published 5 October 2017 updated 13 October 2017


SAWEN gender training and advocacy workshop in Botswana

The Southern Africa Women in Education Network (SAWEN) held its gender training and advocacy workshop for union leaders and gender coordinators from 27-29 June in Gaborone.

To increase union leaders’ political will and gender sensitivity in the sub-region, participants discussed gender equality issues in unions as well as gender-based violence in general, and school-related gender-based violence in particular. Experiences were shared about on policies and practices on equality work involving unions, and union leaders were encouraged to support and promote women within unions and education.

Training in union management, ICT, and gender equality in Tanzania

A training workshop on gender and union management was held in Dar Es Salaam from 12-14 July for Tanzania Teachers’ Union (TTU) districts, regional and national leaders. It increased their awareness about the importance of achieving gender equality in the union and enhancing women’s leadership skills.  Participants also acquired leadership skills to enable them pass on their knowledge to union members. Strategies were devised and recommendations made to TTU to support and ensure effective implementation of the TTU policy on gender at all levels. Participants also gained insights into the Women Network in East Africa (WNEA) and the African Women in Education Network (AWEN).

WNEA chairperson Josephine Nabuyungo represented AWEN on behalf of the EI Africa regional office.

EI/PATC/CTF/GNAT Ashanti regional tutors’ in-service training in Ghana

Literacy, numeracy, and quality education for all was the focus of in-service training for the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) in Ejisu, from 13-15 July.

Tutors from remote rural schools, Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) co-tutors, and Pan African Teachers' Centre (PATC)Project Coordinator Peter Mabande debated ways to improve basic school administration, mathematics, English language, social studies, mathematics, science, French, basic design and technology, the numbers of girls in science and mathematics, orientation and mentoring of new recruits, gender equity, and early childhood education.

Workshop in Cameroon on professionalisation of teachers in West and Central Africa

From 24-25 July, in Yaoundé, a high-level workshop on professionalisation of teachers in West and Central Africa was attended by ministers and experts from 12 African countries. The workshop focused on professional modules for African teachers, such as conceptual and curriculum frameworks, professional standards for basic education teachers, training offers and professionalisation, teacher management and allocation, framework for skills implementation, and resource management.

The workshop was opened by the national Education Minister and EI Chief Regional Coordinator Assibi Napoe represented EI at the event.

Early childhood education policy development workshop in Tanzania

From 25-27 July, the EI regional office, the Danish National Federation of Early Childhood and Youth Educators, and the TTU organised a joint early childhood education (ECE) policy development workshop at the TTU Head Office in Dar Es Salaam.

The workshop helped to frame TTU policy around the promotion of ECE. Reviewed EI and International Labour Organization (ILO) policy guidelines helped to identify major areas of concern in the union’s policy for ECE promotion. A draft policy will be presented at the next TTU congress.

EI was represented by Pedi Anawi.

Union management, ICT and gender equality training in Mali

From 26-28 July, Syndicat National de l’Education et de la Culture(SNEC) leaders from Mali’s 10 regions attended a workshop on union management, ICT and gender equality in Bamako. The aim was to sensitise SNEC leaders on the importance of increasing women’s participation in union activities and enhancing the leadership skills of women to enable them to seek leadership positions.

Issues discussed during the workshop also included the EI Gender Equality Action Plan, collective bargaining techniques, and networking. Participants also identified strategies to increase the participation of women in union activities. Female SNEC members were encouraged to contribute to the West Africa Women in Education Network (WAWEN).

EI’s Anais Dayamba facilitated the workshop.

Global Response Campaign event in Liberia

During a Global Response Campaignworkshop, organised from 27-28 July, the National Teachers' Association of Liberia (NTAL) prepared for October’s national elections.

Participants explored how NTAL could review and strengthen a national plan in response to the Liberian Government’s Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) policy. The government’s school privatisation plans aim to outsource its entire primary and pre-primary education system to private providers. Preliminary research findings on the status of the PSL were also presented by lead researcher Tyler Hook.

On 29 July, a solidarity march took place in Monrovia, culminating with the launch of the preliminary findings on the PSL schools. The NTAL, together with 11 local unions, religious groups and civil society organisations, also released a statement, urging the government to “immediately abandon” the programme and to invest in free quality public education.

EI’s Vice-President, Mugwena Maluleke, EI Executive Board member James Tweheyo, and EI Africa Regional Committee President Wilson Sossion represented EI. The EI Chief Regional Coordinator, Assibi Napoe, Angelo Gavrielatos, and Lucy Barimbui also attended the events for EI.

Meeting of Southern Africa’s EI affiliates in South Africa

Leaders of EI affiliates in southern Africa met in Johannesburg, from 7-8 August, to discuss the commercialisation and privatisation of education spreading across the continent.

Coming from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, andZimbabwe, theyshared national experiences and developed a deeper understanding of EI’s Global Response campaign. They have also begun to develop national campaigns to confront the growing commercialisation and privatisation of education in their countries.

Capacity building workshop on collective bargaining and negotiations in Lesotho

Under the 2017 Programme and Budget for the Africa Region, a capacity building workshop on collective bargaining and negotiations was organised for leaders of EI’s national affiliates from 10-11 August.

Both organisations - the Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) and the Lesotho Teachers’ Trade Union (LTTU) – revealed minimum contact with the Ministry of Education in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. The Education Minister acknowledged the potential value and benefit to both parties of collective bargaining.

It was also acknowledged that LAT and LTTU’s bargaining and negotiation experiences were limited mainly because they did not meet the requirement of 50%+1 representation. The workshop therefore highlighted the urgency for the two organisations to unite to meet that requirement. Participants also decided to start a merger process for the two organisations.

Richard Etonu attended the meeting for EI.

Activities to support the increase of education funding in South Africa

From 12-16 August, several activities were held in Johannesburg to influence the South African Development Cooperation (SADC) Heads of State meeting to improve domestic funding for education.

At the “Skill Share workshop”, ActionAid, the Africa Network Campaign on Education For All, and EI shared their work on education financing and privatisation of education. This workshop prepared representatives of EI’s affiliates from Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique to participate in the second activity, the 13th Southern Africa Civil Society Forum. And, at the Malawian Embassy in South Africa, they delivered recommendations on education to the Malawian Minister of Foreign Affairs. These will be passed on to Malawi’s President, Professor Peter Mutharika, a champion of SDG4 globally. These recommendations were also presented to Mzobanzi Mboya, who received them on behalf of the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

Richard Etonu participated in the activities for EI.

Union unity and representativeness workshop in Senegal

A national workshop on union unity and representativeness took place from 14-15 August in Dakar. Representatives from four of EI’s national affiliates (the Syndicat des Professeurs du Sénégal, the Syndicat National de l'Enseignement Elémentaire, the Syndicat unitaire et démocratique des enseignants du Sénégal and the Union Démocratique des Enseignantes et des Enseignants du Sénégal), participated in the meeting.

This workshop explored the new stakes and union relationships established following the sectorial professional elections in April 2017. Participants also identified ongoing challenges preventing unity amongst the EI affiliates.

The event was facilitated by Victor Kpandja and Florian Lascroux of EI.

Sub-regional workshop on climate change in Niger

Participants from Burkina Faso (FSYNTER, SNEAB and SNESS), Cameroon (FECASE and SYNTESPRIC), Mali (SNEC), Niger (SNEB, SNEN, SYNATREB, SYNAFEN and SYNTEN) and Chad (SET) attended a sub-regional workshop on climate change from 16-17 August in Niamey.

Along with developing strategies to address climate change-related challenges, participants also learned about the role of teachers’ organisations in the fight against climate change. Country specific action plans to implement the learning from the workshop were developed, and commitments made to put in place mechanisms enabling teachers’ organisations to promote and ensure a better protection of the environment.

The unions also formed a network called Réseau Africain des Syndicats de l’Education sur l’Environnement et le Développement Durable(RAS2E2D-African Network of Trade Unions on Environment and Sustainable Development).

EI Chief Regional Coordinator Assibi Napoefacilitated the workshop.

SET capacity building on ILO fundamentals in Chad

In N'Djamena, from 17-19 August, the Teachers' Union of Chad (SET) trained its members on the ILO’s fundamental principles and rights at work.

The training covered, among other topics, the ILO fundamental principles, the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Joint Recommendation on the Status of Teachers, the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation on the Status of Teachers in Higher Education, the Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendation concerning Teachers, and EI’s Declaration on Professional Ethics. It also focused mainly on the conventions about education in Chad, trade union environment, and the right to organise.

EI Chief Regional Coordinator Assibi Napoe took part in the meeting.

Unity and representativeness workshop in Niger

To stimulate teacher unions to accelerate their unity process, a workshop on unity and representativeness was organised in Niamey, from 18-19 August for the SYNAFEN, SNEB, SNEN, SYNTEN and SYNATREB.

Separate meetings with each EI affiliate allowed facilitators to gain insights about the barriers towards unity. At the end of the workshop, the affiliates adopted a resolution to revitalise the umbrella organisational framework structure, Cadre d’Action des Syndicats de l’Enseignement du Niger (CASEN), under which they will operate.

EI’s Chief Regional Coordinator, Assibi Napoe, along with Victor Kpandja and Florian Lascroux were present at the workshop.

6th All Africa Students Union’s Summit in Ghana

From 21-24August, the All Africa Students Union held its 6th Summit in the University of Cape Coast to discuss issues pertaining to the future of the African youth. The relevance and adequacy of higher education vis-a-vis labour market requirements was of particular interest.

EI was represented at the event by Pedi Anawi.

WAWEN gender training and advocacy workshop in Nigeria

The WAWEN held a gender training and advocacy workshop for unions in the five English-speaking countries (Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone) from 28-30 August in Abuja.

Representatives from the Gambia Teachers' Union, the GNAT, the Teachers and Educational Workers' Union (Ghana), the NTAL and the Nigeria Union of Teachers learned about gender equality and enhancing union leaders’ political will and commitment to achieve gender equality in unions.

Network leaders also urged union leaders to secure support for gender activities and WAWEN activities within their organisations. Union leaders also devised strategies to bridge gender gaps in their unions’ constitutions, structures and programmes.

Anais Dayamba participated in the event for EI.

Campaign against privatisation and commercialisation in and of education in Liberia

The campaign against the Liberian Government’s intention to outsource its primary and pre-primary schools to private providers, including Bridge International Academies (BIA), continued in September.

In a critical indictment of the  school privatisation PSL programme, a Liberian Government report concluded that the PSL cannot work “without negative side effects on other schools”. The report also provided evidence of thousands of students being pushed out of their school, 74 per cent of teachers being purged from BIA-operated schools, and that the PSL is neither cost effective nor sustainable.

ECE workshop in Tanzania

A workshop on the “Developing Educators, Improving Early Learning in Rural Tanzania: Mpwapwa and Chemba”project took place from 7-8 September in Dar Es Salaam.

Key education stakeholders at national, regional and district levels in Tanzania adopted the advocacy strategy for the project, and reviewed the findings and recommendations from Dr. Katherine Fulgence’s study on the state of ECE in the Mpwapwa and Chemba districts.

In relation to developing an ECE competence profile framework, participants identified six potential training modules: child development, child-centred teaching and learning methods, classroom management, evaluation and assessment, multi-grade teaching, and action research. Cross-cutting issues,  including gender mainstreaming, inclusion, child protection/rights, and ICT, were also identified.

EI Africa Regional Committee’s meeting in Ethiopia

The EI Africa Regional Committee met in Addis Ababa from 11-12 September and reaffirmed its commitment to increase trade union unity on the continent to help reach the UN SDGs.

The next Regional Conference will be linked to the SDGs, especially SDG 4: ‘‘Inclusive and equitable quality education in Africa’’: the place of the unions in achieving the 2030 Agenda”.

The region’s union leaders also acknowledged the seven signs of teacher deprofessionalisation, another challenge for African teacher unions: the influx of untrained teachers, the casualisation of teaching, the gap in pay, the reduction of professional autonomy, standardised testing, increased evaluation of teachers, and the importation of private management systems into the public sector.

EI Africa region workshop on refugee education in Ethiopia

At the EI Africa region workshop on refugee educationin Addis Ababa, held from 13-14 September, affiliates agreed that education unions must continue to work towards achieving refugees’ right to quality education.

Participants explored how to mitigate the negative impact of the refugee status. And they discussed how education unions can work internally and externally to overcome education challenges facing refugees, promote the rights or refugee teachers and education support personnel (ESP) to teach in host countries, and provide professional development to ESP working with refugees and displaced population.

The workshop highlighted that the schooling of children of forced migrants, documented or not, is a joint responsibility of government, civil society, parents, students, organised labour and the teaching profession. It was also stressed that, although the number of refugees in Western countries is the largest in many decades, most refugees are, in fact, found in developing countries.