The demand of the Federation of Mongolian Education and Science Unions (FMESU) is clear: invest in teachers, invest in education.
On 13 and 14 October, the Education International Asia Pacific Regional Office (EIAP) held meetings with the leadership of FMESU exploring how to better support the union in its ongoing efforts to improve salaries and working conditions for all education workers.
These campaign efforts continue in the context of a growing teacher shortage in the country. With a workforce of 38,000 teachers, Mongolia currently has around 3,000 vacancies.
Stressing that the teacher shortage is fueled by uncompetitive salaries and unattractive working conditions, the FMESU is seeking a 50% salary increase over three years 2024 -26 and to build on improvements to working conditions, such as enhanced leave conditions and teacher housing, secured and embedded in the new education law in July 2023. The government is only offering a 10% increase in salaries in 2024.
The FMESU knows it has a fight on its hands and that the outcome of their campaign will be commensurate to their strength on the ground as "politicians take notice of how many teachers are in the street”. The union’s strategic plan 2024 -26 is therefore very clear on the importance of growing union power and has set a membership growth target of 11% per year over the next three years.
The EI-FMESU meeting took place immediately after the 10-11 October meeting of the EI Asia Pacific Regional Committee which unanimously resolved the following in support of the Go Public! Fund Education campaign:
The global teacher shortage is greater than at any time in our living memories.
Of the 44 million more teachers UNESCO reports are necessary to achieve universal primary and secondary education, a significant number are required across the Asia Pacific region if the promise of quality public education for all to be realised.
Go Public! Fund Education is an urgent, and needed, call for governments, along with intergovernmental agencies and International Financing Institutions, to invest in teachers and invest in public education.
The EI Asia Pacific Regional Committee is united in our determination to ensure that every learner, no matter where they live, is taught by a qualified teacher, every day, every lesson.
We commit to organise and mobilise at the local, national, regional and global level to hold governments, intergovernmental organisations, and International Financing Institutions to account for their policy failures and demand the necessary policy settings to attract and retain the teachers we need.