Arab teacher union leaders have reasserted the need for public authorities in their region to listen to teacher organisations carefully, especially concerning current burning issues in their schools, notably refugee students and educators.
The 13th Education International (EI) Arab Countries Cross Regional Structure (ACCRS) Standing Committee meeting provided an occasion for Arab education unions’ top representatives to meet with the EI General secretary David Edwards and discuss a number of issues related to their current concerns for education in the Arab countries, e.g. teachers’ professional status, privatisation trends in education, or the most pressing issue of the denial of human and trade union rights in a number of Arab countries.
The event, held in Beirut, Lebanon, from 30 April-1st May, was chaired by Hussein Boujarra of Tunisia, and attended by, in addition to the EI General Secretary, EI Vice-President for Africa Mugwena Maluleke, EI Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst and EI regional coordinator Huda Khoury.
The EI representatives remained in Lebanon to participate in Global Campaign for Education (GCE) conferences for the Arab coalition for Education for All (ACEA), from 1st-3 May. The conference entitled “Financing ED 2030; Revisiting the role of civil society in the Middle East” allowed participants to network and explain the importance of the teachers’ role, especially during the session on the “Role of education unions in accountability towards financing ED 2030”.
The EI General Secretary also met with Lebanese EI affiliates and the Minister of Education. The issue of education of refugees was highlighted on this occasion, given the large number of refugees in Lebanese public schools, EI, at the international level, is promoting better conditions for both refugees and teachers in all refugee host countries.