The first Education International regional seminar for young and early stage education unionists has clearly shown the young African education unionists’ commitment to not only increase their involvement in their own unions but also support education policies that promote quality education for all in the region.
This activity was held on 4 November ahead of the 9th Education International (EI) Africa Regional Conference and is an outgrowth of the Resolution on young and early-stage teachers, researchers and support personnel adopted at the 7th EI World Congress in 2015.
Thirty young activists from fifteen Anglophone as well as Francophone African countries gathered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for the seminar.
Overall, the seminar had three objectives:
· Create a safe space for young and early career stage teacher unionists to network with peers within EI member organisations in the region.
· Deepen participants’ understanding of the global and regional education policy environments, including the link to and impact on national level advocacy and campaigning by education unions.
· Allow participants to identify strategies to increase both the participation of young and early stage members in their unions and the representation of these members within their unions’ decision-making and leadership structures.
The programme of the seminar was therefore centered around a thorough and specific discussion on young people’s specific contribution and importance to unions, while also working to identify bottlenecks and solutions.
As the result of the seminar, participants have drafted and delivered a communique to the EI Africa Regional Conference. The communique, which contains recommendations to their unions and to EI at the regional and global levels, aims to increase young members’ participation in all structures of the unions, and especially boost their role in decision-making and union leadership. They also released an EI Africa Regional Resolution on young members in education unions.