Building alliances and strengthening relationships key to achieving quality education
Development cooperation meetings in Brussels focused on strengthening and enhancing alliances, not only between unions, but also among NGOs and civil society groups to improve education quality worldwide.
For three days, from 17-19 Nov., roughly 40 education unionists settled into Education International’s (EI) Belgian headquarters to share ideas and address the latest issues in education development cooperation (DC). The crucial role of networks set up by EI and its affiliates, as well as the importance of financial and human resources, union unity, and South-South cooperation, were emphasised.
“As teacher unions, we must help each other grow, build capacity, and be independent and take care of our autonomy,” said EI Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst. “We therefore must carefully choose our partners and alliances. As DC partners, we also must be aware that our perception of a situation at home may sometimes be different to the one globally, on the ground.”
She went on to stress that there are several ways forwards with DC work, and that EI and affiliates should focus on a country or a region, and not a specific education union.
“We must see the whole purpose of DC work, and not go too bilateral in our partnerships. We must ask ourselves: is what we are doing helping in the country, regionally, globally,” she said, also emphasising the importance of getting affiliates to work together on specific topics is a way to work towards union unity.
Participants also discussed, among other topics, draft resolutions and policy papers for the 7th EI World Congress to be held in July 2015 in Ottawa, Canada. Young members, the EI Rights Policy paper, and privatisation in and out of education were among the documents under the spotlight.