Implementing the Education 2030 agenda in the Asia-Pacific region was the focus of a regional consultation of education union leaders.
The Education 2030 Agenda and sustainable development goals (SDGs) were the focus of the Regional Consultation on Education 2030 Agenda, organised by the Education International Asia-Pacific (EIAP) regional office in Bangkok, Thailand, on 15-17 December. The meeting was attended by over 25 teachers’ union leaders representing 17 education unions in Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. Representatives from UNESCO, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Action Aid International also participated in the consultation.
Integration of agenda
Applauding the Education 2030 agenda, participants agreed wider collaboration was required to achieve the SDGs. In addition, the education agenda must be integrated into the agendas for decent work and the gender equality. This is necessary to promote quality education for all, end discrimination and exclusion, and ensure decent work for all workers, including teachers.
Attendees also highlighted that the Education 2030 agenda will not be achieved unless governments in the region improve access to and quality of public education. They must also strengthen the public education system by providing adequate funding, appointing trained and qualified teachers, improving school infrastructure, and creating child-friendly schools.
“Publicly funded quality education is a fundamental human right and the governments’ responsibility,” said EIAP Regional Committee Member Agni Deo Singh. “We, the educators, must not allow corporate takeover of education and should unite together to demand that the governments fulfil their responsibility and commitments.”
Anand Singh from EI also called upon the education unions to work harder together to ensure that their governments’ commitments are translated into action at national level.
At the end of the consultation, participants developed advocacy strategies to put pressure on governments to implement the SDGs. Plans focus on raising awareness of SDGs among union members and the public in general, social dialogue with the government and stakeholders, networking and building solidarity with trade unions and civil society organisations, and the dissemination of information on SDGs through various media, including online platforms.
Participants also decided to mainstream advocacy and awareness on the Education 2030 agenda in the union programmes and activities.