generation of pupils.

Ireland’s investment in education is lagging behind our OECD comparators and it is clear we need to see further investment in our education system in the coming years. As teacher unions we will work to hold the government to its word and campaign to realise the commitments adopted this week. I urge the Department of Education to attend this summit every year to ensure Ireland’s voice in global discussions around quality education is consistently heard.