Africa: Regional Committee sets the course to revitalise education and teacher professionalism

published 20 February 2020 updated 21 February 2020

The Education International African Regional Committee met in Accra on 10-13 February to review progress and set the political course for the following period.

During the three-day meeting, the Committee defined the region’s  priorities, resolving to strengthen democracy, defend public education and push for Sustainable Development Goal 4 to be achieved by the 2030 deadline. The meeting was attended by Education International General Secretary, David Edwards, Deputy General Secretary, Haldis Holst and Senior Coordinator, Dennis Sinyolo.

In his opening remarks, the Regional Committee Chairperson, Christian Adai-Poku, expressed serious concern about continuing attacks in schools, which have resulted in the killing and displacement of many teachers and children. He stressed the need for Education International (EI) and member organisations to intensify efforts in defence of human rights.

David Edwards presented the global trends in education as well as EI’s strategy until 2023, highlighting the need for sustainable public funding for quality education in Africa. Edwards denounced the increasing privatisation and commercialisation of education and the ever-growing threats to human rights and democracy in the region. Edwards also emphasized the need for governments to address the climate crisis, including through climate change education.

Haldis Holst focused on the solidarity and development cooperation programmes carried out by member organisations in the region and their impact on trade union strength and advocacy.

Dennis Sinyolo presented the EI/UNESCO Professional Teaching Standards framework adopted by the 8th EI World Congress in 2019, stressing how educators can take the lead and use the standards to advance the profession and revitalise education in the region. Committee members expressed serious concern about the growing casualisation and deprofessionalisation trends in the region. They welcomed the professional standards guidelines as a powerful tool  for professionalisation.

Activity and financial reports from the region and the EI Africa strategic plan were also discussed. Furthermore, the EI General Secretary and Regional Committee Chairperson officially opened the new regional office.

The Committee took special note of the difficult situation facing colleagues in Kenya, where the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is driving a sustained campaign against the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT). The Committee members denounced the incessant attacks on the union by the TSC and expressed their solidarity with KNUT and Kenyan educators.