Investment in education is key to solving economic crisis in Europe

published 23 November 2009 updated 23 November 2009

WARSAW — Education trade unionists from across Europe are urging their governments to invest in public education as a smart response to the economic crisis.

More than 300 teachers and education workers from 46 countries are meeting in Warsaw this week to discuss strategies to confront the economic crisis and other critical issues facing the education sector, from early childhood to higher education and research, across Europe. “Investment in quality public education and highly-trained teachers is good not only for short term economic recovery, but also for prosperity and social stability over the long term,” said Ronnie Smith, President of the European Region of Education International (EI).

He deplored the dramatic reductions in education funding that have been imposed in some countries by the European Investment Bank, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, noting that the human costs of such cuts must be taken into account.

“Our message to European governments is that they absolutely must uphold their responsibility to ensure the right to education of all children. As teachers, we cannot and will not stand by quietly while a generation of young people is sacrificed to a crisis not of their making,” Smith said.

Delegates representing 141 national organisations will come together for the regional conference of EI’s Pan-European Structure and the General Assembly of the European Trade Union Committee for Education. Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary of Education International, will give a keynote address.