Within the framework of the cooperation project of ESFTUG and the Danish National Union of Upper Secondary School Teachers (GL), six Georgian teachers experienced social partnership of the Danish education system, trade unions and decision-makers, characteristics of European cooperation and the results of social dialogue.
From the assessments of the teachers participating in the exchange program:
“Social relationships are built on mutual respect, support and recognition; we witnessed this at every step. People are attentive to each other... ”
“Social responsibility and law-abiding are taught in families. It is noteworthy that these skills are taught in primary school… Danish people are characterized by high responsibility, punctuality, time-efficiency, every step is planned in advance with minute accuracy... ”
“Education system is sustainable, stable and development-oriented. Every new decision-maker is obliged to continue the previously planned, elaborated course and to further develop as needed... ”
Representatives of GL presented to the guests information on Danish education policies and challenges, Danish teachers' working conditions.
GL follows an old Chinese proverb:
“When The Winds of Change Blow, Some People Build Walls, Others Build Windmills”
Open dialogue between trade unions and the ministry has a long history. 2-3 times a year social partners, trade unions and the Ministry of Education jointly organize conferences with the participation of teachers, school administrations, professional associations and other interested parties.
Danish National Union of Upper Secondary School Teachers (GL) represents 95% of upper secondary level teachers. These teachers have masters’ degrees and teach at least two subjects.
The unity and multiplicity of members enable GL to be active, effective and engage with teachers in open discussions with decision makers. GL works closely with teacher professional associations working on the professional development component. It is noteworthy that teachers are united in more than two professional associations along with the trade union.
GL’s motto is: “We stand on our own feet.”
- Advocating for teacher salaries and working conditions;
- Effective mechanisms for influencing education policy;
- GL prepares applications and visions in response to current processes and developments, providing members with educational policy seminars.
- GL is involved in legislative drafting, committee hearings and advocacy. Works closely with the school principals in a dialogue format.
- GL, as an institution, is constantly evolving to strengthen its impacts by informing and mobilizing employees. GL's strength is in its multiplicity, with its finite fund of 100 million Euros.
The partnership between GL and the upper secondary level students’ union, which unites student self-governments, is also interesting. Due to their recent campaigns, the schools are no longer obliged to decrease their budget by 2% every year. The cooperation of the Danish organizations, also the efficiency of their youth organizations is truly impressive.
- The main aim for GL is for schools to be attractive for students and for teachers to be acknowledged for the hard work and time they spend on making high-quality lessons.
It is worth noting that the Danish upper secondary schools are independent, self governed institutions which are financed by the government and are free to divide their budget by need.
- GL assists schools with the programs and methodological resources needed for development.
- GL union leaders negotiate about teachers’ workload and pay. Teachers receive legal advices and methodological resources.
- The result of negotiations is that strikes practically don’t take place in Denmark. Since secondary schools in Denmark are fully decentralized, trade union leaders are actively involved in the negotiation, school governance and student self-government to ensure a collaborative student-teacher environment.
The host organization, GL, convened early, preschool and vocational education professionals from the Danish education trade unions at a meeting with the Georgian delegation. These meetings presented the Georgian delegation with a unified picture of the education system, based on the concept of "lifelong learning."