Education International Barometer - Human and trade union rights at risk

published 24 July 2007 updated 24 July 2007

More than 200 years after the official abolition of the slave trade, 100 years since women first won the right to vote, and 60 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, millions of children and adults around the world are still denied their fundamental rights in school and society.

That is the message of the Education International Barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights 2007, which will be launched today at the 5th World Congress taking place at the Estrel Convention Centre in Berlin.

The Education International Barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights

The 2007 edition of the Barometer provides the most comprehensive evaluation yet of the quality of education and the respect for human and trade union rights in all countries recognized by the United Nations. It was written by Sheena Hanley, a distinguished teacher and trade unionist who has served as President of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and as a Deputy General Secretary of EI.

Is there any good news? Yes, indeed. “Some countries are making heroic efforts,” Hanley said. “Enrolment is up, they’re providing scholarships for girls, they’re providing school meals, they’re helping AIDS orphans, building dorms for them, and so on. Still, these are very small initiatives in the overall scheme of things.”

Hanley spent more than two years researching and cross-checking multiple sources of information to compile the most detailed Barometer yet. In addition to examining early childhood, primary, secondary and higher education, it explores issues of academic freedom, gender equality, refugee and minority children, and child labour. It also includes analysis of criteria never before included, such as services to students with special needs, services to refugee children, and others.

“The Barometer is an invaluable tool for educators, scholars, students, parents, and everyone who cares about the fundamental right to quality education for every child,” says EI President Thulas Nxesi.

The Barometer is published on CD and on the EI web portal. That way, the country reports can be updated to reflect changing circumstances in education and trade union rights. Using the Barometer data base, scholars will be able to track changes over time and conduct comparative analyses to inform policy development, critique governmental directions, etc.

Hanley and EI hope that the Barometer will provide useful information for education advocates. “For decades we have heard promises by the rich countries but, except for a few like the Netherlands and Norway, they have simply not kept them,” she said. “Now it is time for the international community to recommit to achieving quality Education For All.”

The 2007 Education International Barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights is now available online at: www.ei-ie.org/barometer