The professional obligation of the teacher is to develop his or her professional skills and be informed of new developments in the education.
Most of the continuing education courses are ordered centrally from universities and training providers offering teacher training, based on national education priorities. Continuing education funds are also used for supporting teachers’ networks, school-based and intra-school projects, to support learning from each other, dissemination of best practices and whole school development. Centrally organised trainings are free of charge for teachers.
A part of the training funds is still channelled to schools through local authorities along with the state education fund. Local municipalities may allocate additional resources for teachers’ continuing education and determine the fields where they may be used. Schools make continuing education decisions on the basis of their needs and development plans. Management of training is the task of the school manager.
For vocational teachers, credit-bearing internships in industry are also deemed to be fulfilling their professional development obligation. Credit-bearing internship is a targeted professional work in a working environment which is directly linked to the area taught by the teacher. During credit-bearing internship, the teacher is released from teaching. The procedure for credit-bearing internship is established by the school.
The concept of continuing education for teachers and heads of educational institutions, specifies duties and responsibilities of various teacher education partners: the teacher, the educational institution, the owner of the school, the Ministry of Education and Research, the institutions providing continuing education and the university competence centres. Specific duties and responsibilities related to determining training needs, planning continuing education, allocating resources, organising trainings, assessing effect and maintaining records have been determined at every level.
Supporting Participation in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Activities
Participation in continuing education is free of charge to teachers. Generally, schools and local authorities compensate for the transport and accommodation costs. A number of trainings, including the internal trainings and peer learning organised by schools, take place during school holidays.
Professional qualification standards of teachers have been developed for several professional levels, describing the opportunities for individual development of teachers. Development of an electronic self-assessment instrument, which supports a teacher in determining his or her own training needs, have been developed and under implementation by the schools.
The need for and benefit of continuing education will be assessed yearly during performance appraisal interviews with the head of the school.