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 20 July 2022

    Burkina Faso: teacher trade unionists work for democracy despite numerous political crises

    Following a series of coups d'état in Burkina Faso, the most recent of which took place on 24 January 2022, the Syndicat national des enseignants du secondaire et du supérieur (SNESS - National Union of Secondary and Higher Education Teachers), with financial support from the Canadian Teachers' Federation, organised a...

    Burkina Faso: teacher trade unionists work for democracy despite numerous political crises
  2. News 8 July 2022

    European educators reaffirm their commitment to enhance the status of the teaching profession for inclusive, peaceful, democratic and sustainable societies

    Confronted with turbulent times for teachers, educational staff and their trade unions, delegates at the Special Conference of the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), the European region of Education International (EI), took a pro-active stand and reasserted their will to mobilise and organise for quality public education, for...

    European educators reaffirm their commitment to enhance the status of the teaching profession for inclusive, peaceful, democratic and sustainable societies
  3. News 7 July 2022

    Iraq: An attack on teachers leads to the destruction of society

    Strongly condemning the murder of two academics in its Iraqi region, the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU) has reaffirmed that an attack on teachers is an attack on education, which is the keystone of peaceful, healthy and sustainable society.

    Iraq: An attack on teachers leads to the destruction of society
  4. News 17 June 2022

    Afghanistan: International solidarity to face human and education rights violations

    International solidarity was reaffirmed at a webinar on Protecting the Right to Education of Girls in Afghanistan organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Unite the Union. Participants took stock of the educational and trade union situation in the country.

    Afghanistan: International solidarity to face human and education rights violations
  5. News 9 June 2022

    Afghanistan: Union ensures the distribution of allowances to unpaid teachers

    The National Teachers Elected Council (NTEC) has played a key role in ensuring that UNICEF’s badly needed emergency funds reach teachers across Afghanistan and advocating for secondary girls access to education be reinstated.

    Afghanistan: Union ensures the distribution of allowances to unpaid teachers
  6. Statements 1 June 2022

    Afghanistan: The Taliban regime must stop its attacks on the teaching profession

    Education International condemns the abusive measures imposed by the Taliban government on universities and higher education institutions in Afghanistan. These measures are in clear violation of the principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy, as enshrined in the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the status of higher education teaching personnel .

    Afghanistan: The Taliban regime must stop its attacks on the teaching profession
  7. News 25 May 2022

    Afghanistan: As the Taliban regime undermines education, peace and human rights, Education International and its member organisations step up their actions

    Education International’s Afghanistan Teachers’ Rights Observatory (ATRO), to be launched in September 2022, is the latest in a series of strong actions undertaken demonstrating the global education community’s solidarity with Afghan educators and populations, who are undergoing great hardship under the rule of the Taliban.

    Afghanistan: As the Taliban regime undermines education, peace and human rights, Education International and its member organisations step up their actions
  8. News 23 May 2022

    Rabat Declaration underlines the need for international standards to bring all political abuses of religions to a halt

    The participants in the Rabat Global Conference held in Morocco’s capital city from May 11-12 adopted the Declaration reasserting the need to coordinate efforts to build global consensus on setting international rules to eliminate the use of religion in violating human rights. They called on the international community and all...

    Rabat Declaration underlines the need for international standards to bring all political abuses of religions to a halt
  9. News 3 May 2022

    Afghanistan: reaffirming strong support for exiled trade unionists and for the return of democracy, freedom and equality

    Together with French affiliates and leaders of French national and international trade union confederations, Education International took stock of the catastrophic situation of democracy and education in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. It also reiterated its commitment to and solidarity with Afghan trade unionists who, despite being exiled in France, are...

    Afghanistan: reaffirming strong support for exiled trade unionists and for the return of democracy, freedom and equality
  10. 27 April 2022

    Haiti: Seeds of international solidarity bear fruit

    Education International is pleased to report that it has received letters from member organisations in Haiti informing it that the repression against union leaders has been lifted, following a strong show of solidarity from education unions around the world.

    Haiti: Seeds of international solidarity bear fruit
  11. Opinion 4 April 2022

    The Russian Invasion of Ukraine Shows the Importance of Protecting Democratic Values through Education

    Armand Doucet, Michael Soskil, Noah Zeichner

    The immediacy of today's vivid news cycle as Russia invades Ukraine has not spared our children. In our youth, caring adults often buffered us from disturbing topics like war, nuclear threats, and human cruelty. Today, our children have no such insulation. They are overwhelmed with horrific images, graphic videos, and...

    The Russian Invasion of Ukraine Shows the Importance of Protecting Democratic Values through Education
  12. News 1 April 2022

    Jordan: The harassment against union leaders and members must stop immediately

    Education International has strongly reiterated its condemnation of the acts of harassment against the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA), its leaders and members. It deplores the criminalisation of legitimate trade union activities including marches and demonstrations.

    Jordan: The harassment against union leaders and members must stop immediately
  13. News 27 March 2022

    Uruguay: Unions say yes to public education

    Education International in full solidarity with its affiliates

    Against all the odds, trade union organisations and grassroots movements in Uruguay secured a referendum in the country to overturn a series of government-imposed measures set to undermine public education and encourage privatisation.

    Uruguay: Unions say yes to public education
  14. Opinion 11 March 2022

    War in Europe: Unions must stand together to defend democracy

    Fred van Leeuwen

    "We know that they lie; They know that they lie; They know that we know that they lie; We know that they know that we know that they lie; And yet they persist lying." Aleksandr Isajevitsj Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

    War in Europe: Unions must stand together to defend democracy
  15. Publications

    Schools shall be safe sanctuaries

    Education International declaration on violent political and military attacks against education institutions, students, teachers, academics and all other education personnel
    11 March 2022

    This declaration voices the collective demand by teachers and their unions worldwide that the international community take action to ensure that education is both protected in conflicts and enabled to realize its potential as a force for peace in the world.

    Schools shall be safe sanctuaries
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