Teacher unions - their roles and challenges – along with the activites of Education International were at the core of recent trade union workshops in Tajikistan.
The workshops, held in Khujand from 2-4 August and in Dushanbe from 5-7 August, were organised by Education International's (EI) Asia-Pacific regional office for members of its affiliate, the Republican Trade Union Committee of Education and Scientific Workers (RC-STES).
The 58 chairpersons of trade union school committees in attendence, who were mostly women, were keen to learn about the latest developments in education, especially in other Asian countries.
"The workshops were an eye opener," said EI Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator Jerome Fernandez. In Dushanbe, participants explored many trade union issues and felt the workshop would help them to work more efficiently in their roles as school committee chairpersons, he stressed.
Various methods were used to present the diverse topics, such as interactive discussions, role-playing, group work, awareness-raising exercises. Question and answer sessions were also very widely used. At the end, all participants established an action plan to be implemented in their respective schools, and local trade union committees were assigned to monitor the implementation.
During the workshops, participants:
1) Discussed the role of teachers’ unions in the market economy.
2) Analysed existing education/trade union challenges/issues in their oblasts (regions).
3) Explored the basic concepts and principles of leadership and the decision-making process.
4) Learned about EI programmes and activities.
5) Shared information and reviewed the essential components and strategies of the Unite campaign for quality education for all.
6) Conducted an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
7) Developed an individual plan of action to be implemented at the school/work place.
“In Khujand, most of the participants requested that EI consider organising an advanced level workshop later,” said Fernandez, an indication of the success of these initial workshops.