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 8 January 2021

    USA: Education unions condemn attack on democracy

    The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have reacted to the 6 January’s assault in Washington DC, where rioters encouraged by President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress to certify the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

    USA: Education unions condemn attack on democracy
  2. News 28 October 2020

    Executive Board adopts resolution on the role of education in stimulating critical thinking and freedom of expression and promoting democracy

    The 56th meeting of the Education International’s Executive Board, meeting virtually on 27 October, adopted a resolution in support of teaching about freedom of expression, free discussion, and critical thinking, all of which equip students to be active citizens. The resolution was adopted following the atrocious murder of French history...

    Executive Board adopts resolution on the role of education in stimulating critical thinking and freedom of expression and promoting democracy
  3. News 23 October 2020

    Extraordinary Global Education Meeting reaffirms commitments to SDG 4 and calls for accelerated funding and global solidarity

    An extraordinary session of the UNESCO Global Education Meeting (GEM) took place today, 22 October. It was preceded by a technical meeting on the 20th devoted to policy preparation. The meeting focused on global priorities for recovery in education and accelerated action in order to make progress on achieving SDG...

    Extraordinary Global Education Meeting reaffirms commitments to SDG 4 and calls for accelerated funding and global solidarity
  4. News 22 October 2020

    PISA 2018 Volume 6: ‘Are Students Ready to Thrive in an Interconnected World?’

    The OECD PISA Volume 6 report, released today, broadens considerably the criteria for assessment and international comparisons of PISA. For the first time, the report, based on data collected in 2018, examines students’ global competence. It looks at the ability of 15-year old students to consider local, global, and inter-cultural...

    PISA 2018 Volume 6: ‘Are Students Ready to Thrive in an Interconnected World?’
  5. News 18 September 2020

    Philippines: International solidarity with workers and unionists facing tyranny

    Education International has joined other Global Unions in a webinar backing Filipino workers and trade unionists who fight to defend from governmental siege rights and democracy. The discussion was organised by the Council of Global Unions (CGU). The CGU groups Global Union Federations like EI with the International Trade Union...

    Philippines: International solidarity with workers and unionists facing tyranny
  6. News 16 September 2020

    US: AFT and RFK Human Rights launch human rights and democracy programme

    The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), working with RFK Human Rights will launch a programme to share lesson plans on human rights and democracy developed by classroom teachers at a webinar on 17 September. The webinar, “Defenders of Human Rights and Democracy in Your Community” will feature AFT President Randi...

    US: AFT and RFK Human Rights launch human rights and democracy programme
  7. News 28 August 2020

    United States: AFT mobilises for 28 August March on Washington

    Many thousands of people are marching in Washington, DC in the “Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks”. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), several other trade unions as well as civil rights and other civil society organisations are mobilising to bring attention to systemic racism, the need for...

    United States: AFT mobilises for 28 August March on Washington
  8. News 6 August 2020

    United States: American Federation of Teachers holds convention in time of crisis

    The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), in a convention held virtually, organised a series of discussions and adopted resolutions on education, trade union and policy issues. The convention endorsed Joe Biden for President by a vote of more than 90 per cent of delegates after an unprecedented, extensive membership consultation...

    United States: American Federation of Teachers holds convention in time of crisis
  9. News 6 July 2020

    USA: The National Education Association holds virtual Representative Assembly

    On 2 and 3 July, the National Education Association (NEA) of the United States held a virtual representative assembly with the participation of over 7,000 delegates. The theme of the assembly was “Our Democracy; Our Responsibility; Our time”.

    USA: The National Education Association holds virtual Representative Assembly
  10. News 2 July 2020

    Council of Global Unions Joint Solidarity Statement | Justice for Lee Cheuk Yan and ensuring fundamental rights in Hong Kong

    The Council of Global Unions (CGU) – representing more than 200 million workers from across the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Global Union Federations and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) – wholeheartedly condemns the unlawful arrests of trade union and prodemocracy leaders and activists by...

    Council of Global Unions Joint Solidarity Statement | Justice for Lee Cheuk Yan and ensuring fundamental rights in Hong Kong
  11. News 1 July 2020

    Democracy Conference: Trade unions unite to shape a better post-pandemic world

    Leading progressive thinkers and union leaders came together in a joint Education International-Public Services International online event to discuss the post-COVID-19 future and how to shape it. Union leaders from around the world were addressed by high-profile keynote speakers at the Democracy Conference on 29 June.

    Democracy Conference: Trade unions unite to shape a better post-pandemic world
  12. Opinion 30 June 2020

    "Between Pandemic and Pandemonium", by Carlos Abicalil.

    Carlos Abicalil

    I write this article following the announcement that the Minister of State for Education, Abraham Weintraub, has stepped down from his position: the second such occurrence in the first year and a half of President Bolsonaro’s administration. It has been revealed that he is to take on the role of...

    "Between Pandemic and Pandemonium", by Carlos Abicalil.
  13. News 26 June 2020

    Education International and Public Services International convene high-profile online conference

    Education International and Public Services International have joined forces for a high-profile conference that brings together leading progressive thinkers and union leaders to discuss the post-Covid19 future and how to shape it. The online event will take place on 29 June.

    Education International and Public Services International convene high-profile online conference
  14. News 11 June 2020

    Uruguay: Public education under threat

    The new conservative government of Uruguay, that took office last March, has submitted a bill for urgent consideration (Ley de Urgente Consideración, or LUC) to Parliament that set off alarm bells amongst Uruguayan society for being deeply antidemocratic in form and substance. The urgent bill shows how the country is...

    Uruguay: Public education under threat
  15. Opinion 5 May 2020

    “The impact of COVID-19 on society in the Asia-Pacific region”, by Masaki Okajima.

    Masaki Okajima

    COVID-19 is spreading worldwide, impacting children, educators, parents and, most seriously, vulnerable people. The pandemic has affected over 1.5 billion learners in 192 countries in the world. School closures affect over 91% of the world’s enrolled student population and teaching personnel. Most countries in Asia-Pacific have been taking measures to...

    “The impact of COVID-19 on society in the Asia-Pacific region”, by Masaki Okajima.