On 14 December, France’s Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale (MGEN), a joint founder organisation of the Education and Solidarity Network along with EI, organised a European and international day on the theme of ‘Social Protection: Citizens’ Rights and Duties’.
Throughout the day, participants reiterated the fact that while the State’s role in devising and implementing social protection systems is vital, civil society stakeholders must also be encouraged to get involved. The involvement of employers and trade unions enhances the political legitimacy and permanence of social protection systems.
This debate provided EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, who took part in the first round table discussion of the day, with an opportunity to remind those present of the basic requirement of good living conditions for teachers and their families if they are to provide quality education. Through their teaching, they should ensure that their pupils gain a good understanding of this fight for a better quality of life and better social protection. Pupils can then take ownership of it and make it part of a genuine culture of social protection which includes an understanding of both their rights and duties to society.
“Investing in social protection means investing in social justice and economic development. Social protection systems are important tools for reducing poverty and inequality,” explained Fred van Leeuwen.
He then presented the resolution on social protection education which was unanimously adopted at EI Congress in Cape Town in July.
The aims of this resolution, which forms part of the framework of international texts on human rights (Declaration of Human Rights, ILO agreements, Bachelet report, etc.), are as follows:
- To mobilise member organisations to engage in advocacy of social protection at local, national and international level;
- To enable members to engage in specific social protection programmes in educational institutions; and
- To enable EI to develop its action on social protection within the Education and Solidarity Network.
EI General Secretary concluded: “Our aim must be to mobilise the entire population to achieve quality, solidarity-based social protection throughout the world.”