Strengthening trade unions’ capacity to represent teachers and education personnel worldwide

Education International’s annual Development Cooperation meeting puts the focus on strengthening the capacity to speak with a strong and united voice for educators and education personnel.

Education International (EI) Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst in her opening remarks stressed that “development cooperation work is twofold: working on bread-and-butter issues, but also on quality professional development and terms of employment”.

The EI Development Cooperation Network, she said, is the main place where educators active in the field can “exchange experiences and learn from each other, and while we provide a platform for EI to learn from you, we need feedback on our work, for example on how to coordinate and synergize better”.

But more importantly, it also enables participating organisations to carry teachers’ voice in a stronger and more stringent fashion. “Development Cooperation doesn’t stand on its own, it is inscribed in our policy goals,” she said. “For example, looking at the concept of democracy in society, but also democracy within our own movement, which goes together with the concept of union renewal, we can immediately see the fundamental role Development Cooperation has to play in our movement”.

Holst also highlighted that the current #metoo and 16 Days Against Violence campaigns underline the need to fight violence against women, and work around the concept of sexual abuse/sexual harassment. In some countries, the debate has reached the union movement, she acknowledged, firmly reiterating that a union must be a safe place for young members and women.

Sessions on teachers’ professional development, quality terms of employment, and young and new teachers are on meeting’s agenda, as well as trade union unity and the capacity to engage in sustainable Development Cooperation projects.

From 5-6 December, the Education International Development Cooperation meeting is gathering 48 representatives from 32 EI member organisations in Brussels, Belgium. Before the main meeting, participants met on 4 December for a total of 13 side meetings to discuss different on-going programmes and projects.

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