Education International
Education International

International teacher trade unionists gather to debate ‘building the future through quality education for all’

published 21 March 2011 updated 24 March 2011

EI has begun its 4-day Executive Board meeting in Cape Town from 21-24 March.

EI President, Susan Hopgood, and General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, are joined by the heads of South Africa’s largest education unions: SADTU, SAOU and NAPTOSA, and 42 of the most influential teacher union leaders from around the world. They will work together to use their expertise to review global developments in education policy; deliberate best practices to recruit, prepare and support teachers in ways that enhance the profession, and debate how to elevate student performance by access to quality public education for all.

The meeting will also identify the role of teacher unions in reforms and take strategic dec-isions on EI activity in coming months as it builds up to the sixth EI World Congress which takes place at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre from 22-26 July. The Congress will set out EI’s activity over the next 4 years and elect the global union’s new leaders.

EI President, Susan Hopgood, said:  “The Executive Board and Congress are global forums in which teachers and education union leaders meet on the basis of shared interest and part-nership to discuss how the confidence, learning and status of teachers can be enhanced. The future of all children and young people depends on qualified and motivated teachers. Our time in Cape Town is an opportunity to set a clear framework for how we achieve this.”

SADTU General Secretary, Mugwene Maluleke, said: “The global economic crisis emerged in financial markets in the developed world but continues to spread and impact in a myriad of ways on both developing and developed nations. EI’s work has shown that the impact of the global economic crisis has not been consistent across countries and within regions. Consequently, the effects on education sectors from early childhood through to higher education have been varied and heavily dependent on policies adopted by governments. The solutions to social, economic and environmental crises have to be global and must engage teachers who are often on the front line of enabling recovery.”

NAPTOSA General Secretary, Henry Hendricks, said: “We are proud to welcome teachers from around the world to our country and the Mother City, Cape Town. While enjoying the obvious charms of the city and its hinterland, delegates will address the many challenges facing education in South Africa as well as in other developing and developed countries. We are convinced that this Congress will be a water-shed that will set the platform to transform education in countries across the globe. We look forward with eager anticipation to working with our colleagues from all over the world in finding the solutions.”

SAOU General Secretary, Chris Klopper, said: “Hosting EI’s Executive Board and World Congress is a real opportunity to exhibit true South African hospitality and prove our prowess at arranging international events. South African unions have taken hands to ensure that the event lives up to everyone’s expectations. It is also an opportunity to prove that diversity is celebrated in South Africa and that all communities are represented by the three national teacher unions. EI fulfils a pivotal role in ensuring that the organised teaching profession is strategically positioned to confront the universal challenges that face education in all countries. The solidarity from EI ensures that  unions can take the lead and give guidance in their respective countries to successfully prevail over such challenges. ”