Representatives of EI affiliate, Federación de Enseñanza de Comisiones Obreras (FE.CC.OO) met EI Vice-President and General Secretary of the All India Primary Teachers Federation (AIPTF), Subramaniam Eswaran, on May 11 in Madrid.
At the meeting, they addressed matters relating to the Indian and Spanish education systems and the teaching profession situation in both countries, together with the problems that they share and possible ways of confronting them. There was also time for an exchange on the initiatives and projects being carried out through trade union action in the different countries.
With over 2 million teacher members, the AIPTF has become the leading teachers’ union in India. This country is suffering from a high level of academic failure, and many pupils leave school early to start work before completing their compulsory education.
Mr Eswaran underlined that in India “the only young people who can continue their studies are those whose families have sufficient resources to afford it, since a high percentage of education is in private hands. “
However, he went on saying, “ thanks to the efforts made by the movement led by AIPTF, education in India has finally become a right, following the passing in 2009 of a historic law establishing free compulsory education for all children aged between six to fourteen. “
Mr Eswaran began his professional career as a teacher in 1955, and he later became a headmaster of a Primary and a Secondary school, dedicating himself to both levels of education for 41 years. In view of his wide experience as a teacher, he was appointed a member of the Government Examination Board and other governmental committees on education.
Mr Eswaran has also represented EI at international forums including the ILO Lifelong Learning Programme, the Education For All UNESCO Committees, as well as the Global Campaign for Education and the Global March Against Child Labour.
As a trade union leader, Mr Eswaran has energetically strived to achieve quality education for all, women’s emancipation , child labour eradication and improvements in teachers’ welfare and working conditions.