Education Support Personnel

Introduction Top

Education Support Personnel cover a broad range of professional, administrative, technical and general staff working within the education sector, such as teaching assistants, school nurses and psychologists, bursars, and bus drivers, amongst others. The definition and scope of education support personnel varies between countries and may include categories of personnel with differing statusand conditions of service. The extent to which they are organised by teacher unions also varies per country.

Education support personnel are vital in their contribution to quality education, as well as safe and positive learning environments.

Policy Top

The work of EI is guided by the Education Policy Paper, adopted by the 6th EI World Congress in Cape Town in 2011, as well as the resolutions of the past Congresses. Relevant congress resolutions include the Resolution on Stable Education Jobs, Resolution on Collective Bargaining, Resolution on Trade Union Rightsand Resolution on fixed-term higher education teaching personnel

While education support personnel share many of the challenges and issues of teachers and academic staff, they also face distinct problems, such as a lack of respect and recognition for their work. This was recognised in the Resolution on Education Support Employeesthat was adopted by the 6th EI World Congress in 2011 and which forms the basis for EI’s work in this regard.

Education support personnel are education professionals without whom the provision of quality education is impossible. They must be recognised for their work in the education community and enjoy the same status, rights and conditions as other education personnel with similar academic and technical qualifications and experience. This includes fair and equitable remuneration and benefits as well as the right to organize and bargain collectively. EI is particularly concerned about the growing number of education support personnel who are employed on a casual, part-time and/or limited-term basis without continuing security of employment.

Education support personnel must have the right to safe and healthy work environments, professional support and guidance, including continuous professional development, as well as possibilities for career development. As education professionals, they should be able to contribute to and participate in the decision-making of their educational institution, and in particular about issues that directly impact their jobs.

School-support services are often more vulnerable to out-sourcing and privatisation. This does not only affect the work conditions of education support personnel, but also the quality of education and services provided. Education support personnelare best positioned to contribute to quality education when they are part of a single unified education workforce that works directly for the education institutions.

EI is actively promoting the rights and work conditions of education support personnelin its work, in particular with international institutions such as the ILO. Our work is based on the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the following ILO conventions are particularly relevant for education support personnel:

Activities Top

Following the adoption of the Resolution on Education Support Employees, by the 6th EI World Congress in Cape Town in 2011, EI has established a task force to further its work on this issue. The aim of the task force is to advise EI on the issue of education support personnel, paying specific attention to their status, rights and conditionsof service.

EI is particularly concerned about the casualization and increasing exploitation of education support personnel, the absence of decent work conditions as well as violations of fundamental human and labour rights, including the right to organize and bargain collectively. This is in part due to the increasing trend of out-sourcing or privatising school-support services.

Video Top

Videos highlighting the important work of Education Support Professionals, produced by Australia's National Tertiary Education Union.

Links Top

EI documents and resolutions:


All other EI Resolutions can be found in the EI Policy Library.

ILO instruments:


Several EI affiliates also represent education support personnel, including:

  • The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – find out more about their work here.
  • The National Education Association (NEA) – find out more about their work here.
  • The Confédération Syndicale du Québec (CSQ)
  • The Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina (CTERA) 
  • The New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI) – find out more about their work here.
  • Zimbabwe Educational Scientific and Cultural Workers Union (ZESSCWU) – find out more about their work here.

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