Fiji Trade Union Congress
The Council of Pacific Education (COPE) General Secretary, Govind Singh, attended the social gathering of the Pacific Islands’ union leaders organised by the Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTUC) on 23 May. The event was also attended by ILO representatives, national union centre leaders and other union leaders in the country and from the region. It provided a networking opportunity for trade unions in the Pacific Islands and likeminded organisations.
On 26 May, Singh opened the FTUC Youth and Women Network National Quiz Competition in Suva. The theme of the quiz was “Raising Awareness on Labour Rights and the Role of Trade Unions in Fiji.” In his opening address, Singh highlighted the role and responsibilities of trade unions and a roadmap to awareness/development activities/programmes that should be implemented by the Youth and Women Network.
EIAP and PGRI National Board consortium meeting in Indonesia
The EI Asia-Pacific (EIAP) Regional Office met on 31 May in Jakarta with the Persatuan Guru Republik Indonesia (PGRI) National Board to discuss the effective implementation of the PGRI-EI Consortium project activities for 2017.
Debates focused on how socio-political developments in Indonesia impact the quality of education and professional/trade union rights of teachers and learners. Achievements and challenges in PGRI advocacy programmes and campaigns were also explored.
Dr. Unifah Rosyidi was elected as President during the National Working Conference in January 2017, replacing Dr. Sulistiyo who died in 2015.
The EI Chief Regional Coordinator, Shashi Bala Singh, and Rey Dolot attended the meeting on behalf of EI.
PGRI-EI Consortium Project’s Module Development in Indonesia
The 2016 Independent External Evaluation of the PGRI-EI Consortium Project’s Module Development in Indonesia was conducted from 1-4 June in Jakarta.
In assessing the Pilot Phase (2014-2016), one outstanding recommendation was made: to improve the Consortium Project’s teaching-learning tools by reviewing the various materials used in the past three years and develop standardised modules to be used in grassroots training activities under the project, as well as in PGRI’s other training programmes.
After feedback on the modules from stakeholders, the modules will be translated from Bahasa Indonesia into English, and could be shared to interested member organisations and partners.
The EI Chief Regional Coordinator, Shashi Bala Singh, and Rey Dolot represented EI at the meeting.
JTU 70th anniversary in Japan
The Japan Teachers Union (JTU) celebrated its 70th anniversary on 8 June, highlighting the work of the union to improve teachers’ working conditions and status.
At a reception in Tokyo, JTU President Yuichiro Izumi recalled the union's successes in defending teachers' rights and promoting quality public education. He also detailed the four principles that have guided the union since its establishment in 1947: full pacification, adherence to neutrality, opposition to the provision of military bases, and a stand against rearmament. Indeed, the union is currently resisting efforts by the Japanese government to change the country's constitution allowing it to build up armed forces.
In his address, EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen also stressed how the Japanese education system has been the catalyst of great technological innovation and artistic achievement. “So much of our world exists today because of what was born out of your classrooms, what began with your union and its teachers, and we are all better for it,” he said, presenting the union with EI's "Certificate of Commendation".
On 9 June, van Leeuwen met with several Democratic Party members of Japan’s legislature.