The EI’s “Comité syndical francophone de l’Education et de la Formation” (CSFEF – Francophone trade union education and training committee) held its 13th meeting in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on 3 and 4 September. It discussed the theme of the forthcoming Francophone Summit to be held, also in Kinshasa, from 12 to 14 October, “The environmental and economic challenges of the French-speaking world in the face of global governance”.
Fifty teacher trade unionists from the francophone countries of the South and North discussed the theme from the educational angle, taking into account the conclusions of the Rio+20 Summit held in Brazil last June.
The members of the CSFEF have been putting their heads together to develop convincing arguments to present to the Francophone Summit. The statement adopted at the end of their meeting will be submitted to all the governments by the trade union organisations.
Sustainable development linked to quality education
The meeting reasserted the importance of the right to education for all as an essential condition for sustainable development, while recognising the importance of universal access to quality education at every level.
The Final Declaration of the 13th Meeting(in French) expresses the CSFEF’s strong concerns about the minimal commitments of the Rio+20 Summit in terms of education. It stresses the importance of access to education beyond primary level, in particular by giving education systems the means to prepare pupils more effectively to promote sustainable development through: the improvement of teacher training, the establishment of school programmes dealing with sustainability and training programmes for « green » jobs.
Extra-curricular activities should also have the capacity to sensitise the young to sustainable development.
An integrated environmental approach at all levels of education
In her speech to the opening session of the Francophone meeting, the EI representative, Agnès Bréda, stated that «only through a change in society can we meet these enormous challenges. And this change can only be brought about with the involvement of future generations, which means of course through education and training. We are past the awareness-raising phase, now it is time to integrate this environmental approach in school and university curricula and to make it a real strand of the teaching profession. »
This 13th Francophone Meeting, which has taken place at a time when the world is being rocked by multiple crises, in Africa in particular, adopted three other statements (in French) condemning the situation facing education in Northern Mali, in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Tunisia and the situation of children who are its most fragile victims.
The theme of the next high level summit in Kinshasa is itself a challenge for the African continent. More than 50 years after independence, the countries of Africa are far from achieving the hoped political, economic and social development. It is the task therefore of the francophone trade union committee and other actors in civil society to ensure that this Summit launches the democratic and social revolution that Africa needs.