EI/FES cooperation in Lebanon
The EI/Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) survey on the role of teachers’ unions in refugees’ rights to quality education commenced in Lebanon. This is being undertaken in the framework of EI/FES cooperation. The survey project is linked to EI’s work on quality education, SDGs, and EI’s strategy on refugees’ right to education. The survey targeted around 250 teachers, and was conducted in the five regions in Lebanon during October and November. The survey results (report due late-December 2016) will be used for advocacy by EI and its Lebanese affiliates.
Workshop on developing a representative and inclusive KTU in Lebanon
On 12-13 October, a workshop for the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU), on developing a representative and inclusive KTU, was held in Beirut, Lebanon. It was organised by the EI Arab countries’ office, represented by Huda Khoury, in coordination with the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT/UK). The workshop highlighted issues affecting teachers in Iraqi Kurdistan - teachers’ salaries, school shortage, and northern Iraq’s armed conflict which has led to internally displaced Iraqis fleeing to the Kurdistan province. Ways for the KTU to improve its operation were also outlined. The Teachers Syndicate of Lebanon was also represented.
EI/UEN 2nd second planning meeting for EI affiliates in Lebanon
Three Lebanese affiliates - the Teachers Syndicate of Lebanon, the Public Primary Schools Teachers League in Lebanon, and the Ligue des Professeurs de l'Enseignement Secondaire Public du Liban – met to formulate a feasibility plan for the 2017-2019. The meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, organised by the EI Arab countries’ office, in coordination with the Utdanningsforbundet(UEN/Norway), on 28-30 October was the second planning meeting of teachers and branch leaders from the three Lebanese unions. The plan under review will focus on how teachers’ unions can help provide quality education for all in Lebanon, including Lebanese and Syrian refugee students. A follow-up meeting with UEN will take place in early 2017.
3rd ACCRS regional conference in Kuwait
The Third EI Arab Countries Cross Regional Structure (ACCRS) regional conference, organised from 29-30 November and 1 December in Kuwait, was attended by 65 delegates and observers from 25 teachers’ union associations from 12 countries. The conference’s guest speaker, Dr. Bader Alomar, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Kuwait, outlined how to avoid education in the Arab countries going off track and the educators’ role in these changing times. Other sessions outlined the education reform trends in Arab countries, including privatisation and for-profit schooling.
The EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, spoke about the violent conflicts, rising extremism and human suffering in the region. He addressed the plight of refugees, stressing that EI and its affiliates must make every possible effort to ensure that refugee and displaced children be given access to education in their host and transit countries.
The conference also explored the role of education unions in achieving the SDGs and the Education 2030 agenda in the Arab countries. Participants also received training on SDGs from EI’s Antonia Wulff. The conference concluded with the election of the 12 new members of the ACCRS standing committee.