Global education union leaders in solidarity with African educators living in violence-ridden countries

published 17 April 2019 updated 18 April 2019

The Education International Executive Board has sent out solidarity letters to member organisations in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria; countries where political and terrorist violence has taken the lives of teachers, academics, and education support personnel.

At its 52nd meeting held from 2-4 April, in Brussels, Belgium, Education International’s Executive Board has expressed its solidarity with member organisations upon learning about the political and terrorist violence, which took the lives of educators and students in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria in recent months.

EI will communicate with the authorities of these four African countries to insist that security risks for students and teachers be addressed. It will also demand that its member organisations be consulted in the development of coherent plans of action to address the immediate and longer-term needs of local communities.

The educators’ global union federation also calls on the public authorities in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria to:

• Improve the investigation of, and response to political violence in the education environment, including by taking the strongest measures to put an end to extrajudicial killings, investigating all reported cases, and ensuring that all suspected perpetrators are brought to justice;

• Accelerate action to restore the right to education throughout the country by ensuring secure and safe schools for teaching and learning, as stated in the International intruments to which these countries are signatory; and

• Guarantee freedom of association and the effective implementation of the right to collective bargaining in order to create an environment that is conducive to labour management negotiations to improve the status and working conditions for teachers and education support workers.

The four countries have ratified the Safe Schools Declaration, an intergovernmental political commitment to protect students, teachers, schools, and universities from attacks by armed forces and armed groups, as well as to restrict military use of educational infrastructure. The Declaration includes a range of commitments, linked to specific, concrete actions that can reduce the risk of attacks and mitigate their impact. Should its member organisations so request, EI can liaise with GCPEA to see how the education unions can be included in activities to implement the Declaration in order to defend the right to education and protect the lives of teachers and students.