EI Global Response workshop in Nigeria
A two-day workshop on the Global Response campaign on the privatisation and commercialisation in and of education was held for the National Executive Council of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in Abuja from 10-11 May. It was chaired by NUT President and EI Executive Board member Michael Olukoya, and EI’s Angelo Gavrielatos explained the EI Global Response strategy and described the situation of privatisation in Nigeria with a mapping tool.
Participants heard about the status of privatisation in various states with some state NUT branches opposing State governments handing over schools, especially public secondary schools, to private hands. The workshop agreed on a strategy including research on privatisation in Lagos, with special focus on Bridge International Academies schools, and scaling-up capacity building, organising and advocacy in Lagos and the Federal State.
Richard Etonu represented EI at the meeting.
Solidarity visit to NUT in Nigeria
On 12 May, Richard Etonu from EI’s Africa Regional Office (EIRAF) visited the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to learn more about its many current challenges, starting with the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East of the country, which had claimed the lives of many teachers, teachers’ children and relatives, and caused displacement of school pupils, hunger and famine.
Other issues facing teachers in Nigeria include the non-payment of salaries in 28 out of 36 states for several months due to the recession. Some states are paying just half of the monthly salaries, while check-off dues deducted from teachers’ salaries for up to 10 months have not been released.
The NUT has also condemned the abductions of teachers for ransom, including NUT executive members, as well as the suspension of 19 NUT branch presidents and the outright dismissal of 15 NUT state officers in the Ogun State.
UNESCO Research on Harnessing Cultures to Advance Education in Sub-Sahara Africa in Ghana
The EIRAF Office participated in the UNESCO research study on “Harvesting Cultures to Advance Education in Sub-Sahara Africa”. Peter Mabande represented EIRAF at the 16 May focus group meeting in Accra attended by nearly 40 participants, including officers from UNESCO, the Ministry of Education, Ghana National Teaching Council, Inspectorate Board, Curriculum and Assessment Council, the Ghana National Association of Teachers, the National Association of Graduate Teachers, and classroom teachers.
The research study was intended to compile concrete examples of past cultural and traditional values, policies, and practices, which could be adopted and incorporated into future processes and outcomes of education policy formulation, strategies to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more effectively than the Millennium Development Goals. Participants hoped that the inclusive consultations would scale up democratic policy formulation, promote the provision of quality public education for all, and integrate disadvantaged groups, girls, minorities, and the disabled.
The EIRAF cooperated with local EI affiliates, UNESCO Ghana Office, Ghana Government officials responsible for Education Service, and union grassroots members in providing data for the researchers.
Regional workshop on effective teacher management for quality education in Kenya
The EIRAF participated in the experience and good practice-sharing workshop organised and funded by the UNESCO Dakar office, and held from 17-19 May in Nairobi.
Senior policymakers from the Ministry of Education (MoE), lead donor groups’ representatives and delegates from teacher unions learned about teacher-management tools focusing on teacher deployment for effective resource management. They also identified the best ways to use technology for faster and effective distribution of teachers within the available resources to ensure that every child in school is taught.
Union representatives were involved from the initial stages of the tool development. They emphasised the need to employ qualified, well-paid and motivated teachers, even in hardship areas. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and unions were encouraged to seek out good governance and accountability on the implementation of the teacher management tool. Trade unions and the MoE should ensure that teachers were well informed on the implications of the tools for the benefit of their professional wellbeing.
Lucy Barimbui participated in the event for EI.
Initiative on school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) in Kenya
A planning and design meeting was held for Phase II of the programme on School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGVB) from 19-20 May in Nairobi. This is a joint initiative (2016-2019) of EI and the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), with technical support from Gender at Work and funding from the government of Canada.
Seven unions in east and southern Africa have participated in Phase I of the programme (Ethiopian Teachers’ Association [ETA], Kenya National Union of Teachers [KNUT], Uganda National Teachers’ Union [UNATU], Basic Education Teachers’ Union of Zambia [ BETUZ],Zambia National Union of Teachers [ZNUT], National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa [NAPTOSA], and South African Democratic Teachers’ Union [SADTU]).
The transition to Phase II of the programme will allow enough time for Phase I unions to consolidate the work done so far, In addition, a no-cost extension will be requested from the Canadian government to document the learning and results. Accordingly, the programme will end December – instead of January - 2019; to ensure sustainability of the work started in the unions, the mentoring of union change teams by Gender at Work Associates will continue for another 12 months; Phase II will begin in west Africa with two more unions in early 2018; and concerted efforts will be made to disseminate results and share learning and experiences from the programme to different internal EI (and external) audiences.
The EI Chief Coordinator, Assibi Napoe, as well as Anais Dayamba and Lucy Barimbui represented EI at the event.
AFTRA Conference in South Africa
EI Chief Coordinator Assibi Napoe attended the Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA) conference held from 23-27 May in Johannesburg. She expressed her disappointment that the teachers’ unions present did not voice their opposition to certain issues affecting teachers.
14th General Conference and Golden Jubilee Celebration of the AAU in Ghana
The 14th General Conference of the Association of Africa Universities Conference (AAU) in Accra, Ghana, from 5-8 June, was based around the theme “Achievements, Challenges and Prospects for Sustainable Development”.
The conference was opened by the President of the Republic of Ghana, who called on African leaders to value and invest in higher education as it is pivotal to economic development in the knowledge economy.
The importance of higher education in achieving meaningful sustainable economic development in African nations was highlighted. Speakers also called for curricular reform and enhanced quality higher education as key to graduate employability and entrepreneurship.
However, it was repeatedly indicated that sufficient resources are needed to overcome the challenge of expanding access to higher education while struggling to maintain quality.
EI’s Pedi Anawi participated as an invited guest and as a strategic partner of AAU.
Education Consortium in Liberia
From 7-10 June, Assibi Napoe, Lucy Barimbui, and Emanuel Fatoma undertook a mission on behalf of the Liberia consortium partners.
Their meetings revealed organisational challenges, including a failure to share information and produce reports. Externally, the National Teachers' Association of Liberia (NTAL) is facing the threat of public private partnerships (PPPs) in education. It is currently paying the salaries of 15 teachers who have been removed from the government’s payroll because of the NTAL’s resistance of PPPs.
The mission strengthened the working relations between NTAL staff and its leadership. PPPs will be evaluated at the end of July and the NTAL may hold a convention before end-2017.
Fighting privatisation of education in Cote d’Ivoire
Against the backdrop of growing privatisation, from 10-11 June, EI’s member organisations in Cote d’Ivoire met in Abidjan to further develop a national campaign in defence and support of quality free public education for all.
The affiliates are determined to call for a reinvestment in public schools and the construction of new public schools. They are also demanding a governmental guarantee that non-state actors must comply with minimum standards around the employment of qualified teachers.