Education International
Education International

Congo: Union demands action to defend teachers’ conditions

published 6 September 2011 updated 7 September 2011

The Syndicat des enseignants du Congo (SYECO), an EI affiliate in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has called for urgent action by the national authorities to accept teachers’ demands for a salary increase.

In a statement earlier this week, SYECO’s General Secretary, Jean Pierre Kimbuya, expressed dismay at the impasse in negotiations which were seeking to increase teachers’ pay and protect basic working conditions. The dispute between the unions representing primary, secondary and professional education teachers and the government has been waging for some time, as teachers’ living conditions have deteriorated because salaries have not kept up with rates of inflation.

Kimbuya explained: “Teachers consider this Government’s behaviour to be an insult to the profession. We must draw the public’s attention, nationally as well as internationally, to the Congolese education system’s future. Quality teachers are the cornerstone to securing a quality education system.”

SYECO has called on its members to respect a walkout from 5 September until 13 September, when negotiation outcomes are scheduled to be re-evaluated.

EI supports its affiliate’s demands for action and calls on the Democratic Republic of Congo Government to ensure decent work standards and conditions for teachers, as well as equipping them with the resources to deliver quality public education for all.

In a message dated 6 September sent to Kimbuya, EI General Secretary Van Leeuwen states “EI gives its unreserved support to unions fighting to enhance their education systems, as well as the teacher status. Education quality calls for the commitment of an entire nation. If the democratic Republic of Congo is to be successful in its ‘emergence,’ it must invest in schools and staff working in them. We are on your side and wish to be kept informed about responses brought to your legitimate demands.”

Click here to read the full SYECO statement (in French).