Ei-iE

Lithuania: EI sends message of support to Lithuanian teachers

published 21 February 2007 updated 21 February 2007

EI sends its message of support to teachers in Lithuania who will be protesting outside the Ministry of Education on 21 Feb at 14:45hrs.

Approximately 400 education workers from the Lithuanian Education Employees Trade Union (LEETU) will gather outside the ministry's building in Vilnius to protest again the lack of social dialogue in the implementation of education reforms.

"Ignoring the educational practitioners and teachers' representatives as social partners would not only be wrong, but also unwise!" wrote EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen in his letter to the Minister of Education and Science, Roma Zakaitienë, dated 20 Feb. "Social dialogue with teachers and their representative organisations on the contents and implementation of education reforms is essential to a sound democratic regime."

Teachers must be listened to as they are instrumental in implementing the reforms needed to improve the educational system, he continued.

Below is EI's message of support in English to LEETU dated 20 Feb:

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Message of support to the Lithuanian teachers and their union demonstrating for increased social dialogue

From Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary of Education International

Brussels, 20 February 2007:

Dear colleagues and friends,

You are demonstrating today for a just cause. Social dialogue is a cornerstone of democracy. Lithuania, as a member of the tripartite International Labour Organisation, is well aware that workers' organisations, including teacher unions and associations, need to be consulted. The main goal of social dialogue is to promote consensus building and democratic involvement.

Education International shares the concern of the Lithuanian Education Employees Trade Union (LEETU) that the Government implements "faithfully" the agreement on education reforms signed in November 2006. As education policies shape the present reality and future opportunities of students, these policies must be implemented only after careful, considered, and comprehensive discussion with the teachers' representatives.

Ignoring the educational practitioners and teachers' representatives as social partners would not only be wrong. It is unwise! Social dialogue with teachers and their representative organisations on the contents and implementation of education reforms is essential to a sound democratic regime. Successful social dialogue structures and processes have the potential to resolve important economic and social issues, encourage good governance, advance social peace and stability, boost economic progress and guarantee a bright future for Lithuania's children.

Teachers must be listened to as they are instrumental in implementing the reforms needed to improve the educational system.

I wish you courage, determination and good luck, remembering that 30 million teachers in the world are in solidarity with you today and in your future endeavours.