Education International
Education International

Communications specialists gather to promote teacher unions

published 25 March 2011 updated 25 March 2011

EI’s Communication’s unit brought together counterparts from affiliate members in Europe and North America at the annual EI Communicators’ Network (ComNet)meeting in Brussels, Belgium, from 21-22 September 2010.

The communications specialists used the meeting to share their unions’ work and to discuss the strategic approaches EI wastaking to engage and support affiliate members to articulate key challenges being experienced  by educators around the world.

EI Deputy General Secretary, Charlie Lennon, used his opening address to introduce members of the EI Communications’ Unit to participants before articulating key challenges, both structural and political, that educators faced around the world. He reaffirmed the importance of ComNet members as a key tool to promoting education unions.

Planning for Congress

A special session was held to plan communication activity in the run up to Congress, in Cape Town in July 2011 and to explore what messages and highlights would be likely to emerge from event.

A presentation on the art of emotional online communications was given by web designer and developer, Aral Balkan, who challenged participants to think about user-centred websites, new and social media, including Twitter and Facebook, for campaigning purposes.

Graziella Guarguaglini and Stephanie de Munter of PR Newswire presented their database of 50,000 journalists in more than 150 countries and how this was being used to communicate important union stories.

EI Deputy General Secretary, Jan Eastman, with Human and Trade Union Rights Unit Senior Coordinator, Dominique Marlet, told participants what the hotspots were for teacher trade unionists around the world and to preview EI’s First World Women’s Conference in Bangkok in January 2011.

Recruiting young members

Kristin Blom from the ITUC Campaigns Unit presented her work to reach the next generation of young trade unionists in a session on running campaigns in a multimedia age.

Education and Employment Unit Coordinator, Harold Tor, gave a presentation on the Global Campaign for Education, previewed EI’s World Teachers’ Day and challenged participants to think about how to articulate pro-union narratives in response to the economic crisis.

EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, shared his views of the global challenges that educators and affiliate unions faced in securing a strong, stable and prosperous profession that was fit for purpose. He articulated

the struggle to recruit and retain young qualified professionals into the public education system as part of the lifeline to keep our campaigns strong, and to ensure that unions remained relevant to the world in which our affiliates and members live and work.

Participants also took the opportunity to reflect on the learning they had shared and to look towards developing a ComNet action plan for the year ahead.

By Claude Carroué

This article was published in Worlds of Education, Issue 36, December 2010.