Resolution on: Education Support Personnel

published 23 September 2019 updated 4 May 2022

The 8th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from 21 to 26 July 2019:

(1) Building on EI’s 2011 and 2015 resolutions on Education Support Personnel (ESP);

(2) Reaffirming that ESP play a vital role for the realisation of the right to education and ensuring quality education for all;

(3) Recognising that ESP are essential for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4;

(4) Recognising the complementary and interdependent roles of all education employees;

(5) Affirming that education support personnel are part of the education community and should be recognised as such;

(6) Stating that ESP must benefit from quality recognised professional training;

(7) Concerned that ESP are too often undervalued in the workplace and lack recognition for their contribution to quality education;

(8) Concerned about the increased outsourcing of ESP roles and the negative effects that this has for both the employment rights of ESP and educational quality;

(9) Concerned about the increasing casualisation and precarity of ESP work as a result of funding cuts to education and education privatisation;

(10) Noting that some ESP are not unionised and that some education unions do not organise ESP.

(11) The 8th World Congress:

(i) Adopts the Declaration on the Rights and Status of Education Support Personnel (see Appendix);

(ii) Declares the 16th May World Education Support Personnel Day to give visibility and recognition to education support personnel, their work and their contribution to quality education;

(iii) Calls on international institutions such as ILO and UNESCO to actively support the rights and status of ESP, including through marking World ESP Day.

(12) The 8th World Congress calls on member organisations to:

(i) Demand that governments take the necessary measures to ensure the rights and enhance the status of Education Support Personnel, as laid out in the EI Declaration;

(ii) Celebrate the annual World ESP Day through communications efforts nationally and in collaboration with EI;

(iii) Strengthen the voice and representation of ESP, including internally through dedicated structures and representation in union leadership, and externally in delegations to EI conferences and events;

(iv) Reflect on the ESP unionisation in their national context and consider what their union can do to protect and promote the Rights and Status of ESP, including through organising ESP, and collaborating with other unions that organise ESP.

(13) The 8th World Congress mandates EI to:

(i) Advocate for the rights and status of ESP in global education and labour fora and processes;

(ii) Celebrate World ESP Day on the 16th May every year, including through activities and communications efforts;

(iii) Provide dedicated support to unions who would like to start organising ESP;

(iv) Encourage and enable ESP representatives to connect with one another regionally to share experiences, engage in dialogue and support each other to better protect the rights and status of ESP, including by enabling space for an ESP caucus to meet at EI events and conferences;

(v) Commit to the consistent use of inclusive terminology that conveys a broad understanding of the education community and acknowledges all education employees and their contribution to quality education.


Declaration on the rights and status of Education Support Personnel

(A declaration adopted originally at Education International’s first ever Conference on Education Support Personnel, from 15th to 16th May 2018 in Brussels)

We proclaim this declaration on the rights and status of education support personnel, calling for its application worldwide. In doing so, we reaffirm and defend education as a human right and public good, guaranteed by the state. This declaration builds on EI policy and should be read in the context of international instruments.

1. Education support personnel (ESP) refer to education employees working in a broad range of roles and careers across all levels of education in both public and private education institutions(1). ESP play a vital role in realising the right to education and ensuring quality education for all. Their work contributes to fostering positive, safe learning environments to ensure that educational institutions function effectively for all students.

2. All education personnel must be recognised and respected for their complementary and interdependent roles in the provision of quality education.

3. The status, rights and working conditions of ESP must be protected against the negative effects of privatisation and commercialisation. Outsourcing of ESP roles, in particular, denies the intrinsically interdependent nature of the work of all education personnel.

4. ESP are important for educating the ‘whole student’ – their contributions ensure that the academic, socio-emotional and practical needs of the individual student are met, supporting the educational community and fostering equitable and inclusive education systems.

5. ESP are a part of a team of education employees that contribute to student learning. They deserve to be valued and respected for their contribution to quality education.

6. ESP are part of the education community. As such they have the right to contribute to and participate in the decision-making of their educational institutions.

7. ESP have a right to decent work(2) and quality terms of employment. They must have fair and equitable payment and benefits, earning at least a living wage. Stability and security are essential elements of employment and are in the best interests of the students they serve as well as the education institutions and community as a whole.

8. Working conditions for ESP must be of high quality in order to enable ESP to best perform their roles.

9. All aspects of the preparation, employment and remuneration of ESP should be free of any form of discrimination on grounds of age, disability, race, colour, ethnicity or indigeneity, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, language, marital status, migratory status, political activism, religion, socio-economic status, trade union affiliation, among others. Particular attention should be given to ensuring gender pay equity.

10. ESP have the right to be safe at work and not to suffer harassment, abuse or violence in the workplace. Workplace health and safety must be guaranteed.

11. ESP should have access to quality, appropriate continuous professional development and opportunities for professional growth at no cost to the individual.

12. ESP have the right to organise and join trade unions and organisations. In unions, ESP can act collectively to defend rights, bargain and advance interests. As such they have the right to contribute to and participate in the decision-making of their trade unions and organisations.

13. Unions and organisations representing ESP must be independent and free to engage in social dialogue. They should be recognised as playing a role in advancing quality education and should be directly and meaningfully involved in developing and implementing education policy.

14. Recognising that ESP have a crucial role in providing quality education, authorities must ensure the funding necessary to give effect to this declaration.

(1) Education support personnel include but are not limited to the following categories of professionals: administration and clerical; career guidance and/or counselling; librarian and document management; maintenance and/or skilled trade; food and nutrition; health and welfare; tutoring and/or teaching and learning assistance; security; technology and/or communications support; transport; and specialists support.

(2) ILO’s decent work agenda includes four pillars: employment creation, social protection, rights at work and social dialogue