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School health

The ESN coordinates the creation of an international barometer of the well-being and health of education professionals

Louise Magnard
February 4, 2021

For the past few months, members and partners of the Education and Solidarity Network have been working together to create an international barometer of the health and well-being of education professionals. Its goal? Collect data to enhance members’ advocacy and implement concrete actions for the health and well-being of education professionals.

The Covid pandemic in particular has brought this fact to light: health and education are closely linked, and the role of the health and well-being of education professionals is central to achieving the goal of quality education for all.

Internationally, there is evidence that the health and well-being of education professionals have an impact, among other things, on:

–          The quality of teaching

–          The absenteeism of education professionals

–          The low attractiveness of the profession, the loss of interest and turnover, the shortage of teachers

–          The health and well-being of pupils

Previously, the ESN had already conducted several international surveys on the health of education professionals:

·         The survey on the determinants of occupational health of education professionals: In 2014-2015, the ESN conducted a survey with more than 3,000 respondents in Australia, the United States, Canada, France and Colombia, through unions and other members and partners of the ESN. The results brought into focus the points of satisfaction of professionals on different topics such as relationships (with the administration, pupils, colleagues), the work environment, or the support they receive, and enabled us to compare country by country the factors affecting the health and well-being of education professionals.

·         The Health Focus in the Francophonie: Developed with the Comité Syndical Francophone de l’Education et de la Formation (Francophone Trade Union Committee for Education and Training, CSFEF) and based on a survey and interviews with education professionals from 15 countries of the Francophonie in 2018, the report “Health Focus” provides a general overview of the health and well-being of these workers and identifies priorities for action regarding several topics such as access to care, working conditions as well as the commitment of trade unions to raising awareness and health education. The report highlights, among other things, the lack of awareness regarding rights to health among education professionals. They also face difficulties in getting so-called occupational diseases recognised and having treatment and care. Finally, while most education unions are active regarding occupational health issues, the scope of their action remains limited, partly because of the lack of impact of their communication.

The objectives of the international health and well-being of education professionals barometer are to obtain data on the health and well-being of education professionals and its determinants to enhance advocacy for the health and well-being of education professionals nationally and internationally, and to identify common “trends” and differences between countries to learn from each other and share possible solutions.

In this respect, the barometer is intended to be a tool both for political advocacy, sharing of good practices and search for operational solutions, but also for an international cooperation project.

The survey aims to provide an overview of the health and well-being of education professionals – including teachers and education support staff – in connection with their working conditions. In order to see the evolution of the health and well-being of education professionals over time, the quantitative method is preferred, through online questionnaires.

The first edition of the barometer should be carried out in 2021, with teachers from 6 countries: France, Quebec, French-speaking Belgium, Gambia, Mexico, Morocco.

The topics of the survey include:

  • Physical health and well-being (illnesses, voice disorders, quality of sleep, sick leave, work-life balance)

·         Professional experience (satisfaction and disillusionment with the profession, meaning of work and recognition, conditions of well-being and suffering at work)

  • Working conditions and environment (transport, feeling safe, quality of the physical work environment, workload and working hours)
  • Organisation and relationships with the administration / superiors (quality of leadership, clarity of roles, autonomy, leeway, recognition)
  • Relationships (quality of relationships in the workplace with pupils, parents, colleagues, support that they receive)

·         Conditions, information, and support regarding health (existence of a point of contact, health support and trainings, health information provided by various actors including the school, unions, mutual insurance companies)

  • Health coverage and experience (environment and knowledge of rights, medical examinations and health coverage, experiences)
  • Socio-demographic characteristics (personal characteristics including gender, age, country, seniority, union membership, characteristics of the school including workforce, geographic location)

For this first edition, additional questions will be added to the barometer questionnaire in order to study the impact of Covid on the health and well-being of educational communities.

Several members and partners of the ESN participate in the working group set up for the project, including UNSA-Education (France), MGEN (France), CSQ (Quebec), CGSP Enseignement (Belgium), GTU (Gambia), SINAADEP (Mexico).

The UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education, through its representative MinChien Tsai, as well as the Foundation for Public Health participate in the project as members of the scientific committee.

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