Ei-iE

Democracy

Democracy is vital to healthy societies and critical to ensuring all human rights are respected. Essential as it is, democracy is not irreversible. In recent years, even established democracies have witnessed the rise of authoritarianism that threatens to tear the very fabric of our communities.

Defending and advancing democracy is central to the purpose of the trade union movement in education. The right to education, trade union rights and freedom of expression are critical enabling rights that help to leverage other rights. Together with our member organisations, we mobilise in support of democracy through trade union action and through education.

If we want democracy, we have to demand it, and we have to be able to educate children who will make and remake it.

Timothy Snyder

We believe that the strongest safeguard of democracy is quality education with trained and supported teachers who enjoy full professional autonomy. Some of the profession’s collective wisdom was brought together in “On Education and Democracy: 25 Lessons from the Teaching Profession”. Authored by our President, Susan Hopgood, and our General Secretary Emeritus, Fred van Leeuwen, the book serves as an invitation to all educators to take a stand in defence of democracy and to consider contributions that teachers, schools, universities, and representative organisations can make to solidify and progress democratic life.

Our work in this area

  1. News 2 September 2019

    Educators for democracy and human rights: Education International joins Brussels protest in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong

    Today representatives of Education International and other trade unions staged a protest in front of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade office in Brussels to stand against recent police brutality and human rights abuses perpetrated against the people of Hong Kong.

    Educators for democracy and human rights: Education International joins Brussels protest in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong
  2. Opinion 28 August 2019

    “G20: no long-lasting change without education”, by David Edwards.

    David Edwards

    The G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial meeting here in Japan is an opportunity to reflect. EI and other Global Unions are participating in the Labour 20 – L20 which represents the interests of workers at the G20 level. It importantly unites trade unions across G20 countries and our Global Union...

    “G20: no long-lasting change without education”, by David Edwards.
  3. Opinion 13 August 2019

    “For the integrity and status of Higher Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training”, by Fred van Leeuwen.

    Fred van Leeuwen

    Higher education is indispensable if we are to maintain a foundation of facts, knowledge and free discussion in society. TVET reaches very many young people and adults and has a key education function in addition to providing skills training. Both are under attack as many, public and private, innocently or...

    “For the integrity and status of Higher Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training”, by Fred van Leeuwen.
  4. Opinion 26 July 2019

    “Education Unions and the Struggle for Democracy”, by Hugo Yasky.

    Hugo Rubén Yasky

    “As we approach the centenary of the birth of Paulo Freire, whose teachings continue to inspire and influence our actions, the Latin American Pedagogical Movement, EILA and its national member organisations embody the collective will to defend education as a social right and a powerful means for the emancipation of...

    “Education Unions and the Struggle for Democracy”, by Hugo Yasky.
  5. News 25 July 2019

    Congress takes action to achieve universal free quality education

    The fourth day of Education International’s 8th World Congress was a celebration of human rights and an expression of the collective strength of the teaching profession. The theme of the day was ensuring free quality education for all.

    Congress takes action to achieve universal free quality education
  6. News 25 July 2019

    Educators come together to share lessons on democracy

    A book, written by EI President Susan Hopgood and former EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, entitled “On Education & Democracy; 25 Lessons from the Teaching Profession”, was launched by the co-authors during the EI Congress in Bangkok on the 23th of July at the opening of a special session...

    Educators come together to share lessons on democracy
  7. News 23 July 2019

    25 lessons for vision, progress and hope: Educators stepping up to defend democracy

    The second day of the 8th EI World Congress was dedicated to democracy and the ways in which education can support and protect it. The highlight of the day was the launch of “On Education and Democracy: 25 Lessons from the Teaching Profession”, a book co-authored by Fred van Leeuwen,...

    25 lessons for vision, progress and hope: Educators stepping up to defend democracy
  8. News 23 July 2019

    Congress celebrates democracy and trade union rights

    The 8th EI Congress dedicated the 23rd of July to celebrating democracy and rallying to support and protect it. Guy Ryder of the International Labour Organisation and Maria Ressa of Rappler addressed Congress and offered words of encouragement and solidarity.

    Congress celebrates democracy and trade union rights
  9. News 22 July 2019

    Joining forces to change the world

    Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi sparked hope for change among delegates at the EI World Congress with a motivational speech on leadership, change and justice.

    Joining forces to change the world
  10. News 22 July 2019

    Constitutional change to ensure gender balance, election of Executive Committee and adoption of resolutions mark first day of Congress

    In a historic move, the Education International (EI) 8th Congress carried a resolution modifying the constitution that greatly promotes gender balance in terms of representation within their own global union. As a result, open seats for election have increased to 10 from 9 - with 50% of those seats designated...

    Constitutional change to ensure gender balance, election of Executive Committee and adoption of resolutions mark first day of Congress
  11. Opinion 22 July 2019

    “Our Mandate”, by David Edwards

    David Edwards

    Being elected General Secretary of EI is a great honour. It is a challenge to live up to the confidence that has been given by the representatives of education workers from all regions of the world. It is also comforting to join that small team of talented leaders elected on...

    “Our Mandate”, by David Edwards
  12. News 21 July 2019

    EI World Congress kicks off in Thailand

    Today, 1400 educators gathered in Bangkok for the 8th Education International World Congress. During the opening ceremony, President Susan Hopgood welcomed delegates and began her speech with a challenge to them and educators across the world: “Are you ready to take the lead?”

    EI World Congress kicks off in Thailand
  13. Publications and Research

    On Education & Democracy: 25 Lessons from the Teaching Profession

    Fred van Leeuwen, Susan Hopgood
    15 July 2019

    On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Education International, which currently brings together the national education unions of 170 countries representing 32.5 million educators and education support staff, we have selected 25 lessons which educators and their organisations have learnt throughout history on education and democracy.

    On Education & Democracy: 25 Lessons from the Teaching Profession
    1. Download
  14. Opinion 22 May 2019

    “The Italian school system is in danger”, by Francesco Sinopoli.

    Francesco Sinopoli

    The General Secretary of the Federation of Knowledge Workers of the Italian General Confederation of Labour reacted to the suspension of Rosa Maria Dell’Aria, a teacher from Palermo. The teacher was penalised in this manner because it was alleged that she did not supervise the work of her 14-16 year-old...

    “The Italian school system is in danger”, by Francesco Sinopoli.
  15. Opinion 22 May 2019

    “Attacks on democracy and teachers in Italy”, by David Edwards,

    David Edwards

    Extreme Right parties, often populist and nationalist, have become stronger than in any time since the Second World War. We have witnessed a return of racist, xenophobic and authoritarian policies and politics on all continents of the world.

    “Attacks on democracy and teachers in Italy”, by David Edwards,