Canada: Teachers in shock as education program is rejected

published 2 February 2011 updated 2 February 2011

The Conservative government in Canada is to end funding for the international program of the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) after a year-long process of arduous negotiations.

The decision will affect tens of thousands of Canadian and overseas teachers working to deliver quality education in developing countries.

Despite the fact that the CTF programme has met all the government-set criteria with respect to quality education goals, the federal government's rejection underlines its ideological views on human rights and international cooperation through education.

The CTF’s International Program has enabled Canadian teachers and overseas partners to share time, talent and experiences to extend professional and welfare services, implement projects and promote national education efforts to make progress on poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The program is implemented through the commitment of member organisations and the support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). It is also set up in cooperation with EI and delivered by the CTF’s Trust Fund International Cooperation Program.

CTF President, Mary-Lou Donnelly, said: “The global education community is reeling from the shock after being informed of the CIDA decision. We have received an overwhelming number of correspondence from a cross-section of Canadian and overseas teachers, ministers of education, partner organisations and global education networks.”

CTF International Program delivers three crucial missions:

  • Provides professional development to more than 13,000 under trained teachers and almost 2,300 teacher trainers who then share their skills with 23,000 additional teachers in marginalised areas of developing countries;
  • Leads projects designed to meet national goals of quality ‘Education For All’ in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea, India, Mongolia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda;
  • Trains teachers to help achieve Millennium Development Goals including gender equality; health disease prevention, and eradication of extreme poverty.

EI has expressed its support to the CTF. In an open letter to the Canadian government, EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, urged it to intervene for the sake of 40,000 overseas teachers and more than two million students who would be the beneficiaries of the CTF’s International Program. Van Leeuwen said: “Thousands have benefitted from CTF’s program. EI can provide incontrovertible evidence of this from countries in Africa. Its John Thompson Fellowship Program has contributed to enhancing the capacity of teachers to propose policies and educational strategies that have enhanced the capacity of governments to develop better educational services. These services have contributed to remarkable improvements in literacy and numeracy levels among children in several countries.”