Pan-European partnership across seven countries
Empowering communities through Youth & Education
UniCredit and Teach For All are proud to join forces to advance education for children in a foundational pan-European partnership reaching across seven UniCredit core countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, and the partnership will also shortly be extended to Teach For Serbia, which is working to join the Teach For All global network in the coming months. This new alliance will leverage on a common approach, focusing on innovation and inclusion to achieve results and to unlock the full potential of European youth.
To date, Teach For All has positively impacted more than 300 000 students in Europe, involving more than 4000 teachers in their programmes and seeing over 9000 alumni continue to work in sectors like school leadership, public policy and social innovation. The collaboration with UniCredit will significantly reinforce these efforts and results, providing resources and support in training the teachers involved to further empower local communities to reimagine education systems in under-resourced areas, and helping to build more inclusive school environments that offer quality education for all children, year after year.
With the help of these dedicated educators, students will gain the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need to navigate a changing society and the new world of work. With the right mindset and skills, they will be better positioned to attain financial security and become informed, contributing citizens. By creating better opportunities for them to realise their full potential, this innovative programme is developing a new generation of European leaders.
Andrea Orcel, CEO of UniCredit, said: "There is no one single factor that will determine the future success of our continent more than the education and development of our young people. To do so, we need to upskill and support teachers, arming them with all the tools they need to be the best educators possible. UniCredit's commitment to empowering communities to progress goes beyond providing financial support, which is why I am thrilled to announce our work with Teach For All. Our partnership with this fantastic organisation will help us deliver on our commitment to Social improvement, in line with our ESG strategy, and we will leverage UniCredit's presence across the continent to ensure we reach those communities where there is greatest need. I am excited to see the results of this partnership: results which will impact the whole of Europe for decades to come."
Wendy Kopp, CEO and Co-founder of Teach For All, said: "Education plays a vital role in the economic and social wellbeing of any region. While some European students are served well by the current systems, there are large numbers of children, particularly from marginalised communities, who are not attaining a quality education. For Europe to meet the challenges of this century, there is an urgent need to work in partnership with schools, governments, and families to ensure that every child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential."
UniCredit will support the Teach For All network with a donation of nearly €2m to fund activities for the 2022-2023 school year, as well as engage employees as volunteers to drive change by contributing their time, knowledge and skills. Having positive role models is one of the key levers for students to thrive, through inspirational talks and workshops, as well as the experience of real-world working conditions.
The alliance will leverage the pan-European networks of both organisations, working across borders with local partners for an immediate impact in classrooms and a long-term collective impact in communities. By strengthening the education systems and building an environment that is flexible and innovative, we ensure that the children in classrooms today can shape a better tomorrow. This will be achieved by empowering the students, cultivating global activism, engaging the community, sharing progress and building awareness. The partnership includes a set of tailored local KPIs in each of the countries.
In Italy, the focus will be on strengthening the national efforts of Teach For Italy launched in 2020, supporting its three-year plan to scale to at least 100 schools per year from 2024. Furthermore, an e-learning platform will be developed to deliver content and training opportunities to teaching fellows in a more efficient way while sharing knowledge, methodologies, and approaches with the broader school system to accelerate innovation and change in the wider education sector, effectively responding to rising inequalities and structural deficiencies in the country. The goal is to impact up to 10,000 students a year from 2024 and support over 150 Teach For Italy alumni to enter key positions in the education ecosystem by 2025.
For 10 years, Teach For Austria has been working towards achieving its vision of enabling every child through education to lead a good life regardless of his / her parents' educational or financial status. Equity in education is key to achieving that vision. UniCredit Bank Austria will support Teach For Austria in building educational equity in Middle Schools and Kindergartens in Austria's urban areas with the highest achievement gap. So far, over 440 highly motivated fellows have made a difference and reached over 45,000 children in more than 100 schools and 30 Kindergartens.
Bulgaria has the highest educational inequalities in the EU. Teacher and principal training and support lack consistency, deepening the inequalities faced by students. Over the last 12 years, Teach For Bulgaria (Заедно в час) has worked to provide equal access to quality education for every child in the country by recruiting, selecting, training and supporting new teachers from diverse backgrounds and entire school teams. Their program "New ways to teaching" has attracted thousands of applicants per year and currently has over 400 alumni, the majority of whom continue working in education, and over 140 participants currently in their first or second year of the two-year program. Their "Model Schools" program, launched in 2020 focuses on school transformation, working with 47 schools in 21 out of 28 regions in the country and over 440 teachers and school leaders. Additionally, Teach For Bulgaria advocates for policy change at the national level and supports the capacity development of regional education authorities and municipal education strategies. It has also developed and continues to expand a teacher-to-teacher content platform, prepodavame.bg, which currently reaches over 20,000 educators in the country. UniCredit Bulbank will be supporting Teach For Bulgaria in expanding all these activities to consistently increase their positive impact and reduce educational inequality.
In Germany, every year, more than 50,000 students leave school prematurely without any qualifications. An even larger number struggle with finding a vocational opportunity after leaving school, frequently ending up needing social services. German schools are not always equipped to provide every student with the individual support needed to receive a diploma and have a positive outlook. Since its founding over a decade ago in 2008, Teach First Deutschland has been working towards a vision where all children and young people receive a good education, regardless of their starting conditions. They seek changemakers, who want to have an impact on the German school system during their fellowships and beyond. This year, more than 176 fellows are teaching in six federal states. Together with over 700 alumni, they are reaching more than 84,000 students across Germany. HypoVereinsbank will work closely with Teach First Deutschland to significantly increase the number of students reached and extend its fellowship program.
In Romania, at least two students in every secondary school classroom cannot read. Teach For Romania recruits Romanians with proven leadership abilities and trains and supports them to be outstanding teachers. During the 2020-21 school year, Teach For Romania impacted over 14,000 children through 165 inspirational fellows who taught in over 147 public schools in 22 regions. More than 93% of Teach For Romania fellows saw their students improve their literacy skills dramatically last year and 50% of fellows saw improvements in the attendance and participation of students in the classroom. Having scaled their program by over 20% this past year, Teach For Romania will continue to expand it with UniCredit's help to reach more and more students each school year.
In Serbia, the location, family, and socio-economic circumstances in which children are born tend to determine their future educational outcomes and ultimately their options in life. Meanwhile Serbia suffers from a significant school labour force shortage, which drastically affects the allocation of teachers. As a result, rural schools are in some cases closing due to the teacher shortage, and children are being relocated to faraway urban and suburban schools. Teach For Serbia and UniCredit will collaborate to improve the availability of quality education for all children through recruiting, training and supporting teachers, developing their collective leadership with a positive long-term impact across the education system in the country. Teach For Serbia is working to join the Teach For All global network in the coming months and at that point, will kick off its collaboration with UniCredit bank in Serbia.
The reading, mathematics, science and literacy skills of students in Slovakia have deteriorated as measured by the OECD PISA tests. This is even more the case for children in socially deprived and underdeveloped communities with the situation dramatically worsening over the last two years due to school lockdowns. For seven years, Teach For Slovakia has been training teachers to teach in classrooms across the country, impacting over 17,000 students. Today, 78% of their 76 alumni work in roles contributing to a long-term impact on Slovakia's education system. This year, more than 41 fellows taught in 26 schools in the regions of Eastern Slovakia and Bratislava. UniCredit will work closely with Teach For Slovakia to significantly increase the number of students reached and extend its fellowship program.
Milan, 21 September 2022
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About Teach For All
Teach For All is a global network of 61 independent, locally led and governed partner organizations and a global organization that works to accelerate the progress of the network. Each network partner recruits and develops promising future leaders to teach in their nations' under-resourced schools and communities and, with this foundation, to work with others, inside and outside of education, to ensure all children are able to fulfill their potential. Teach For All's global organization works to increase the network's impact by supporting the development of new organizations; fostering network connectivity and learning; providing coaching and consulting; and enabling access to global resources for the benefit of the network.
Teach For All impact to date in Europe
- 4000+ teachers in classrooms
- 9000+ alumni working in sectors like school leadership, public policy and social innovation
- 300 000+ students impacted
Recent facts and figures on the state of Europe's educational system
Approximately 250 million youth in Europe lack basic reading, writing and mathematics skills. Meanwhile more than 33% of European pupils from the bottom quartile do not reach the basic level of competence in science, compared to 7% of those among the top quartile showing that economic disadvantage can often correspond to an educational achievement gap, which has only widened during the pandemic. The first wave of lockdowns due to Covid-19 impacted over 150 countries and 1.6 billion students. While the response of implementing remote learning was intended to reach all students, this was not always the case, as ensuring equity in distance learning requires huge investment, not only in digital infrastructure but also in teacher training.
There are significant challenges facing school systems in Europe, including budgets allocated for education remaining stagnant while the number of students, particularly in more disadvantaged communities, continues to rise, which leaves ever-fewer resources per pupil and creates overcrowded classrooms. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain teachers due to non-competitive employment conditions. This is reflected in the low numbers of young (less than 30 years) teachers, who make up only 12% of primary school teachers, 11% of lower secondary school teachers and 8% of upper secondary school teachers in the OECD.
In Belgium, economically disadvantaged students have a three-year achievement gap compared to peers from more affluent backgrounds. In Austria, this gap is two years. Furthermore, Southern European countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece) have very low rates of school completion at 57% in Italy, 54% in Spain, 38% in Portugal and 66% in Greece. This compares to a completion rate of 88% in the US. At the same time, completing secondary education is often insufficient to secure employment with EU individuals who graduate from secondary school only having a 58.3% employment rate versus 83.7% among those with university degrees.
Source: Teach For All Europe, February 2022