Making the invisible visible – standing with education support personnel

On the occasion of World Education Support Personnel Day on 16 May, EI is launching its new research on the role, impact, status, and employment conditions of education support personnel.

This year’s theme for World Education Support Personnel (ESP) Day is Making the invisible visible – standing with ESP. To mark the occasion, Education International (EI) is releasing “Understanding the invisible workforce: education support personnel’s roles, needs and the challenges they face”, a research study designed by EI’s ESP Task Force and based on a survey administered in seven case study countries: Brazil; Quebec, Canada; France; New Zealand; The Philippines; United States of America; and Zimbabwe.

The research shows that ESP in every region feel undervalued and unrecognised for their work. The majority of ESP are female and most ESP are poorly paid, earning less than the average wage for their country. Many have precarious work conditions; their positions are often outsourced and put at risk because of cuts to education budgets. In addition, ESP have little opportunity for career progression or professional development.

“Education support personnel are crucial for ensuring that quality teaching and learning can take place in education institutions and they must be sufficiently valued for the work they do,” EI General Secretary David Edwards stressed. “World ESP Day is an invitation to you to celebrate your ESP. Please join us in raising the status of ESP and in defending their working conditions and labour rights.”

Education International’s Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst will today be delivering the keynote speech at the International Conference“Education Support Personnel, Profiles and Professional Requirements in the School of the Future” organised for the second World Education Support Personnel Day by EI’s affiliate Federação Nacional da Educação (FNE) in Mafra, Portugal.

Background

World ESP Day was launched in connection with EI’s first-ever ESP Conference in 2018, following the adoption of the ESP Resolution at the 7th World Congress in 2015. The Conference endorsed a Declaration on the rights and status of education support personnel, calling for its application worldwide.

Similar to World Teachers’ Day, the day is an occasion to celebrate the work of ESP across the globe, underline their role in ensuring quality education, and shine a light on the challenges that ESP still face at work.

You can find the full research report here, and a summary of the main findings here.

The research’s author, Philippa Butler, has written a blog post entitled “Education Support Personnel: Shining light on the invisible workforce”, published on Worlds of Education.

Find out more about ESP

This brochure explains the variety of roles that ESP undertake to support quality education in education institutions, the work that EI does to demand the rights and status of ESP, and how ESP are involved in EI’s work more broadly.

A video on the crucial role played by ESP for quality education was launched during the EI World Congress:

Jane Porter, from the New Zealand Educational Institute - Te Riu Roa and member of EI taskforce on ESP, discusses challenges for the education support personnel to see their contribution to quality education for all acknowledged in this podcast: