African education union leaders reaffirm commitment to improve unity

The Regional Dialogue Forum on Human Resources Issues in the Education Sector provided African teacher union leaders and education stakeholders with the opportunity to stress the importance of teacher trade union unity and social dialogue on education.

Delegations comprising Ministry of Education officials and union leaders from Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), The Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Nepal, Senegal, and Uganda were present at this high-level summit, organised from 26-27 April in Dakar, Senegal, in the context of the Global Teachers' Effort for Better Education initiative.

Contributions

The Senegalese Ministry of Education’s Director of Human Resources said that this initiative, which had run for two years, was significant in promoting social peace and economic development. He also emphasised the importance of consultation with teachers and their unions whenever possible.

The forum was also addressed by the Coordinator of the Union syndicale pour l’éducation de qualité (USEC) - a forum set up by the Education International (EI) affiliates in Senegal -, and representatives of UNESCO, the Global Partnership for Education, and the Committee of the Red Cross (CRC).

Unity

Education International’s Assibi Napoe underscored the role of the initiative in promoting unity among unions in the respective countries. EI affiliates in countries with multiple unions have created forums through which they act jointly, as is the case with USEC in Senegal, the EI Trade Union Coordination in Benin (COSIEB), and the EI Cote d’Ivoire’s section (IESCI).

While some unions, as in Mali, have reported smooth dialogue, others in the DRC and Liberia have reported tumultuous relations between governments and trade unions. The Forum sought to devise strategies to improve social dialogue by building bridges between governments and trade unions.

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