Ei-iE

Democracy

Democracy is vital to healthy societies and critical to ensuring all human rights are respected. Essential as it is, democracy is not irreversible. In recent years, even established democracies have witnessed the rise of authoritarianism that threatens to tear the very fabric of our communities.

Defending and advancing democracy is central to the purpose of the trade union movement in education. The right to education, trade union rights and freedom of expression are critical enabling rights that help to leverage other rights. Together with our member organisations, we mobilise in support of democracy through trade union action and through education.

If we want democracy, we have to demand it, and we have to be able to educate children who will make and remake it.

Timothy Snyder

We believe that the strongest safeguard of democracy is quality education with trained and supported teachers who enjoy full professional autonomy. Some of the profession’s collective wisdom was brought together in “On Education and Democracy: 25 Lessons from the Teaching Profession”. Authored by our President, Susan Hopgood, and our General Secretary Emeritus, Fred van Leeuwen, the book serves as an invitation to all educators to take a stand in defence of democracy and to consider contributions that teachers, schools, universities, and representative organisations can make to solidify and progress democratic life.

Our work in this area

  1. News 20 June 2018

    ILO Director General denounces “New Brutalism”

    “We have entered an age of new brutalism,” ILO Director General Guy Ryder told delegates of the 5th World Congress of UNI in Liverpool on 19 June. “We have entered an age where it is OK to dehumanize those who are rejected, who are marginalized, who are different or who...

    ILO Director General denounces “New Brutalism”
  2. Opinion 2 May 2018

    #EI25: "Making a difference in a different world", by Davanand Sinanan (TTUTA, Trinidad and Tobago)

    Davanand Sinanan

    Few would argue that the world has changed in a significant manner over the last decade through a combination of geopolitics and communication technology. The rapid rate of change seems to have caught most people off-guard and as a result is struggling to keep pace. Very few analysists have been...

    #EI25: "Making a difference in a different world", by Davanand Sinanan (TTUTA, Trinidad and Tobago)
  3. News 6 April 2018

    Education International urges Brazil to revert to ‘beacon of democracy’

    In the light of violence that culminated in the murder of Brazilian politician and city councilor Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro on 14 March, and with the judicial and media persecution of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Education International has urged President Temer to ensure the respect...

    Education International urges Brazil to revert to ‘beacon of democracy’
  4. News 8 February 2018

    USA: joint teacher union action aims to put education secretary on notice

    The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have teamed up to deliver 80,000 report cards to Secretary DeVos’ doorstep on the anniversary of her appointment to call for her resignation.

    USA: joint teacher union action aims to put education secretary on notice
  5. News 14 December 2017

    Arab education unions focus on union renewal and quality education

    Teacher union leaders in Arab-speaking countries have discussed ways to better engage with young and new teachers and steps necessary to achieve access to quality education for all by 2030 in their region.

    Arab education unions focus on union renewal and quality education
  6. Opinion 18 July 2017

    Preparing for Difficult Conversations

    Felisa Tibbitts

    How can educators facilitate difficult conversations in their classrooms?  If we believe that democratic citizenship is linked with engagement in social issues, then undoubtedly these topics also include those that make us feel uncomfortable. Or are complex or even unresolvable. If there are different points of view on a hot...

    Preparing for Difficult Conversations
  7. News 6 April 2017

    Armenia: Unionists underpin role of education in teaching human rights and values

    Teacher unionists in Armenia reaffirmed their commitment to human rights and democracy by participating in a national high-level seminar, which highlighted the role of education unions in protecting human rights and values.

    Armenia: Unionists underpin role of education in teaching human rights and values
  8. News 5 April 2017

    Hungary: EI deeply concerned about impact of new legislation on academic freedom  

    The global educators’ community condemns the adoption of legislative amendments proposed by Hungary’s government, endangering the independence of the Central European University and, consequently, fundamental pillars of all democracy.

    Hungary: EI deeply concerned about impact of new legislation on academic freedom  
  9. News 9 February 2006

    EI on Danish cartoon row: extra attention should be paid to teaching democracy and human rights

    "Apparently, there is a reciprocal lack of understanding about the crucial importance of fundamental human rights like freedom of expression, that constitute the basis of democratic societies, and on the other hand, the religious feelings of millions of people in Muslim countries," said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, when...

    EI on Danish cartoon row: extra attention should be paid to teaching democracy and human rights