Education International has urged the government of the United Arab Emirates to give their teachers the freedom to establish an independent professional union.
Attending the Transforming Education Summit on 8 and 9 May in Abu Dhabi, EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen highlighted that teachers are crucial to transforming our school systems. For reforms to succeed, teachers need to be more highly respected, rewarded and supported. “Respect also means that we recognize teachers’ civil rights and professional freedoms,” Van Leeuwen said. He noted that the UAE is not yet abiding by the international standards set by ILO and UNESCO. Van Leeuwen asked the authorities to start applying those standards and to set an example for other Gulf States, where teachers are still denied basic human and trade union rights.
The Summit, which brought together academics, current and former education ministers, as well as business leaders, discussed ways to adapt education systems to present day needs, including those presented by global markets. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who opened the summit, said that enhancing the quality of teachers was key, both in the industrial economies and in the developing world. He called on the UAE to join his campaign for a global education fund to ensure every child in the world can attend school by 2015.
For more information on the summit, visit: http://www.tes-abudhabi.org/index.php