In May 2008, Education International and some of the Consortium partners (teacher unions from Australia, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States) were represented at the first meeting which was held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to formally initiate the cooperation and partnership with the EI affiliates in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The meeting enabled EI and the Consortium partners to gain a better understanding of the social, economic and political situation in the Central Asian countries and its impact on education; to become acquainted with the educational systems; to share information on the work and policies of EI, its Consortium partners and the EI affiliates in Central Asia.
Furthermore, participating unions identified the priorities and areas of possible cooperation detailed in the Draft National Action Plans (NAPs). These NAPs were revised and further improved during the three-day National Planning Meetings with the four participating affiliates in August and September 2008.
The number of participants in each Planning Meeting amounted to about 35 leaders from the National Executive and Oblasts – with almost equal numbers of men and women. Moreover, staff from EI’s Asia Pacific Regional Office took part in the workshops.
Ms. Dilya Alijanovna Kabirova from Uzbekistan has been appointed as the Project Officer. A Consortium Project Office will be established in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The aim of the project is to sensitize elected officials of the teacher unions about the evolving role of teachers in an open, democratic society within a globalised economy; to highlight human and trade union rights issues; and to improve, among others, their understanding of international labour standards, ILO instruments, anti-discrimination policies, children’s rights and other principles core to EI.
At present, the Central Asia teacher unions participating in this programme are preparing activities for 2009.