Education International
Education International

Middle East: Union cooperation to boost skills

published 9 April 2013 updated 12 April 2013

EI and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), an EI affiliate in the United States of America, have organised seminars to support colleagues in Lebanon and Jordan.

Lebanon: better organising and mobilising

On 22 March, EI affiliates in Lebanon - the Teachers Syndicate of Lebanon (TSL), the Ligue des professeurs de l’enseignement secondaire public du Liban(LPESPL) and the League of public technical and vocational teachers (CETO) - successfully terminated an open-ended strike that had lasted for more than a month. EI affiliates are leaders and founding members of the Union Coordination Committee that also includes the League of Public Employees in Lebanon.

On 22-23 March, in collaboration with AFT, EI organised a seminar on campaigning for economic and social justice and quality education, mobilising members and building public support. TSL, which participated in the seminar, has been cooperating with AFT for a number of years on professional development and union training, within the EI framework for Arab countries.

At the seminar, AFT and TSL shared experiences from recent mobilisation campaigns. They focused on the necessary planning and action to mobilise members, develop alliances with other organisations and build community support.

AFT, TSL and EI representatives discussed topics such as:

  • Skills in which members need to be trained
  • Strategies for recruiting members used during latest strikes and actions
  • Analysis of action plans aiming at mobilising support for economic and social justice and quality education, which can be used by other unions in similar situations in other countries

The training also tackled strategies helping unions to grow stronger through the development of alliances and the building of community support.

Panel discussions were also held on developing programmes and increasing the teacher-unions’ capacity to lead public campaigns, and the application of TSL experiences in planning and implementing mobilisation campaigns to other unions in the Arab region.

Jordan: focus on professional development

On 25-27 March, EI and AFT also held a professional development training workshop in Amman, Jordan. Entitled “Beyond Classroom Management”, the workshop was organised to benefit EI’s new affiliate, the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA). JTA was granted EI membership in April 2013.

With the assistance of two former teachers from TSL, the three-day training facilitated interactive sessions on:

·         Sharing teaching rules and procedures

·         The practical set-up of classrooms

·         Good practices for effective classroom management

The training also tackled the effectiveness of collaboration, the role of professional learning communities, the use of collaborative skills and strategic values of building collaboration, and professional development sessions for new teachers.

JTA members learned and discussed strategies for a successful collaboration and principles for effective professional development, and strategies that will work for them.

On the third day of training, JTA teachers shared their discussions with the JTA council members and branch leaders.

Continued cooperation with EI

The meeting concluded with a session on basic union issues in the JTA context and emphasised the importance of continuing the cooperation with EI onprofessional development and union training.

“EI welcomes and encourages the cooperation among affiliates, aimed at developing colleagues’ professional and trade unions skills,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.