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Georgia: In Solidarity with ESFTUG

EI affiliate in Georgia, the the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia (ESFTUG) is organising a demonstration on 14 December to request the Parliament of Georgia to increase the funding of education during the budget discussion.

As a direct result of the shortage of funds in the school administrations, teachers and headmasters were dismissed en masse and schools were closed down, placing the future of children in the country in jeopardy. Earlier on, ESFTUG held a nationwide demonstration on 5 October, World Teachers' Day to rally for increased education funding.

EI also expressed concern about teachers' trade union rights in the country when the new labour code was drafted without consultation with any trade union organisation. The draft even ignores the right of trade unions to defend employees when unlawfully dismissed from their jobs and also the right of any court to consider complaints and take relevant decisions.

EI sent a message to Georgian teachers on 13 December, supporting their cause and reminding them that 29 million education workers are in solidarity with them. EI also wrote to Nino Burjanadze, Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, and Alexi Alexishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia, expressing its support for ESFTUG as well as urging them to include teachers in all negotiations and consultations on education funding within the framework of ongoing education reform.

For more information, please refer to EI's letters below in English: Message of support to the Georgian teachers and their union demonstrating for an increased funding of education in Georgia From Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary of Education International Brussels, 13 December 2005 Dear colleagues and friends, You are demonstrating today for a just cause. It is the responsibility of governments to make adequate funds available for education. Schooling influences decisively the future of people and the development of countries.

By making more money available for education and teachers, countries invest in the future of their population, in a brighter future. Georgia is strategically situated at the gateway between Europe and Asia. Georgia's children and students deserve quality teachers and decent school infrastructures to achieve the best possible outcomes of tomorrow's global economical challenges. If funding of education is crucial, social dialogue with teachers and their representative organisations on the content and implementation of education reforms is what makes a sound democratic regime.

Georgian teachers and workers deserve to be listened to as they are instrumental to the transition of the country. I wish you courage, determination and good luck, remembering that 29 million teachers in the world are in solidarity with you today and in your future endeavours.

Mrs Nino Burjanadze Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia Fax : +995-32-93 52 08 Brussels, 13th December 2005 Dear Mrs. Burjanadze, Education International (EI), the global union federation of teachers and other education workers, which represents over 29 million members in 166 countries and territories, counts the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia (ESFTUG) among its affiliates.

The ESFTUG has informed us of their serious concern about the mass dismissal of teachers and headmasters, the reduction and closing down of a number of schools and the deterioration of the teaching and learning conditions resulting from the lack of public funding for education.

Education International expresses its strong support to the teachers who will be demonstrating tomorrow in front of the Parliament to call for an increase in education funding. It is only when appropriate public funding for education is provided that the quality of education for all can be ensured.

Yours sincerely, Fred van Leeuwen General Secretary Mr. Alexi Alexishvili Minister of Finance of Georgia Fax : +995-32-93 19 22 Brussels, 13th December 2005 Dear Minister, Education International (EI), the global union federation of teachers and other education workers, which represents over 29 million members in 166 countries and territories, counts the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia (ESFTUG) among its affiliates.

The ESFTUG has informed us of their serious concern about the mass dismissal of teachers and headmasters, the reduction and closing down of a number of schools and the deterioration of the teaching and learning conditions resulting from the lack of public funding for education. Education International expresses its strong support to the teachers who will be demonstrating tomorrow in front of the Parliament to call for an increase in education funding. It is only when appropriate public funding for education is provided that the quality of education for all can be ensured. Education International urges the relevant authorities to include ESFTUG as an organisation representative of teachers in negotiations and consultations on education funding within the framework of ongoing educational reform. Yours sincerely, Fred van Leeuwen General Secretary cc. Mr. Alexander Lomaia, Minister of Education and Science of Georgia Fax: +995-32-95 99 81