published 24 May 2016 updated 26 May 2016

A workshop, hosted by the Vanuatu Teachers Union (VTU), was organised by the Council of Pacific Education (COPE) in Tafea and Santo, from 28-30 March. The VTU leaders established a campaign to empower members by educating and training them on human and trade union rights, trade union financial management, teacher ethics, and the role of unions in promoting teachers’ ethics and terms and conditions of service. EI was represented by COPE Secretary General Govind Singh.

Singh was also a keynote speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Solomon Islands National Teachers Association (SINTA) on 13 April. In his address, he reaffirmed that quality education is the best way to achieve the full development of human personality, fundamental freedoms, and economic prosperity. He added that there was a need for quality teachers and government support for education and teacher training.

On 14 April, the COPE Secretary General also conducted a SINTA capacity building workshop, which provided an opportunity for delegates to discuss trade union building, campaigning, recruitment and organising.

The Fiji Teachers Confederation, involving EI affiliates - the Fijian Teachers' Association and the Fiji Teachers' Union - held a workshop on International Labour Standards from 2-4 May in Suva, Fiji. The event was an opportunity for delegates to debate ILO Conventions ratified by Fiji, ILO reporting mechanisms, as well as Fiji’s amended employment relation regulations and procedures, public service decree, dispute mechanisms, and reform policies in relation to teachers. Participants acquired information and knowledge on labour and trade unions, and became confident serving and supporting union members and promoting unionism.

An EI delegation, composed of President Susan Hopgood, General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, and Chief Regional Coordinator Shashi Balasingh, met with leaders of the National Education Union of Vietnam (NEUV) and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), on 12 May in Hanoi.

Dr. Vy Minh Duc, President of NEUV, whose union represents 1.4 million teachers and education support staff, said Vietnam is working towards its full integration into the international community. Vietnam's education system employs nearly 1.8 million teachers, lecturers, and education support staff catering for 22 million students. While the country has achieved a literacy rate of 96 per cent and is spending 20 per cent of its GDP on public education, private schooling is nevertheless on the rise. Vy Minh Duc told the EI delegation that it is time for Vietnam’s teaching profession to  become part of the international teachers' community represented by Education International. Ms. Ngyuen Thi Thu Hong, Vice President of VGCL, welcomed the visit of an EI delegation to her country and said that the nine-million-strong labour centre would support NEUV's request for EI membership.

The delegation was also briefed by the Director and Deputy Director of the ILO Office in Hanoi on significant reform being planned in industrial relations in Vietnam driven by international trade agreements (TPP).