Education International
Education International

Education leaders tackle impact of economic crisis

published 5 December 2011 updated 19 December 2011

Convening in Brussels for the first time after the World Congress, the newly elected EI Executive Board voiced concerns about the ongoing onslaught on quality public education in the wake of the economic crisis and vowed to take measures to counter this worldwide tendency.

One of the key messages of the Board was how the successful EI 6th World Congress, held in July in Cape Town, South Africa, has proven the unity and force of the international education union movement.

This has concretely been shown through the unanimous adoption of the EI Education Policy Paper, which advocates for a broad perspective on education serving the values of society as a whole, establishing cultural, democratic, social, economic and environmental foundations.

Together with the Declaration of Professional Ethics, this paper will form a new pillar of EI values and beliefs and serve as a tool to achieve the goals of EI and its affiliate organisations.

EI Executive Board members concluded that this unanimity and force will be in dire need in these times of crisis, aiming at the establishment of strategic measures to counter the spending cuts imposed on education budgets worldwide.

Recalling the resolution "Sustained Funding of Public Education in the midst of the Economic Crisis", passed in Cape Town during Congress, the Executive Board affirmed once more that education is a human right and therefore, sustained and sufficient public financing of education is necessary to guarantee a sustainable recovery and achieve that right for all.

To give further insight into this topic, John Evans, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC), was invited for a keynote address on education and the economic crisis. During his intervention, Evans pointed out that OECD countries have lessons to learn from current emerging economies such as Brazil: "Lula's and Rousseff's governments in Brazil have shown us how fighting against poverty and inequality is not only a social issue, but must be a political priority too. Tackling inequalities is crucial to overcome the crisis and achieve balanced growth."