EI Executive Board
From 4-6 April in Brussels, Belgium, the 49th meeting of the Education International (EI) Executive Board (ExBo) took stock of the implementation of EI’s quadrennial work programme as mandated by the 2015 World Congress.
They also received reports from events held since their last gathering, and reviewed regional reports, including the reports of the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) Conference and the Arab Countries Cross-Regional Structure (ACCRS) Conference.
The Global Response to the Privatisation and Globalisation in and of Education Campaign was high on the agenda. Aiming to enhance public education and access to education, the EI leaders also focused on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.
The EI Status of Women Committee also reported on the preparations for the 3rd EI World Women’s Conference, to take place in March 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco.
During a special session, Dr. Dennis Shirley, Professor of Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, USA, made a presentation on the new imperatives for educational change needed to improve teaching and learning globally.
PISA results look into complexity of students’ well-being
The latest set of results from the 2015 PISA study focuses on students’ well-being and the role families, teachers and the school community play in achieving quality education for all. The report emphasises the vital role of schools in their communities, according to EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “A sense of belonging at school for students is fundamentally important for their achievement and happiness. In fact, the concept of ‘the happy school’ highlights just how important schools and their teachers are to young people’s lives. The idea that schools and teachers can somehow be substituted by MOOCs and out-of-school learning is implicitly, but fundamentally rejected by the report”, he said.
He however regretted that the report does not factor in the views of teachers from the PISA teacher questionnaire. “There is nothing in the report on the damaging impact of aggressive evaluation regimes on teachers, nor on the implications for the curriculum and staffing of its important calls to enhance student well-being and belonging at schools”, he said. “Simply saying that teachers must try harder does not constitute a strategy or an analysis,” he emphasised.
World Bank protest
As part of EI’s ongoing advocacy around Bridge International Academies (BIA) and its supporters, on 21 April, a protest took place outside the World Bank in Washington DC, USA, to coincide with the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group.
The protest was designed to draw attention to and condemn the World Bank’s support for BIA. The rally was organised by the American Federation of Teachers and was supported by several EI member organisations and civil society allies.
Global Action Week for Education 2017
Education International called on affiliates and concerned citizens to join the Global Action Week for Education 2017 (GAWE), from 23 to 29 April, which urged governments develop and fund credible plans for the implementation of the full SDG 4 agenda; recognise the critical importance of strengthening public systems and state capacities to ensure that education is free, of good quality, and equitable; and ensure that there are credible, transparent mechanisms for participation of civil society in the monitoring and accountability processes for the agenda.
Unite for Quality Education and Leadership Conference in the Netherlands
Ensuring that teachers and their unions are the architects of the teaching profession and co-designers of education systems - from the classroom level to the national policy debates to the global level – was the core message of Education International’s Unite for Quality Education and Leadership Conference held in Rotterdam from 3-5 May. Over 300 leading educators from around the world attended the event, which was built around four themes of professionalism, pedagogy, leadership, and curriculum.
OECD event: The future of education and skills: Education 2030
This OECD meeting, held from 16-18 May in Lisbon, Portugal, aimed to engage governments, school networks and social partners in further development of the 2030 framework for the ‘future we want’.
Curriculum overload was also seen as a stressor for both students and teachers, and there was serious acknowledgement of the anxiety it causes. The Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) will provide examples of how education policies and practices lead to curriculum overload for teachers and students and provide advice on steps taken to avoid curriculum overload. The OECD is listening to TUAC input and developing a more teacher-focused approach to the solutions around this work but much work remains to avoid the obvious pitfalls of excessive workload and performative approaches.
Martin Henry participated in the event for EI.
Launch of “The Journey of Hope: Education for Refugee and Unaccompanied Children in Italy”
A new Education International study launched on 23 May reveals the immense challenge facing Italian authorities and education personnel to help the thousands of unaccompanied minors safely integrate into society after reaching European shores.Of the 28,223 refugee minors in search of a better future who landed on Italy’s beaches in 2016, representing 15.5 percent of all those who arrived by sea, 91.5 percent of them travelled without an adult. These staggering figures, which have seen a steady increase since 2014, show no sign of abating.Gaining access to education is one of the many hurdles facing the children once they make it to Italy, which is the focus of this latest study commissioned by EI, “The Journey of Hope: Education for Refugee and Unaccompanied Children in Italy.”