On 14 May, after a continuous solidarity campaign from teachers and human rights activists worldwide, Esmail Abdi, the General Secretary of the Tehran branch of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, was released on bail, after spending months behind bars on security charges.
SURVEYING THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION
The EI Arab countries’ office and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES) regional office organised a planning meeting on 20 May in Beirut, Lebanon, for a survey project. The survey was conducted in the framework of EI/FES cooperation around the global trade union programme and concerned the role of teachers’ unions in refugees’ right to quality education. The survey project is linked to EI’s work on quality education, SDGs, and EI’s strategy on the refugees’ right to education. Representatives from EI’s Lebanese affiliates – the League of Public Primary School Teachers, the League of Public Secondary School, and the Teachers Syndicate of Lebanon – participated in the meeting.
ACCRS MEETS IN BEIRUT
The Arab Countries Cross-Regional Structure (ACCRS) standing committee held its ninth meeting on 24-25 Mayin Beirut, Lebanon. Amongst the items discussed were the by-law amendments proposed by the EI Executive Board, derived from proposals presented by the committee earlier in the year. The final version of the by-laws is to be approved at the next board meeting in October 2016.
On 26-27 May, the EI Arab countries organised a regional seminar on the importance of education in fighting extremism. The seminar in Beirut, Lebanon, was attended by the EI GS Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, EI DGS Haldis Holst, EI board member Mugwena Maluleke, the ACCRS standing committee, and leaders of Arab teachers’ unions. It focused especially on the role of education in building citizenship, the situation of public schools in Arab countries, and the relation of education to extremism and terrorism. The seminar produced recommendations that trade unions should lobby governments to implement SDG 4 as one way of fighting extremism. An Arabic version of the new EI brochure, A better bargain? Unions driving Education 2030 forward, was also introduced to assist unions in their advocacy work.