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 22 July 2019

    Constitutional change to ensure gender balance, election of Executive Committee and adoption of resolutions mark first day of Congress

    In a historic move, the Education International (EI) 8th Congress carried a resolution modifying the constitution that greatly promotes gender balance in terms of representation within their own global union. As a result, open seats for election have increased to 10 from 9 - with 50% of those seats designated...

    Constitutional change to ensure gender balance, election of Executive Committee and adoption of resolutions mark first day of Congress
  2. Opinion 22 July 2019

    “Our Mandate”, by David Edwards

    David Edwards

    Being elected General Secretary of EI is a great honour. It is a challenge to live up to the confidence that has been given by the representatives of education workers from all regions of the world. It is also comforting to join that small team of talented leaders elected on...

    “Our Mandate”, by David Edwards
  3. News 21 July 2019

    EI World Congress kicks off in Thailand

    Today, 1400 educators gathered in Bangkok for the 8th Education International World Congress. During the opening ceremony, President Susan Hopgood welcomed delegates and began her speech with a challenge to them and educators across the world: “Are you ready to take the lead?”

    EI World Congress kicks off in Thailand
  4. Publications and Research

    On Education & Democracy: 25 Lessons from the Teaching Profession

    Fred van Leeuwen, Susan Hopgood
    15 July 2019

    On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Education International, which currently brings together the national education unions of 170 countries representing 32.5 million educators and education support staff, we have selected 25 lessons which educators and their organisations have learnt throughout history on education and democracy.

    On Education & Democracy: 25 Lessons from the Teaching Profession
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  5. Opinion 22 May 2019

    “The Italian school system is in danger”, by Francesco Sinopoli.

    Francesco Sinopoli

    The General Secretary of the Federation of Knowledge Workers of the Italian General Confederation of Labour reacted to the suspension of Rosa Maria Dell’Aria, a teacher from Palermo. The teacher was penalised in this manner because it was alleged that she did not supervise the work of her 14-16 year-old...

    “The Italian school system is in danger”, by Francesco Sinopoli.
  6. Opinion 22 May 2019

    “Attacks on democracy and teachers in Italy”, by David Edwards,

    David Edwards

    Extreme Right parties, often populist and nationalist, have become stronger than in any time since the Second World War. We have witnessed a return of racist, xenophobic and authoritarian policies and politics on all continents of the world.

    “Attacks on democracy and teachers in Italy”, by David Edwards,
  7. News 24 April 2019

    UK: Solidarity, democracy and unity high on the agendas of education trade unions

    During their annual conferences, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers and the National Education Union, both affiliated to Education International, have reasserted during their annual conferences their core values and determination to continue advocating education policies beneficial for educators and students.

    UK: Solidarity, democracy and unity high on the agendas of education trade unions
  8. Opinion 25 March 2019

    “Education is our best defense against scapegoat narratives – but needs consistent investment”, by Clare O’ Hagan.

    Clare O’Hagan

    Education, as shown in the 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, ‘Building Bridges not Walls’, has a great ability to fight discrimination with inclusive rhetoric. It can help newcomers adapt to new environments, and it can prepare host communities to accept and celebrate their presence.

    “Education is our best defense against scapegoat narratives – but needs consistent investment”, by Clare O’ Hagan.
  9. Opinion 20 March 2019

    “Time to shine a bright light on and act in the Philippines”, by David Edwards, Anthony Bellanger, and Ambet Yuson

    Anthony Bellanger, Ambet Yuson, David Edwards

    Democracy is threatened from within in many countries where authoritarian, often populist and nationalist forces have gained ground. Institutions of democracy have been attacked. The Philippines is one such country.

    “Time to shine a bright light on and act in the Philippines”, by David Edwards, Anthony Bellanger, and Ambet Yuson
  10. News 18 March 2019

    Sudan: In solidarity with human rights activists

    As strikes and protests calling for democratic change increase in Sudan, Education International expresses solidarity with the academics and unionists and supports their demands.

    Sudan: In solidarity with human rights activists
  11. Opinion 8 March 2019

    #IWD2019 #Education Voices: “The Political Participation of Women and Their Prominent Role in Brazil’s Trade Union Movement”, by Fátima da Silva.

    Fátima da Silva

    Until recently, women in Latin America had achieved unprecedented levels of political participation with the election of women presidents in several countries in the region. Dilma Rousseff (2011–2016), Cristina Kirchner (2007–2015) and Michelle Bachelet (2006–2010 and 2014–2018) all served two terms as elected presidents in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, respectively....

    #IWD2019 #Education Voices: “The Political Participation of Women and Their Prominent Role in Brazil’s Trade Union Movement”, by Fátima da Silva.
  12. News 6 March 2019

    Education unions join in solidarity with Turkish teachers

    Education trade unionists from around the world meet in Ankara on 6 and 7 March for the “Education Trade Unions, Rights, Freedoms and Governments International Symposium”, in solidarity with embattled Turkish education unionists struggling for the respect of their rights, their profession and for education as a whole.

    Education unions join in solidarity with Turkish teachers
  13. Opinion 28 February 2019

    "Students and Climate Change: A Lesson in Global Citizenship", by David Edwards

    David Edwards

    Student mobilisation on climate change is a strong call on democracy to deliver for the planet. It is a rejection of “climate deniers”, but also of “business as usual.” Its ultimate success will depend on expanding the mobilisation while graduating from protest to politics, including by linking lower carbon emissions...

    "Students and Climate Change: A Lesson in Global Citizenship", by David Edwards
  14. Opinion 24 January 2019

    #EI25: “Standing together: the power of teachers in the fight for democracy”, by Steffen Handal

    Steffen Handal

    The Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has said that "One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world." She is right. Education changes lives, communities and the world. It is both a key to changes in society and individual freedom projects. I therefore stand shoulder...

    #EI25: “Standing together: the power of teachers in the fight for democracy”, by Steffen Handal
  15. Opinion 20 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - “Teachers must feel safe for educating free generations”, by Özgür Bozdogan

    Özgür Bozdogan

    After the failed coup attempt on 15th of July, 2016, in Turkey, a state of emergency was declared on the 20th of July. The state of emergency was used to attack all opposition groups. This power grab was used to obtain further power as the Government issued decrees which enabled...

    #UDHR70 - “Teachers must feel safe for educating free generations”, by Özgür Bozdogan
  16. Opinion 19 December 2018

    #UDHR70 – “A banner of struggle for humanity”, by Yamile Socolovsky

    Yamile Socolovsky

    On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it seems inevitable that we ask ourselves whether in the ensuing time we have succeeded in advancing its goals, or whether those principles have ended up being nothing more than a well-intentioned, but ultimately futile statement of a humanistic...

    #UDHR70 – “A banner of struggle for humanity”, by Yamile Socolovsky