Global Action Week : EI affiliates join up for education rights!
EI wishes to congratulate all those teachers and their unions who put substantial time, effort and creativity into lobbying for improvements to public education during Global Action Week.
Global Action Week in the Netherlands (source: AOb/Netherlands)
EI affiliates worldwide were actively involved in their national Global Action Week campaigns. They displayed great energy and creativity to capture public and media attention, and put quality Education For All at the centre of public debate. In countries that are struggling to rebuild in the wake of armed conflicts, Global Action Week provided a key opportunity to remind governments that education should not come second to other priorities. Educators in Burundi, who had to postpone their GAW activities, will emphasize this at a donors’ roundtable on debt relief and reconstruction.
In Liberia, activities included parades, official visits to schools, and a media campaign. An event organised by the national coalition allowed participants to publicly question the priority given to repayment of foreign debt over financing the education system.
Emmanuel Fatoma from EI Africa gave a bleak picture of the current state of education systems all over Africa. Elie Jouen, Deputy General Secretary of EI, made a similar statement in Ivory Coast, where the enrolment rate has plummeted by 25% since the beginning of the armed conflict, and where the government is delaying the ratification of its Education For All plan.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Canadian and French unions demonstrated international solidarity by helping to organize a capacity-building seminar. Many colourful activities took place all around this large country, including a human chain involving more than 1,000 children joined up in front of the Parliament.
Global Action Week in Brazil (source: CNTE/Brazil)
An EI representative also took part to the campaign in Morocco: Gaston De la Haye, Deputy General Secretary of EI, was present at well-attended events (marches and seminars) in Fes and Meknes.
In some other countries, commitment has already been demonstrated to Education for All. Unions and coalitions used Global Action Week to remind their governments of those commitments and to discuss how to implement jointly the national plans. TSL in Lebanon issued a survey on children left out of the education system and organised meetings to present it officially to government authorities.
In Ghana, education officials participated to the events , praised the work of the national coalition for EFA, and called on civil society to help implement the national action plan. Albanian unions spearheaded the massive mobilisation in their country. A successful media campaign and activities in all regions preceded an event where representatives of the Ministry of Education emphasized their commitment to Education for All and highlighted the unions’ contribution.
A massive mobilisation took also place in India, where activities were organised in 13 states and a human chain joined up 5,000 participants.Issues such as in-service training and education of girls were discussed at various meetings.
Activities also took place all around Uganda, where a media campaign and the wide distribution of material helped spread the campaign messages.
In Korea, Global Action Week was the highlight of a campaign on disabled persons’ education, and the union is glad to report that new legislation on that issue was passed on 30 April.
In other countries, Global Action Week was the opportunity to campaign on Education For All throughout the world. Children, teachers and the general public demonstrated solidarity and demanded an increase in development aid for education.
In Spain, a colourful campaign was organised involving thousands of children and generating extensive media coverage. Unions were also actively involved in the UK national coalition, which implemented the Join Up campaign. In Finland, OAJ produced a brochure on problems hindering the implementation of EFA around the world. In the United States, the NEA set up a website where educators could find resources to organise activities in the classroom and join the world campaign. In Belgium, Global Action Week was organised for the first time by IDAY, a coalition of organisations working on education in Africa. During their seminar on April 25, working groups drafted recommendations, which were presented to the Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation.
These and many other activities organised by affiliates and coalitions in other countries all helped to make Global Action Week a great success and Education for All a priority on the road to 2015. Many thanks again to all participants!