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 17 February 2021

    USA: Trade union joins call for a New Deal for Higher Education

    The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) have launched a campaign calling for increased funding and reforms in public colleges and universities. The two organisations have partnered in this campaign because a crisis for higher education means a crisis for democracy.

    USA: Trade union joins call for a New Deal for Higher Education
  2. News 10 February 2021

    Solidarity statement | Democracy Must Stand in Myanmar

    Education International strongly condemns the military coup and the unconstitutional arrests of democratically elected leaders in Myanmar. EI also supports the civil disobedience movement and stands with its affiliate, the Myanmar Teachers’ Federation (MTF) in their general strike for freedom and democracy.

    Solidarity statement | Democracy Must Stand in Myanmar
  3. News 4 February 2021

    Myanmar: Teachers’ union condemns military coup

    The Myanmar Teachers’ Federation (MTF) is engaging in civil disobedience along with others to protest the military coup of Monday, 1 February. The MTF and other unions issued statements condemning the coup and called for the release of arrested political leaders.

    Myanmar: Teachers’ union condemns military coup
  4. Opinion 20 January 2021

    “Riot Backlash Hastens Moment of Truth for Internet Giants”

    Aidan White

    As President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated this week in the caged and militarised environment of the US Capitol, battle lines are being drawn in a concerted political attempt to regulate the power of the behemoths of the internet including Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The unregulated dominance of the online world...

    “Riot Backlash Hastens Moment of Truth for Internet Giants”
  5. News 8 January 2021

    USA: Education unions condemn attack on democracy

    The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have reacted to the 6 January’s assault in Washington DC, where rioters encouraged by President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress to certify the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

    USA: Education unions condemn attack on democracy
  6. News 28 October 2020

    Executive Board adopts resolution on the role of education in stimulating critical thinking and freedom of expression and promoting democracy

    The 56th meeting of the Education International’s Executive Board, meeting virtually on 27 October, adopted a resolution in support of teaching about freedom of expression, free discussion, and critical thinking, all of which equip students to be active citizens. The resolution was adopted following the atrocious murder of French history...

    Executive Board adopts resolution on the role of education in stimulating critical thinking and freedom of expression and promoting democracy
  7. News 23 October 2020

    Extraordinary Global Education Meeting reaffirms commitments to SDG 4 and calls for accelerated funding and global solidarity

    An extraordinary session of the UNESCO Global Education Meeting (GEM) took place today, 22 October. It was preceded by a technical meeting on the 20th devoted to policy preparation. The meeting focused on global priorities for recovery in education and accelerated action in order to make progress on achieving SDG...

    Extraordinary Global Education Meeting reaffirms commitments to SDG 4 and calls for accelerated funding and global solidarity
  8. News 22 October 2020

    PISA 2018 Volume 6: ‘Are Students Ready to Thrive in an Interconnected World?’

    The OECD PISA Volume 6 report, released today, broadens considerably the criteria for assessment and international comparisons of PISA. For the first time, the report, based on data collected in 2018, examines students’ global competence. It looks at the ability of 15-year old students to consider local, global, and inter-cultural...

    PISA 2018 Volume 6: ‘Are Students Ready to Thrive in an Interconnected World?’
  9. News 18 September 2020

    Philippines: International solidarity with workers and unionists facing tyranny

    Education International has joined other Global Unions in a webinar backing Filipino workers and trade unionists who fight to defend from governmental siege rights and democracy. The discussion was organised by the Council of Global Unions (CGU). The CGU groups Global Union Federations like EI with the International Trade Union...

    Philippines: International solidarity with workers and unionists facing tyranny
  10. News 16 September 2020

    US: AFT and RFK Human Rights launch human rights and democracy programme

    The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), working with RFK Human Rights will launch a programme to share lesson plans on human rights and democracy developed by classroom teachers at a webinar on 17 September. The webinar, “Defenders of Human Rights and Democracy in Your Community” will feature AFT President Randi...

    US: AFT and RFK Human Rights launch human rights and democracy programme
  11. News 28 August 2020

    United States: AFT mobilises for 28 August March on Washington

    Many thousands of people are marching in Washington, DC in the “Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks”. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), several other trade unions as well as civil rights and other civil society organisations are mobilising to bring attention to systemic racism, the need for...

    United States: AFT mobilises for 28 August March on Washington
  12. News 6 August 2020

    United States: American Federation of Teachers holds convention in time of crisis

    The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), in a convention held virtually, organised a series of discussions and adopted resolutions on education, trade union and policy issues. The convention endorsed Joe Biden for President by a vote of more than 90 per cent of delegates after an unprecedented, extensive membership consultation...

    United States: American Federation of Teachers holds convention in time of crisis
  13. News 6 July 2020

    USA: The National Education Association holds virtual Representative Assembly

    On 2 and 3 July, the National Education Association (NEA) of the United States held a virtual representative assembly with the participation of over 7,000 delegates. The theme of the assembly was “Our Democracy; Our Responsibility; Our time”.

    USA: The National Education Association holds virtual Representative Assembly
  14. News 2 July 2020

    Council of Global Unions Joint Solidarity Statement | Justice for Lee Cheuk Yan and ensuring fundamental rights in Hong Kong

    The Council of Global Unions (CGU) – representing more than 200 million workers from across the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Global Union Federations and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) – wholeheartedly condemns the unlawful arrests of trade union and prodemocracy leaders and activists by...

    Council of Global Unions Joint Solidarity Statement | Justice for Lee Cheuk Yan and ensuring fundamental rights in Hong Kong
  15. News 1 July 2020

    Democracy Conference: Trade unions unite to shape a better post-pandemic world

    Leading progressive thinkers and union leaders came together in a joint Education International-Public Services International online event to discuss the post-COVID-19 future and how to shape it. Union leaders from around the world were addressed by high-profile keynote speakers at the Democracy Conference on 29 June.

    Democracy Conference: Trade unions unite to shape a better post-pandemic world