Resolution on United for greater social justice

published 25 July 2007 updated 31 March 2017

The 5th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Berlin, Germany, from 22 to 26 July 2007,

1. Reiterates the commitment contained in the aims of Education International to 'promote for all peoples and in all nations peace, democracy, social justice and equality';

2. Considers that a socially just society is one in which all individuals are free and equal and live together in peace with mutual tolerance and respect, enjoy economic independence and freedom of expression and belief, are free to associate in political parties and other civil society associations, have access to quality public services including education, health, water, sanitation and transport services, have a right to adequate housing, and have equal rights to participate in and access the democratic governance structures of society;

3. Notes that the trade union movement plays a key role in the promotion of social justice in all parts of the world and that collective labour action has resulted in the past, and will result in the future, in improvements in the living and working conditions of all employees and their families;

4. Affirms that implementation of the right to education is a key to the attainment of social justice worldwide, but notes that, unfortunately, too many children and adults, especially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups such as girls, women, differently-abled, LGBT ,indigenous and tribal peoples, ethnic minorities and migrants, are deprived of their right to free, quality public education;

5. Notes with concern that there is a widening and unacceptable gap in the distribution of wealth, income and public interventions, within countries and between countries;

6. Draws attention to the lax attitude shown by governments and the international financial institutions towards harmful fiscal competition (preferential tax regimes and tax havens), which results in a reduction of the resources available to finance public education adequately and equitably;

7. Notes that, despite the adoption in 2000 of the Dakar Action Plan on Education For All and the Millennium Development Goals, lack of education and training still prevents millions of people from obtaining a decent job with a level of pay which would allow them to provide a better future for their children. Education enables people to improve their social and economic situation and standard of health, and raises the chances of economic growth. A global, rapidly changing world offers less security - and only more freedom if education enables orientation against the background of cultural diversity. The fact that currently more than 110 million children in this world cannot even attend school is scandalous. While the rate of those starting school is still laudably increasing, in many regions the quality of education and of the learning success remain inadequate. There is a lack of a suitable infrastructure and of well-trained teachers;

8. Deplores the fact that many educators are denied social justice because of increasingly insecure and temporary jobs, low and irregularly paid salaries, poor employment benefits and deficient or non-existent social protection policies;

9. Deplores the fact that in some countries educators are denied the right to join trade unions and/or face harassment, arbitrary detention, unfair working conditions, dismissal and sometimes death, because of their union affiliation;

Funding of Public Services

10. Deplores the fact that global relocations in trade and industry are increasingly used by business and that one of their effects is to reduce significantly the financial resources available to governments to allocate to quality public services;

11. Emphasizes that, even in the context of dwindling budgets allocated by states to the provision of public services it is important for the trade union movement to oppose the jettisoning of collective policies promoting social and health protection in favour of individualized private schemes paid for by workers themselves;

Education and Social Justice

12. Stresses that social justice and equity require active policies to eliminate discrimination based on race, gender, age, social origin, belief, disability, HIV/AIDS, sexual orientation, or affiliation to a political party or trade union;

13. Stresses that the achievement of social justice and quality public education requires effective cooperation between educators' unions and their allies from civil society organisations;

14. Reaffirms that children have fundamental rights, enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its protocols on children in armed conflicts and the sale of child labour, child prostitution and child pornography, and other internationally binding documents;

15. Reaffirms that trade unions are among the important institutions of democratic societies which have a role in promoting social justice and function most effectively when democratic recognition is given to social and employment rights and to social dialogue;

16. Reaffirms that the trade union movement must mobilize its forces to help achieve the Millennium Goal to eradicate poverty;

17. Reaffirms that Education International and its member unions have a special responsibility to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals on HIV AIDS, gender and EFA;

18. States that, despite considerable efforts by some governments, even universal primary education for all may not be achieved by 2015 due to a lack of initiatives and funds from many governments, even though they all committed themselves in 2000 to achieving these goals;

19. Regrets that in countries where primary education is supposed to be funded through programmes of the HIPC initiative, the Fast Track Initiative and other international funding initiatives, the transfer of the respective funds for primary education has not been realised or is not visible;

20. Demands that the implementation of Education For All (EFA) by 2015 becomes a reality and that transparent and verifiable monitoring mechanisms are established by the international institutions, the donor and recipient communities and that the education unions in the countries concerned as well as other stake holders, be enabled to play their role in the development and implementation of the programmes.

Therefore, the 5th EI Congress,

21. Mandates the Executive Board to advocate for and encourage all member organisations to engage in programmes promoting peace education and democratic citizenship. Environmental protection and the campaign against poverty must become options for global economic activity geared towards public welfare. To those affected, poverty means not just a lack of income but usually also isolation, limited access to education and healthcare, and exclusion from democratic participation. Therefore, the key to change, to taming globalisation, lies in education. It enables participation in society and equips people to shoulder responsibility;

22. Mandates the Executive Board to invite all member organisations to subscribe fully to the ILO Decent Work Agenda which is "to promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity";

23. Mandates the Executive Board to take action so that all teachers, regardless of the type of school in which they serve, should enjoy the same or similar social security protection. Protection should be extended to periods of probation and of training for those who are regularly employed as teachers;

24. Mandates the Executive Board to invite all Governments to ratify, implement, and report on the implementation of, the ILO Conventions: Freedom of Association and the Protection of the Right to Organise (Convention 87), Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (Convention 98), Worst Forms of Child Labour (Convention 182), Minimum Age (Convention 138), Equal Remuneration (Convention 100), Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) (Convention 111), Workers with Families and Responsibilities (Convention 156) and Maternity protection (Convention 183);

25. Mandates the Executive Board to pursue with renewed vigour its campaign for the provision by governments of access to free quality public education for all throughout their lives;

26. Mandates the Executive Board to promote the achievement of EFA goals and social justice despite the uncertainty as regards compliance with the timescales adopted

a. by strengthening working relations with civil society organisations which are co-operating with the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) at national and international level;

b. by continuing EI's engagement as a driving force in the GCE;

c. by exerting pressure on the International Financial Institutions to provide adequate financial support for education programmes and to implement the necessary mechanisms for transparency and monitoring;

d. by pressing the G8 governments to honour their commitments;

27. Mandates the Executive Board to develop effective strategies and programmes to realise the children rights' agenda. Such agenda will include preventing and eradicating all forms of child labour, improving access to quality education for all children, including those with special needs, refugee and migrant (legal or illegal) children, and promoting a rights-based approach to education;

28. Mandates the Executive Board to carry out a campaign, in cooperation with the Global Unions, in order to urge governments and the international institutions - including, in particular, the OECD - to combat harmful fiscal competition and promote an adequate funding of public education;

29. Requests member organisations in OECD and other donor countries to call on their governments to allocate a decisively higher share of their Development Cooperation expenditure to education in general, and to primary education in particular, and to insist that the expenditure of such funds be transparent;

30. Requests that member organisations identify and promote educational methods that encourage conflict resolution without violence, support children and young people with special needs and behavioural difficulties and discourage punishment-based teaching methods in schools;

31. Requests that member organisations undertake public activities, in particular on World Teachers' Day and in the Global Action Week, to honour educators and promote the status and welfare of education personnel.