EI’s annual Development Cooperation (DC) meeting took place in Brussels, Belgium, from 19-20 November. The DC meeting was aimed at connecting trade unions’ development cooperation programmes with EI’s Unite for Quality Education campaign activities, as well as further harmonising development cooperation work between EI and its member organisations.
The meeting brought together over 70 trade unionists from across the globe working in the development cooperation field. One of their main tasks is to empower education unions to become active, independent, and democratic partners in the social dialogue and public policy setting in their national context, especially in relation to achieving quality Education for All.
Reaching grassroots level
On 19 November, participants debated different approaches to the Unite for Quality Education (Unite) initiative that could be relevant for their development cooperation work.
“When we ask you to Unite for Quality Education, we are not talking about creating something new in your countries but building on what you are already doing,” said EI’s Deputy General Secretary, Haldis Holst, who chaired the meeting. “The goal is not the campaign itself, the goals are within the campaign. We definitely want to help sustain solid proposals coming from the grassroots level.”
The latest Unite for Quality Education campaign spot
Harmonising education policy programmes, and evaluation
Presentations were made on EI’s education policy programme, Occupy; the results of an EI survey on education support personnel; and the first EI research meeting in Africa, held last November in Accra, Ghana.
During a session on evaluation and learning, an analytical framework was presented by Lärarförbundet/Sweden and Utdanningsforbundet/Norway as a tool for analysis and measurement of organisational development.
During the session an external evaluation of co-operation with PGRI, Indonesia was presented by the EI Asia Pacific Chief Regional Co-ordinator, the analytical framework was presented as a tool to measure organisational development which can be useful for such evaluations. Not only does the framework help define what a strong, independent teachers’ trade union is, but it is also a tool to analyse what is the current situation and identify the weak points that could be addressed as part of a project.
Focus on union unity
Following presentations by EI regional coordinators about progress on unity made since last year’s DC meeting, participants also debated on how, as DC partners, they can promote this issue in their work.
There needs to be a common understanding of unity, participants agreed, noting that unity cannot be imposed, but there is a need for a united voice and collective action. They called on EI and its affiliates to keep this principle in mind in their work.
In the ensuing debate, participants underlined the role of women’s networks as an example to be followed by teacher organisations in terms of unity or their significant contribution to it. They discussed the notion of union representation and its importance in the social dialogue to be engaged in with national public authorities.
Developing South/South cooperation
During the session on South/South cooperation, it was underlined that South/South cooperation has become a reality, particularly in Africa, with interregional cooperation, especially between Brazil and Portuguese-speaking Africa.
Fatima da Silva, from the Confederaçao Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educaçao/Brazil, and Maria Arminda, from the Federação Nacional da Educação/Portugal, spoke about their experience on trade union training in Portuguese-speaking countries.
It was concluded that the South must be included on the DC meeting agenda to both reflect and move forward South/South cooperation.
Unite for Quality Education, a rallying slogan worldwide
“The last quarter of this year, and the three first quarters of next year will be dominated by the EI Unite for Quality Education initiative,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “It is gratifying to see so many organisations attending this meeting from Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa.”
Focusing on quality teachers, tools and environments will enable every single organisation to develop activities in countries under the Unite banner, he added, underlining that the success of this initiative will not be determined by the number of international meetings organised, but by the number of actions organised by affiliates at national level.
“This campaign is about services in capacity building and organising. That is why it is so important to your work,” he said.
More information available
To download the presentation about the evaluation of the project with PGRI/Indonesia by EI Chief Regional coordinator for Asia-Pacific, Shashi Bala Singh, please click here
To watch the latest Unite for Quality Education campaign spot, click here
A video about para-teachers and the teacher gap in India can be watched here
The video about the pedagogical movement in Latin America shown at the DC meeting is available here