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 17 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - "In Burundi the union is standing firm in its struggle for teachers’ rights", by Rémy Nsengiyumva.

    Rémy Nsengiyumva

    Still active after more than two decades of struggle for the socio-professional rights of Burundi’s teachers, the Syndicat des Travailleurs de l’Enseignement du Burundi (STEB) is slowly recovering from the social crisis that shook the country. With the support of leaders who are committed to reverse the current situation, teachers...

    #UDHR70 - "In Burundi the union is standing firm in its struggle for teachers’ rights", by Rémy Nsengiyumva.
  2. Opinion 17 December 2018

    #EI25: “Trade unionism, the teaching profession, and democracy”, interview of EI General Secretary Emeritus Fred van Leeuwen

    Fred van Leeuwen

    2018 is the 25th anniversary of the creation of Education International. As this anniversary year draws to a close, we are publishing an interview of Fred van Leeuwen who served the organization as General Secretary of EI for its first quarter century. This discussion offers a reflection on the substantial...

    #EI25: “Trade unionism, the teaching profession, and democracy”, interview of EI General Secretary Emeritus Fred van Leeuwen
  3. Opinion 15 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - “Trade Union Rights are Human Rights: South Korean Teachers Deprived of Union Representation”, by Hyunsu Hwang

    Hyunsu Hwang

    On December 10, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in his speech to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Human Rights Day: "Among countries that went through colonial rule, dictatorship, and war, there are few countries that have the level of South Korean human rights." He added, “there is still a...

    #UDHR70 - “Trade Union Rights are Human Rights: South Korean Teachers Deprived of Union Representation”, by Hyunsu Hwang
  4. Opinion 13 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - “Our struggle in Bahrain … Might be yours”, by Jalila Al-Salman

    Jalila Al-Salman

    The Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA) was established in October 2001 after a long journey of teachers’ struggles to obtain their representative body. It was founded after the King Hamad presented a package of reforms, including allowing associations representing professionals in the public sector to exist, even though unions are still...

    #UDHR70 - “Our struggle in Bahrain … Might be yours”, by Jalila Al-Salman
  5. Opinion 12 December 2018

    #UDHR70 – “A Struggle to Survive and Thrive Under a Dictatorship”, by Marie Antoinette Corr

    Marie Antoinette Corr

    In his book “Mein Kampf”, Hitler said "If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed". The dictator Yahya Jammeh knew how to terrorize the masses through threats and cajoling. When he said "Gambia will become an economic superpower by 2012", almost everyone...

    #UDHR70 – “A Struggle to Survive and Thrive Under a Dictatorship”, by Marie Antoinette Corr
  6. Opinion 11 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - “Teacher trade unionism in Djibouti: verdict of a life of sacrifice”, by Ahmed-Kadar Nour Ismail

    Ahmed-Kadar Nour Ismail

    On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the time has come for me to look back over more than 30 years of personal commitment to national education in my country, and more than 20 years of trade union activism within the Syndicat des...

    #UDHR70 - “Teacher trade unionism in Djibouti: verdict of a life of sacrifice”, by Ahmed-Kadar Nour Ismail
  7. Opinion 10 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - "On Dignity: Reflections on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", by David Edwards

    David Edwards

    The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights is an occasion to be inspired by its principles and its origin. It is an opportunity for trade unionists and educators to reflect on its values and the aspirations it represents and to stand up, speak out and act. It...

    #UDHR70 - "On Dignity: Reflections on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", by David Edwards
  8. Opinion 13 November 2018

    “Reclaiming Academic Freedom in Malaysia: The Dawn of A New Era?” by Dr Lai Suat Yan

    Dr Lai Suat Yan

    There was rapturous joy on 10 May 2018 when it was officially announced that the opposition party, namely, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope, PH) won. The rule of the former governing political party, Barisan Nasional (National Front), lasting for the last 60 years, had come to an end. It was...

    “Reclaiming Academic Freedom in Malaysia: The Dawn of A New Era?” by Dr Lai Suat Yan
  9. Opinion 31 October 2018

    “It is time to stop hate and bigotry and teachers should lead”, by Fernando M. Reimers

    Fernando M. Reimers

    I am heartbroken and concerned. I am heartbroken because last saturday, as members of the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh celebrated the Sabbath, an armed man entered the Temple and shot on those there as he made anti-semitic statements, murdering eleven people who had come keep the holy day,...

    “It is time to stop hate and bigotry and teachers should lead”, by Fernando M. Reimers
  10. News 9 October 2018

    25 Lessons on Education and Democracy

    On the occasion of World Teachers Day, October 5th, Education International presented ‘25 Lessons on Education and Democracy’. The 25 lessons learned are linked to the 25 years of the existence of Education International.

    25 Lessons on Education and Democracy
  11. News 24 September 2018

    Francophone education unions, the driving force of democracy, the guardians of public education and union solidarity

    At the 16th Meeting of the Comité Syndical Francophone de l’Education et de la Formation (Francophone Trade Union Committee for Education and Training), the Education International General Secretary, David Edwards, called on all French-speaking affiliates to defend democracy, human rights and trade union rights, to fight privatisation, and to strive...

    Francophone education unions, the driving force of democracy, the guardians of public education and union solidarity
  12. Opinion 23 August 2018

    #EI25: “When Ordinary People Demand Justice”, by Lily Eskelsen García

    Lily Eskelsen García

    Sometimes what touches us at an international meeting isn’t what’s on the agenda. It’s what was outside on the street. Sometimes it’s the crushing courage of tiny, fragile grandmothers who would not be stopped and who serve as an example to all social justice activists of what we are called...

    #EI25: “When Ordinary People Demand Justice”, by Lily Eskelsen García
  13. Opinion 25 July 2018

    In Latin America, teachers and students champion the right to attend university, by Yamile Socolovsky

    Yamile Socolovsky

    15 June marked the centenary of the university reform led by the student movement in Córdoba, Argentina. This pioneering reform paved the way for a democratic reconstruction of academic institutions that shook the entire region. The transformation of Latin American public universities became a permanent battleground between those who yearned...

    In Latin America, teachers and students champion the right to attend university, by Yamile Socolovsky