Education International
Education International

Research is 'key tool to substantiate our claims'

published 15 March 2011 updated 11 April 2011

The General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, has told participants who gathered at the seventh EI Research Network meeting, to press on because “without research or data on a raft of indicators, it is virtually impossible to achieve our objectives.”

He added: “We will increasingly need to undertake research activities and become more dependent on this work. We have incredible potential with our combined capacities. The challenge is to use that potential in the most efficient and effective way.”

He directed participants to studies that EI had undertaken and which teachers’ unions had successfully used to lobby their governments and get the teacher voice heard more strongly: “A few years ago we made a promising start, both in terms of studies completed and in terms of partnerships with external groups and institutions. An example is the work of our task force on public-private partnerships which had a strong research component. The work on the impact of the crisis in the CEE region also helped unions to confront their governments. I think the upcoming study on corporate taxes will have a tremendous impact too.”

Discussing EI' sixth World Congress, to be held in Cape Town during July 2011, Mr. van Leeuwen said: “Congress will address professional issues, education and public services, democracy and human and trade union rights...[and]... invite us to undertake studies on topics such as teacher migration.”

He added: “It is good that a study is underway on the future of the teaching profession. We have learned how little research there is on the profession.”

Mentioning the current attack on unions in the USA, where state governors are trying to eradicate collective bargaining rights, Mr. van Leeuwen said: “Member organisations are currently coping with new ways of collecting membership fees. We must find new ways to unionise, expand and retain membership. Undertaking research activities on that will help our unions to find better ways to function.”

He finished by reminding participants that research is a core EI activity and indispensable to defend members and help us achieve our objectives: "We made the right choice to establish this network and to connect it to the EI Research Institute. This foundation has a bright future despite challenges we will have to face in the immediate future.”