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. Opinion 10 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - "On Dignity: Reflections on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", by David Edwards

    David Edwards

    The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights is an occasion to be inspired by its principles and its origin. It is an opportunity for trade unionists and educators to reflect on its values and the aspirations it represents and to stand up, speak out and act. It...

    #UDHR70 - "On Dignity: Reflections on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", by David Edwards
  2. Opinion 13 November 2018

    “Reclaiming Academic Freedom in Malaysia: The Dawn of A New Era?” by Dr Lai Suat Yan

    Dr Lai Suat Yan

    There was rapturous joy on 10 May 2018 when it was officially announced that the opposition party, namely, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope, PH) won. The rule of the former governing political party, Barisan Nasional (National Front), lasting for the last 60 years, had come to an end. It was...

    “Reclaiming Academic Freedom in Malaysia: The Dawn of A New Era?” by Dr Lai Suat Yan
  3. Opinion 31 October 2018

    “It is time to stop hate and bigotry and teachers should lead”, by Fernando M. Reimers

    Fernando M. Reimers

    I am heartbroken and concerned. I am heartbroken because last saturday, as members of the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh celebrated the Sabbath, an armed man entered the Temple and shot on those there as he made anti-semitic statements, murdering eleven people who had come keep the holy day,...

    “It is time to stop hate and bigotry and teachers should lead”, by Fernando M. Reimers
  4. News 9 October 2018

    25 Lessons on Education and Democracy

    On the occasion of World Teachers Day, October 5th, Education International presented ‘25 Lessons on Education and Democracy’. The 25 lessons learned are linked to the 25 years of the existence of Education International.

    25 Lessons on Education and Democracy
  5. News 24 September 2018

    Francophone education unions, the driving force of democracy, the guardians of public education and union solidarity

    At the 16th Meeting of the Comité Syndical Francophone de l’Education et de la Formation (Francophone Trade Union Committee for Education and Training), the Education International General Secretary, David Edwards, called on all French-speaking affiliates to defend democracy, human rights and trade union rights, to fight privatisation, and to strive...

    Francophone education unions, the driving force of democracy, the guardians of public education and union solidarity
  6. Opinion 23 August 2018

    #EI25: “When Ordinary People Demand Justice”, by Lily Eskelsen García

    Lily Eskelsen García

    Sometimes what touches us at an international meeting isn’t what’s on the agenda. It’s what was outside on the street. Sometimes it’s the crushing courage of tiny, fragile grandmothers who would not be stopped and who serve as an example to all social justice activists of what we are called...

    #EI25: “When Ordinary People Demand Justice”, by Lily Eskelsen García
  7. Opinion 25 July 2018

    In Latin America, teachers and students champion the right to attend university, by Yamile Socolovsky

    Yamile Socolovsky

    15 June marked the centenary of the university reform led by the student movement in Córdoba, Argentina. This pioneering reform paved the way for a democratic reconstruction of academic institutions that shook the entire region. The transformation of Latin American public universities became a permanent battleground between those who yearned...

    In Latin America, teachers and students champion the right to attend university, by Yamile Socolovsky
  8. News 20 June 2018

    ILO Director General denounces “New Brutalism”

    “We have entered an age of new brutalism,” ILO Director General Guy Ryder told delegates of the 5th World Congress of UNI in Liverpool on 19 June. “We have entered an age where it is OK to dehumanize those who are rejected, who are marginalized, who are different or who...

    ILO Director General denounces “New Brutalism”
  9. Opinion 2 May 2018

    #EI25: "Making a difference in a different world", by Davanand Sinanan (TTUTA, Trinidad and Tobago)

    Davanand Sinanan

    Few would argue that the world has changed in a significant manner over the last decade through a combination of geopolitics and communication technology. The rapid rate of change seems to have caught most people off-guard and as a result is struggling to keep pace. Very few analysists have been...

    #EI25: "Making a difference in a different world", by Davanand Sinanan (TTUTA, Trinidad and Tobago)
  10. News 6 April 2018

    Education International urges Brazil to revert to ‘beacon of democracy’

    In the light of violence that culminated in the murder of Brazilian politician and city councilor Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro on 14 March, and with the judicial and media persecution of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Education International has urged President Temer to ensure the respect...

    Education International urges Brazil to revert to ‘beacon of democracy’
  11. News 8 February 2018

    USA: joint teacher union action aims to put education secretary on notice

    The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have teamed up to deliver 80,000 report cards to Secretary DeVos’ doorstep on the anniversary of her appointment to call for her resignation.

    USA: joint teacher union action aims to put education secretary on notice
  12. News 14 December 2017

    Arab education unions focus on union renewal and quality education

    Teacher union leaders in Arab-speaking countries have discussed ways to better engage with young and new teachers and steps necessary to achieve access to quality education for all by 2030 in their region.

    Arab education unions focus on union renewal and quality education
  13. Opinion 18 July 2017

    Preparing for Difficult Conversations

    Felisa Tibbitts

    How can educators facilitate difficult conversations in their classrooms?  If we believe that democratic citizenship is linked with engagement in social issues, then undoubtedly these topics also include those that make us feel uncomfortable. Or are complex or even unresolvable. If there are different points of view on a hot...

    Preparing for Difficult Conversations
  14. News 6 April 2017

    Armenia: Unionists underpin role of education in teaching human rights and values

    Teacher unionists in Armenia reaffirmed their commitment to human rights and democracy by participating in a national high-level seminar, which highlighted the role of education unions in protecting human rights and values.

    Armenia: Unionists underpin role of education in teaching human rights and values
  15. News 5 April 2017

    Hungary: EI deeply concerned about impact of new legislation on academic freedom  

    The global educators’ community condemns the adoption of legislative amendments proposed by Hungary’s government, endangering the independence of the Central European University and, consequently, fundamental pillars of all democracy.

    Hungary: EI deeply concerned about impact of new legislation on academic freedom