"Education is not a commodity, education is a human right"

The Spanish teacher unions FETE-UGT, FECCOO and STES-I invited Spanish candidates for the European elections on 25 May 2014 to a panel discussion, asking them to make education a priority, their priority.

On 28 April 2014, Martin Rømer, ETUCE European Director, took the lead in the debate on “Education in Europe, a priority". Highlighting the upcoming elections to the European Parliament as a major event to overcome the economic instability in Europe, he called upon the candidates running for election for the EP to support ETUCE and its member organisations in making quality education a priority for Europe. Martin Rømer pointed out the importance of supporting initiatives such as fair tax policies to fund public education as a vital part to exit the crisis. He also reminded the participants that the European Parliament is the only European body elected by the European citizens and that its role has been further strengthened over the past years in recognition of the fact that the European Union obtains its power by the solidarity of the citizens.

Representatives from Spanish political parties, the central socialist, PSOE, the left-wing party IU and the central right (governing) party PP presented their proposals for education in the debate in which the teacher unions put on the table the main challenges faced by the Spanish educational system at present. They denounced the cuts in the education budget, the rise in university fees and strongly objected to the last education law (LOMCE) which the present government of Spain is seeking to implement. The three unions also drew the EP candidates’ attention to the precarious situation in which social dialogue and collective bargaining in the education sector in Spain are nowadays.

Carlos López Cortiñas, General Secretary of the Federation of Education of UGT, stressed the importance of reversing the current trends of privatisation of education to increase public awareness of the international education community. Francisco Garcia, General Secretary of the Federation of Education of CCOO, reminded the European Parliament candidates that investment in education should be a priority in the upcoming European legislative period.

FETE-UGT, FECCOO and STES -I asked Spanish MEPs to commit to support policies that will seek to ensure quality education, equal opportunities and social cohesion, ultimately to protect and consider education as a future investment. The three organisations re-cinfomred their strong commitment to the 10 ETUCE key messages on How to improve quality education in Europe? adopted by the ETUCE Committee in the frame of the EI/ETUCE campaign “United for Quality Education”.

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