Progress Report to EI World Congress: We are the ones we've been waiting for

published 22 July 2019 updated 22 August 2019

Education International (EI) General Secretary David Edwards delivered the global union’s Progress Report and reassured delegates that despite all the world’s tyrants, dictators, haters, racists and democracy in disarray, he believes “progress has not paused; progress is not retreating or failing as some in the commentariat would have you believe.”

The General Secretary reminded delegates that four years ago, EI was months away from the United Nations passage of the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 4, the stand-alone goal for education: “It was an outcome that had been one of our highest priorities and the centrepiece of our first global campaign.”

“From Ottawa to Bangkok we mapped out a multi-tiered strategy across numerous platforms at the global and regional level. Together with you all we chose the places and spaces that positioned us, our ideas, our values and our aims squarely at the point where we could have the most influence and impact."

Throughout his speech, Edwards highlighted EI’s major achievements, campaigns and research initiatives related to the privatisation and commercialisation of public education; gender equality; Indigenous education; refugee and migrant rights; higher education personnel; education support personnel; climate change; funding of education; trade deals and copyright.

In closing, Edwards stressed the importance of member organisations working together to bring an end to strongmen, technical advisers, privatising entrepreneurs, fearmongers, nativists, market fundamentalists, demagogues, narcissists and managerialists.

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We braid the knowledge of our profession, with the strength of our trade union movement and the conviction of our social justice ideals.

We are much more than knowledge workers, we are organized wisdom workers.

We speak all languages. We bear witness to all atrocities and accomplishments.

We defend the truth.”