Building Union Power: Defending the Rights and Status of Education Support Personnel

published 16 May 2023 updated 22 May 2023

World Education Support Personnel Day – May 16th– is the yearly opportunity to say out loud: ESP are essential to our education community at the local, national, and global level!

ESPs must be recognised for their contribution to ensuring quality education. Their rights should be guaranteed and their status enhanced, as outlined in the Education International’s Declaration on the Rights and Status of Education Support Personnel.

ESP Day Statement by EI President Susan Hopgood


On 16th May we celebrate World Education Support Personnel Day. The day is an opportunity to show recognition and appreciation for the incredible contribution that education support personnel make to quality education. It is also a moment to demand that these professional workers have quality working conditions.

Teachers, working interdependently with administrative staff, counsellors, canteen staff, teaching assistants, caretakers, technicians and others, as a team, are able to create welcoming, inclusive, and quality learning environments.

Education support personnel are the beating heart of education institutions everywhere. You are pivotal for student wellbeing, for their health and for their learning.

Today, with austerity measures set to impact 85% of the world’s population by the end of the year, public education is under attack and education support personnel are particularly impacted. Shrinking budgets mean layoffs, increasing privatisation and deteriorating working conditions. It is not only the workers that are affected, but the students too. This is why Education International has launched its Go Public! Fund Education campaign, an urgent call for governments to fund public education and invest in the education workforce.

The global education union movement demands that the labour rights of Education Support Personnel are guaranteed. We demand that their working conditions reflect the importance of their contribution to quality education. And we demand that governments take concrete policy steps to enhance their status.

This year, Education International will hold our second Conference dedicated to these exceptional education workers. The event will bring together education union activists from around the world to exchange ideas, join together in solidarity, and build power across the globe to defend education support personnel.

Let us all reaffirm that education support personnel are fundamental to creating the quality, inclusive education our world needs. We call on all governments to invest in these professionals now.