The world’s educators rally to grow their unions, elevate their professions, and defend democracy

published 2 July 2024 updated 9 July 2024

Under the theme of “Growing our Unions, Elevating our Professions, Defending Democracy,” educators from around the world are ready to come together for the 10th World Congress of Education International (EI) which will convene in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from July 29th until August 2nd, 2024.

This year’s congress will bring together some 1,200 delegates, observers, and guests, representing 32 million education workers worldwide, to deliberate, discuss, and address the education issues of the day, from the global teacher shortage to artificial intelligence, to the status of the profession, education funding, and trade union rights.

The agenda: Growth, professionalism, and democracy

EI President Susan Hopgood explained the importance of Congress: “The Education International World Congress is our highest decision-making body and our most important event. Thousands of teachers and education support personnel come together to strategize and make the decisions that guide the work of Education International. Our ‘Go Public! Fund Education’ campaign and ending the global teacher shortage will be at the heart of our work.”

EI General Secretary, David Edwards, also stressed the importance of solidarity with colleagues from the host nation as they face a repressive and anti-union president: “This Congress presents a unique opportunity for the teachers of the world to not only speak with one voice to defend quality public education, workers’ rights and democracy in Argentina at a critical time, but actually be present physically, bearing witness and standing shoulder to shoulder with them."

Education International pledges its continued support to its member organisations in Argentina, standing in solidarity with them in defence of quality education and against any action that undermines democratic values, trade union rights and the well-being of teachers, education support staff, and students.

Pre-Congress Events: Building solidarity

In the days leading up to the congress, various caucuses will provide platforms for Indigenous Peoples, LGBTI+ communities, women, and higher education representatives to voice their concerns, forge alliances, and share experiences across regions.

Voices of Influence: Keynote speakers

The congress will further feature influential speakers such as Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Gloria Inés Ramírez Rios, Colombia’s Minister of Labour and former President of the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (FECODE), who will address the Congress. Other global education leaders will also be present to share with delegates and unionists and shape the future of the teaching profession.

Resolutions and debates: Shaping the future

Delegates will engage in critical discussions on resolutions on issues relevant for teachers and Education support personnel worldwide, such as the ones presented by the EI Executive Board addressing Indigenous Peoples’ rights, teacher wellbeing, education technology, research policies, and the global teacher shortage. These debates and outcomes will shape the education union movement for years to come.

Advocating for quality public education: The ‘Go Public! Fund Education’ campaign

A cornerstone of the congress will be the continuation and expansion of the EI ‘Go Public! Fund Education’ campaign, which champions the funding of public education and the teaching profession, combating budget cuts, austerity, and privatization. Delegates will also discuss ways to implement the 59 recommendations of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession.

Electing leadership: Steering the course

The congress will also see the election of EI’s new leadership - President, Vice-Presidents, regional seats and open seats -, setting the direction for the organization’s future endeavors.

Honoring excellence: The EI Awards

The congress will also celebrate the dedication and achievements of outstanding education unionists through the presentation of the Albert Shanker Education Award, the Mary Hatwood Futrell Human and Trade Union Rights Award, and the inaugural Fred van Leeuwen Democracy Award.

After the exceptional online Congress in 2023, the 10th World Congress bringing education unionists together in person for the first time after five years, will be a powerful opportunity for the global education trade union movement to reiterate its unity and solidarity.