Resolution on the situation of Colombian teachers
The 7th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from 21nd to 26th July 2015:
Recognising the role that the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (FECODE) has played in defending public education administrated and financed by the state, and the defence and realisation of teachers’ grievances;
Recognising likewise the major struggles and mobilisations for the right to live and for the physical integrity of teachers, public quality education and the development of the education movement as a tool for discussion and the organisation of school as a safe sanctuary,
Lamenting that in spite of all the activities and proposals presented by FECODE to the government and society, the relentless privatisation and commercial exploitation of education continues, turning it into a business opportunity, whilst the wave of violence against educators continues, making teachers the most victimised sector in Colombia: 1011 teachers assassinated, threatened, exiled, displaced and extorted.
Recognising that the teachers organised in FECODE, have just carried out a 15-day national strike ending May 7th, as a result of which a Memorandum of Agreement was signed with the national government, in which some of the demands and grievances of the teaching sector are addressed and legislation should have been changed by June 30 accordingly. However, the government has not implemented the agreed changes and, furthermore, three teachers who were striking against the government have been killed during the past week. In addition, upcoming elections and the increasing violence against teachers who challenge the government pose increasing challenges to unions mobilising against the government.
Affirming that FECODE will continue to fight for the right of teachers to decent working conditions, to achieve a Single Statute for the Teaching Profession, substantial salary improvements and an increase in the percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on education, and a halt to the process to privatise public education,
The 7th World Congress:
1) Exhorts EI and its member organisations to support FECODE and Colombian teachers in their struggle for the right to live and for their physical integrity,
2) Appeals to the member organisation of EI to support FECODE in its advocacy for quality public education, for a higher national education budget and against the privatisation of education,
3) Calls on EI and its member organisations to launch a support campaign for FECODE, by sending messages to the President of the Republic, Dr Juan Manuel Santos, and to the Minister for Education, Dr Gina Parody, to ensure that they comply with the signed agreements, halt the wave of violence against teachers, have schools respected as safe sanctuaries and conclude promptly and satisfactorily the peace process pursued with the insurgent movement.