Education International
Education International

International support for Haiti unions

published 22 May 2013 updated 3 June 2013

Achieving quality public education for all in Haiti took another step forward recently when EI and some of its affiliates met with EI Haitian member organisations.

On 15-17 January, affiliates from Brazil (CNTE), Canada  (CTF, CSQ, FEC, FNEEQ), Dominica (DAT), France (SNES), Grenada (GUT) and USA (AFT, NEA) met representatives from the Confédération nationale des éducatrices et éducateurs d’Haïti (CNEH) and the Fédération nationale des travailleurs en éducation et en culture (FENATEC) to support their efforts to achieve quality public education throughout Haiti.

This mission was organised as a follow-up action to the Resolution on the campaign for quality public education for all in Haiti,adopted at the last EI World Congress in Cape Town in 2011.

During the mission, the EI delegation also drew the attention of government representatives to the demands of the Haitian teacher-unions’ platform (CNEH, FENATEC, CONEH, GIEL, UNNOEH) for a campaign for quality public education for all in Haiti. The teacher unions are seeking:

Support for teachers and for a vanishing profession

  • Putt into place university teacher training programmes throughout Haiti
  • Set up a nationwide programme for recruiting teachers

Reinforced union rights and union actions

  • The right to unionise in the private and public sectors
  • The right to negotiate

Support for their demands for decent salaries and improved working conditions

  • Revision of the teacher classification in the law governing public service employees as related to private and public sector teachers
  • Availability of teaching materials
  • Standardising class sizes

The setting up of a committee to monitor the implementation of Operational Plan

  • Guarantee union participation on the committee

Earthquake funds

The visit to Haiti was also an opportunity for the EI delegation to discuss how CNEH supported its members using funds received from the Special Fund for Haiti. The Special Fund was launched by EI following the earthquake which struck Haiti on 12 January 2010.

The Fund’s primary aim was to provide humanitarian assistance and help the families of teachers who had been affected by the earthquake. More than 1,300 teachers and 200 non-teaching staff lost their liveswhile 4,000 primary schools and 1,500 secondary schools, as well as the three main universities, were destroyed or badly damaged.

The Fund also supported CNEH to rebuild its structures and its capacity to represent, promote and defend the rights of its members through athree-year post-earthquakerecovery Action Plan (2010-2013).

The Plan was based on two main objectives: to rehabilitate the organisational structure of CNEH at all levels and to reinforce CNEH’s participation in the reconstruction of the Haitian education system. The plan includes activities related to recruitment, leadership training, and professional development.

The activities supported by the Fund included:

  • Building of a temporary office for CNEH in the CNEH Deputy General Secretary’s school.
  • Allowing professional leave for 13 unionists at Federation level for pre-congress work, recruiting campaigns, organising, investigation on the situation of schools and teachers’ needs;and leave for two unionistsat Confederation level (for communication, research, training and recruitment) for a one-year period.
  • Organisation of the first meeting of the CNEH leadership - right after the earthquake - gathering representatives of the 13 federations and the Confederation to exchange information and restart union activities.
  • Organisation of pre-congress meetings.
  • Organisation ofthe CNEH Congress (September 2010).Support for the union platform (CNEH, FENATEC, CONEH, UNOH and GIEL) which launched the Quality Public Education for All Campaign in November 2011.
  • Support for the activities of the union platform’s Campaign.
  • Support for the participation of CNEH leadership in theEducation Cluster meetings of the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(2010), EI North America/Caribbean Conference (2010), CUT meetings (2010-2012),Trade Union Summit for the Reconstruction and Development of Haiti(2010), and EI Congress (2011).