We were introduced to the educational systems in the Netherlands, UK, to the Finnish educational system, to the education in Norway and in Canada, in Singapore and Japan and in the Seychelles.
Most of these systems were already known to us, we expected more insight and a more practical and experience-based approach, something that we cannot find on the internet, something of understandably more expertise. On the other hand, the audience took care of themselves and started discussing each other’s educational systems, their pros and cons and that proved to be extremely useful since certain tabus had a different meaning. We discovered that every country in the EU has the exact same concerns and issues when it comes to primary and secondary education in the public sector. In Brussels (3 colleagues came from there) teachers are abandoning schools for the increasingly difficult living conditions, there are many Belgian towns where there are no teachers in primary school, grades are being looked after by non-educational staff.
Spanish colleagues talked about the same plus they cited safety concerns inside schools, they had to hire armed guards to guarantee their safety. They were also voicing their concerns about having 2-3 different educational laws in place at the same time, not knowing how to differentiate class per class.
In Estonia new educational law is being introduced as we speak where teachers can be collocated to different institutions due to staff shortages and people with university degrees can get a free and fast-tracked teacher’s degree, the compulsory school age is promoted to 18 and parents can get a fine if their kids are ignoring it.
In Croatia the schools are rather homogeneous, my colleague of 15 years teaching experience did not hear about mixed ethnicity classes in Croatian towns.