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. Opinion 4 April 2022

    The Russian Invasion of Ukraine Shows the Importance of Protecting Democratic Values through Education

    Armand Doucet, Michael Soskil, Noah Zeichner

    The immediacy of today's vivid news cycle as Russia invades Ukraine has not spared our children. In our youth, caring adults often buffered us from disturbing topics like war, nuclear threats, and human cruelty. Today, our children have no such insulation. They are overwhelmed with horrific images, graphic videos, and...

    The Russian Invasion of Ukraine Shows the Importance of Protecting Democratic Values through Education
  2. News 1 April 2022

    Jordan: The harassment against union leaders and members must stop immediately

    Education International has strongly reiterated its condemnation of the acts of harassment against the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA), its leaders and members. It deplores the criminalisation of legitimate trade union activities including marches and demonstrations.

    Jordan: The harassment against union leaders and members must stop immediately
  3. News 27 March 2022

    Uruguay: Unions say yes to public education

    Education International in full solidarity with its affiliates

    Against all the odds, trade union organisations and grassroots movements in Uruguay secured a referendum in the country to overturn a series of government-imposed measures set to undermine public education and encourage privatisation.

    Uruguay: Unions say yes to public education
  4. Opinion 11 March 2022

    War in Europe: Unions must stand together to defend democracy

    Fred van Leeuwen

    "We know that they lie; They know that they lie; They know that we know that they lie; We know that they know that we know that they lie; And yet they persist lying." Aleksandr Isajevitsj Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

    War in Europe: Unions must stand together to defend democracy
  5. Publications and Research

    Schools shall be safe sanctuaries

    Education International declaration on violent political and military attacks against education institutions, students, teachers, academics and all other education personnel
    11 March 2022

    This declaration voices the collective demand by teachers and their unions worldwide that the international community take action to ensure that education is both protected in conflicts and enabled to realize its potential as a force for peace in the world.

    Schools shall be safe sanctuaries
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  6. Statements 24 February 2022

    Educators around the world stand with the people of Ukraine and condemn Russia’s act of war

    Joint EI-ETUCE statement on Ukraine

    Ignoring global pleas for peace and diplomacy, Russia has launched an unjustifiable full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Education International stands in solidarity with the teachers, students, and people of Ukraine and calls on the international community to stop the bloodshed and do their utmost to avoid a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in...

    Educators around the world stand with the people of Ukraine and condemn Russia’s act of war
  7. News 22 February 2022

    Educators around the world stand with Ukraine and call for peace

    As the already fragile situation at the border between Ukraine and Russia further deteriorates, Education International calls for immediate de-escalation and a diplomatic solution to secure a lasting peace.

    Educators around the world stand with Ukraine and call for peace
  8. News 3 February 2022

    China: Winter Olympics must not overshadow the fight for human rights

    Ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics starting on 4 February in Beijing, China, Education International joins the international trade union movement’s call for human and trade union rights.

    China: Winter Olympics must not overshadow the fight for human rights
  9. News 10 January 2022

    Eswatini: International trade union cooperation and solidarity to support educators

    International trade union cooperation was at the heart of recent activities by the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT). It has successfully engaged with the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) and the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ). This cooperation will allow the Swaziland/Eswatini education union to strengthen...

    Eswatini: International trade union cooperation and solidarity to support educators
  10. News 21 December 2021

    Iran: Government must halt ongoing violations of educators’ rights

    Education International and its member organisations urge the government of Iran to allow teachers to exercise their right to request fair pay and the release of jailed colleagues without fearing violence or arbitrary arrest. The call follows the arrest of a teacher trade union leader and the ongoing detention of...

    Iran: Government must halt ongoing violations of educators’ rights
  11. News 9 December 2021

    Francophonie: education and the trade union movement show their resilience in face of the health crisis

    The theme of the XVIIth meeting of the Comité syndical francophone de l'éducation et de la formation (CSFEF), which brings together the education unions of French-speaking countries, was “Schools as a vehicle for solidarity and development - if countries give themselves the means”. Participants noted that unions have been very...

    Francophonie: education and the trade union movement show their resilience in face of the health crisis
  12. News 6 December 2021

    Iran: Global education union community rallies around arrested trade unionists and demand their release

    As an organisation committed to trade union and human rights, Education International is demanding the release of Esmail Abdi and other arrested trade union leaders in Iran. There is a particular and urgent concern for Abdi’s health, severely affected after long imprisonment in dire conditions. During a meeting of Education...

    Iran: Global education union community rallies around arrested trade unionists and demand their release
  13. News 3 December 2021

    Afghanistan: Education International “schools should never be targets of terrorism or violence”

    Education International reiterated its support for education, peace, and human rights in Afghanistan as the country faces a deepening humanitarian crisis. Earlier this year, Education International and member organisations expressed grave concerns about the safety of educators and about equal access to education for all, especially for girls , after...

    Afghanistan: Education International “schools should never be targets of terrorism or violence”
  14. News 28 October 2021

    Eswatini: Education International and ITUC condemn the brutal attacks on educators and civilians

    Education International (EI) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) emphatically denounce the attacks and recent violence perpetrated by the police against teachers and other public sector workers in Eswatini. We strongly condemn the disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters, which has caused in scores of injuries and the...

    Eswatini: Education International and ITUC condemn the brutal attacks on educators and civilians
  15. News 26 October 2021

    Jordan: Global solidarity in response to the dissolution of education union and harassment of teachers and unionists

    Education International launched an urgent action appeal calling for affiliates to show solidarity with colleagues in Jordan and a campaign with LabourStart in response to the dissolution of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA) and the massive dismissals of teachers, including 14 JTA leaders.

    Jordan: Global solidarity in response to the dissolution of education union and harassment of teachers and unionists
  16. Opinion 19 October 2021

    Samuel Paty, one year later: “The teaching profession: the light that illuminates darkness”

    David Edwards

    A year ago, French history and geography professor Samuel Paty was decapitated near his school in a suburb of Paris. In response to this horrifying attack, the Education International Executive Board adopted a resolution reaffirming the crucial role of teachers in supporting critical thinking, freedom of speech, science, the truth,...

    Samuel Paty, one year later: “The teaching profession: the light that illuminates darkness”
  17. Statements 12 October 2021

    The attack on the CGIL in Italy is an assault on democracy

    Education International condemns the assault by neo-fascist groups on the CGIL union headquarters.

    David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International, the global federation of teachers and education workers, expressed his outrage after the headquarters of the Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL), the largest union confederation in Italy, was ransacked by neo-fascists.

    The attack on the CGIL in Italy is an assault on democracy