Some teachers kick a ball or play at Blue Peter; others are exemplary pedagogical practitioners of the cerebral kind. But hitherto, their training and professional development has been monitored and controlled by various agencies ultimately accountable to the British Government and to Parliament. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
(6 August 2007), the European Commission has expressed concern at what it says are severe gaps in the training and education of teachers in the EU. Their knowledge is ‘out of date’ and ‘inadequate’, for instance where the use of computers or their knowledge of language is concerned. The Commission has therefore suggested improvements to the teacher training programmes across the Union. The Education commissar in Brussels, Jan Figel, said that high levels of education were the key to Europe’s future competitivity (sic) and that highly-qualified teaching staff were necessary so that the European educational system could be successfully reformed. Mr Figer pointed out that ongoing training of teachers was the rule only in eleven Member States. Nowhere does this training consist of more than five days per year and in most cases fewer than twenty hours a year are set aside for teacher training. This is, apparently, insufficient.
Not content with infiltrating the curriculum
of pupils, the EU is intent on manipulating the training of those who deliver it. The use of the ‘competitivity’ argument to justify Commission interference in an area which is obviously the preserve of the member states is an example of how the Commission will always find a way to extend its powers.
Along with today's Times
, Cranmer demands a referendum on this whole EU project. It has gone too far.