Education International
Education International

Asia-Pacific affiliates strengthen ties

published 13 September 2006 updated 13 September 2006

About 300 representatives of EI member organisations from 27 countries of the Asia Pacific came together in Jakarta this week for their triennial regional meeting.

The Teachers’ Association of the Republic of Indonesia (PGRI) hosted the conference, which had as its theme " Strengthening teachers’ unions to achieve trade union rights and quality public education."

The event also attracted participation by the ILO and ICFTU-APRO, as well as observers from two WCT member organizations and the Vietnamese Teachers’ Union.

In his keynote address, EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen congratulated PGRI and its President Mohamad Surya on having won a legal battle in the Constitutional Court of Indonesia to increase the national education budget.

In his wide ranging address, van Leeuwen touched on the challenges of globalization for public educators and the consequent need to strengthen democratic values and core labour standards.

He also warned of a dramatic teacher shortage on the horizon. A recent report by UNESCO predicts that, if political leaders do not act quickly, the world will face a shortage of more than 18 million primary school teachers by 2015.

" South and West Asia need to increase the current number of teachers by 7%. They must create another 325,000 teaching posts in less than a decade," van Leeuwen said. " For Afghanistan to achieve universal primary education by 2015, it will need to hire 9% more teachers every year – one of the highest growth rates required in the world. In absolute numbers, India will need the greatest inflow of new teachers in the world – more than two million."

Van Leeuwen urged governments to implement policies to make the teaching profession more attractive by reversing the decline in teachers’ salaries and dramatically improving their living and working conditions. __________

To know more about EI’s Asia-Pacific Region, please visit our Asia-Pacific Regional website: http://www.ei-ie.org/asiapacific/

To find out more about this event, please click here.