Francophone education unions assemble to improve the teaching profession

After meeting in Dakar, the Board of the Comité Syndical Francophone pour l’Education et la Formation committed to promoting quality public education accessible to all, as well as increase vibrant and respected teacher trade unionism.

The privatisation and commodification of education

The Board of the Comité Syndical Francophone pour l’Education et la Formation (CSFEF), meeting in Dakar, Senegal, from 26 to 28 October, first of all evaluated its participation in the Francophone civil society meeting against the privatisation and commodification of education, which was held in the same city from 23 to 26 October. Although the Board was pleased to have been able to discuss the issue of commodification with various francophone civil society stakeholders, it expressed serious concerns regarding the orientation of the guiding principles of human rights intended to enable states to supervise private schools, and the process which governs their development. These principles are supported by NGOs, with which Education International has strong disagreements regarding the strategy to be followed in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Overview of education and teacher trade unionism

The Board then reviewed the overview of education and teacher trade unionism in the francophone countries, including Europe, Quebec and the various regions of the African continent in which French is spoken. Vinod Seegum (GTU/Mauritius) gave an unprecedented overview of the education system and trade union organisation in his country, and Awa Wade (UDEN/Senegal) provided a detailed commentary of the results of the recent workplace elections in Senegal.

Augustin Tumba Nzuji (FENECO/Democratic Republic of Congo) described a catastrophic security situation in the DRC, where school fees are rising sharply in public education. As the economic and trade union context continues to worsen in Mauritius and Algeria, the right-wing governments in Morocco and Tunisia are continuing their policies restricting education budgets. “In those countries, the teacher's status continue to deteriorate,” warned Slim Ghriss (SGEB/Tunisia).

The PASEC 2019 study

The Board of the CSFEF then expressed concern about the preparations for the Education System Analysis Programme of the Conference of Education Ministers of the States and governments of the Francophonie (PASEC) 2019 study, one component of which should cover the evaluation of teachers in 15 countries of francophone Africa. The CSFEF, which has expressed the desire to be involved with the development of the study, has only received scant information and fears that the governments are using it as a pretext to strike off thousands of contract teachers, as recently happened in Niger. 

Upcoming CSFEF Overview

After discussing the progress made in a series of projects, in particular relating to social dialogue, media education and the prevention of violent extremism, the Board began drawing up a questionnaire intended for Francophone education unions and aiming to enable the CSFEF to present its next Panorama (Overview) publication at the CSFEF meeting scheduled for late 2018. One component of Panorama will be devoted to the occupational health of teachers.

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