Iraq: Education union demands improvements in the education sector
On the occasion of World Teachers’ Day, 5 October, the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU) called on the government to improve educators’ working and living conditions and the quality of education at all levels.
The KTU asked Kurdistan’s public authorities to:
- Not let teachers return to classrooms without ensuring proper health and safety conditions.
- Pay teachers’ salaries without any deductions.
- Start system of promotion.
- Start distributing accommodation for teachers.
- Officially appoint educators according to principals’ demands and needs.
- Approve draft legislation
The education union also demanded that the Kurdistan Parliament approve the draft legislation aiming to protect teachers’ rights and respect their efforts and commitment. This draft was submitted by the KTU two years ago to the national Parliament’s President and Committee of Education and Higher Education.
“However, it requires allocating the necessary budget, because what has been done so far does not improve the education and higher education process,” said KTU President, Abdalwahed M. Haje.
Importance of social dialogue
The KTU is keen to be involved in social dialogue around the country’s education process. Haje welcomed the KTU’s inclusion in discussions with Kurdistan’s Regional Governments and institutions, as well as the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, on measures to improve the educational process and higher education.
This social dialogue model has been used internationally, the KTU leader noted. “Teachers' organisations and unions formally participated in the design of programmes and principles of the educational process and in higher education that have borne good results,” he said.
Now, more than ever, such dialogue is vital given the difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Haje said. More discussions and consultations should be conducted with relevant people, including parents, students, and educational experts, to get the best and safest solutions for the education sector. Individual, unilateral decisions risk being “harmful and damaging to the education process”, he warned.
World Teachers’ Day activities
To celebrate World Teachers’ Day (WTD), KTU undertook a range of activities. Some of these included:
- On 5 October, the union was featured during Education International’s 24-hour global broadcast on social media. During the section highlighting the Asia-Pacific region, a video speech about the situation and challenges facing teachers in Kurdistan was screened.
- The KTU WTD message was read on 6 October by KTU branch officials during demonstrations.
- The union published many messages/speeches about the importance of WTD and congratulated teachers on social media.
- Several banners were erected highlighting the civil struggle in Kurdistan and teachers’ rights.
- Tributes were paid to many retired teachers.
- Union officials visited public foundations and health centres, acknowledging and thanking workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.