Development Cooperation is an essential means of promoting and developing international solidarity, of putting a human face on the impact of economic globalization.
Through strengthening and supporting the institutional capacity of teacher unions, professional solidarity and cooperation becomes a reality between education unions around the world.
The primary objective of Development Cooperation in the education sector is to empower education unions to grow so they become active and powerful partners in the social dialogue and public policy setting in their national context, especially with relation to achieving quality Education for All.

An equally important objective is to enable them to function as independent, autonomous and democratic trade unions, which effectively represent, defend and promote the interests of their members within the framework of modern education systems and socially just, democratic and peaceful societies.

At a time when the enormous wealth generated by globalization is unevenly spread both among and within countries in the developing world, when the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 appears to be a formidable challenge, joint efforts through Development Cooperation are more important than ever.

Development Cooperation is enshrined within the statutes of Education International and its work of fostering networks and strengthening the trade union movement in the education sector is integral to the work across the organisation.


Development Cooperation contributes to the overall objectives of EI which include the following:

  • to further the cause of organisations of teachers and education employees;
  • to promote for all peoples and in all nations peace, democracy, social justice and equality;
  • to promote the right to education for all persons in the world;
  • to combat all forms of racism and of bias or discrimination in education and society;
  • to build solidarity and mutual cooperation among member organisations and
  • to promote unity among all independent and democratic trade unions.

Development Cooperation has been at the heart of EI since its foundation in 1993. The evolving context of Development Cooperation has been shaped by the following resolutions adopted at EI's World Congresses:

The Policy Declaration For a Transparent and Constructive Partnership, adopted by the EI Executive Board in 1997, provides the main guidelines of EI policy in the field of development cooperation. It is the product of numerous discussions over the years with the partners involved: the host and cooperating organisations engaged in specific and regular activities.

In 2007, at the annual EI Development Cooperation meeting, the EI cooperating partners decided to re-examine its existing policy document and to update it to reflect the new global context and meet the challenges with which teacher unions worldwide are confronted. Consultations were made over the last two years involving DC partners and EI regional and head quarters' staff and a drafting group started its work early 2010. A draft policy will be circulated in the course of June 2010 to all DC partners for consideration. It is envisaged to have the new EI DC policy submitted to the EI Executive Board for adoption. It will then guide EI and DC partners in their future DC efforts.

In addition, discussion and initiatives to further cooperation continue with the Global Union Federations through the Council of Global Unions formed in January 2007.

Development Cooperation is further defined through the following concepts:

  • Independence: must be central to the planning and carrying out of any Development cooperation work;
  • Democracy: development cooperation should strengthen the democratisation of teacher trade unions;
  • Autonomy: of the host organisations should be increased in order to strengthen, in the medium term, their capacity to assume responsibility for all aspects of the normal life of a teacher trade union;
  • Equity: is a cross-cutting issue and as such should be present in all Development cooperation endeavours;
  • Sustainable Development: means enabling host organisations to continue to progress or to retain an adequate level of activities once the international cooperation has come to an end and must be included in planning;
  • Long Term Process: development cooperation is a long-term process which demands from all partners a commitment in time, resources, effort, and problem-solving;
  • Two-Way Exchanges: should enrich all parties concerned and strengthen international solidarity;
  • Continuity: can be achieved through involving members in awareness-raising activities, financial support, resource person trainings, and building links with the host organization;
  • Partnership: means building a relationship based on mutual respect, trust, reliance and independence.

Development Cooperation should therefore be based on three main principles:

  • Transparency through the reciprocal and unlimited exchange of information.
  • Effectiveness through the appropriate use of the financial and human resources agreed on by the partners in the project.
  • Clarity through ongoing monitoring of the programme, problem-solving, and regular evaluation to measure the progress made in its implementation.

The EI World Congress in 1998 resolved to provide financial support for Development Cooperation activities with member organisation in developing countries from the EI Solidarity Fund. The decision of the EI Congress opened the way for the fund to not only respond efficiently to emergency situations but also to proactively provide assistance to teacher organisations in developing countries and countries in transition.

Each year, EI allocates 0.7 % of its annual income to the Solidarity Fund.

Role of EI

In this transparent and constructive partnership, EI acts primarily as a coordinator. EI also plays a role as a facilitator, convener, clearing-house, problem-solver, mediator and go between. EI encourages the parties concerned to take the general interest into account and to promote activities corresponding to the objectives and decisions of the EI Congress.

In line with its coordinating role, EI, in order to better facilitate cooperation, collects and disseminates information on current development cooperation aims, programmes and activities around the globe, to assist the regional offices and cooperating partners in project coordination and, proposes future activities in response to identified trends and needs. EI offers its expertise in planning, implementing and evaluating projects and formulating technical proposals when required.

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