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 2021-05-06

    Colombia: Global education movement condemns abuses of basic human rights

    Education International and its affiliates around the globe are deeply concerned about the brutal repression of protests in Colombia. The global trade union federation demands democratic governance of the country and urges public authorities to put a halt to human rights abuses.

    Colombia: Global education movement condemns abuses of basic human rights
  2. News 2021-05-05

    Korea: EI Denounces discriminatory property registration system for teachers

    The Korean Federation of Teachers Association (KFTA), a member organisation of Education International, reported that the Korean government is trying to impose new measures that would force teachers and other public servants to register their properties as well as those of their spouses, parents, children, and grandchildren with the authorities.

    Korea: EI Denounces discriminatory property registration system for teachers
  3. Take action! 2021-04-29

    Democracy in danger in Haiti: education unions mobilise

    Despite the massive mobilisation of civil society, with the education unions in the front line, President Jovenel Moïse is eroding Haitian democracy a little more every day. The right to organise and the right to education are no longer respected. The country is sinking into violence, under the indifferent gaze...

    Democracy in danger in Haiti: education unions mobilise
  4. Take action! 2021-04-23

    Education International Condemns the Coup and Repression in Myanmar

    UPDATE - 23 April 2021 | In a resolution adopted at its 57th meeting, held virtually, the Education International Executive Board condemned the coup d’état in Myanmar, the refusal to accept the results of the election, the violence against protesters and strikers and the arrest of elected leaders, trade unionists...

    Education International Condemns the Coup and Repression in Myanmar
  5. News 2021-04-14

    Global index finds most countries do not respect academic freedom and shows signs of decline

    The second edition of the Academic Freedom Index (AFi) shows that only 20 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries where academic freedom is well protected. There are signs of decline in many countries. The pandemic, with the wide use of distance learning, produced additional threats. Academic autonomy...

    Global index finds most countries do not respect academic freedom and shows signs of decline
  6. Opinion 2021-04-12

    “On Edtech, the public good, and democracy”, by David Edwards.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought death and despair. However, it has also sharpened our vision. We have seen dangers more clearly and trends that were threatening the health of our societies. In some areas, like inequality, it is apparent to everybody. In others, however, risky developments are partially hidden. These...

    “On Edtech, the public good, and democracy”, by David Edwards.
  7. Opinion 2021-04-08

    “Brazilian government makes racism a state policy”, by Iêda Leal.

    Since the coup against President Dilma Rousseff in 2016, the black population has seen an upsurge in violence. With the election of Jair Bolsonaro in 2018, racism, in effect, became state policy. Racism has always existed in the country, but racists are more visible, showing themselves in broad daylight and...

    “Brazilian government makes racism a state policy”, by Iêda Leal.
  8. Opinion 2021-03-30

    "Today, solidarity with women is a fight for democracy”, by Sławomir Broniarz.

    Currently, women and LGBTI people in Poland face a very difficult situation. However, it would be wrong and short-sighted to see attacks on women or LGBTI people as the problem of a single country or of one radically conservative government that seeks to establish an authoritarian regime. Poland is not...

    "Today, solidarity with women is a fight for democracy”, by Sławomir Broniarz.
  9. News 2021-02-22

    General strike shuts down Myanmar

    Update 9 March 2021 | As the military junta has escalated its use of undue force against peaceful protesters, Myanmar workers won’t let fear and violence silence them. They are determined to continue the peaceful civil disobedience movement against the illegal military junta. In a joint statement, Myanmar labour organisations...

    General strike shuts down Myanmar
  10. News 2021-02-17

    USA: Trade union joins call for a New Deal for Higher Education

    The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) have launched a campaign calling for increased funding and reforms in public colleges and universities. The two organisations have partnered in this campaign because a crisis for higher education means a crisis for democracy.

    USA: Trade union joins call for a New Deal for Higher Education
  11. News 2021-02-10

    Solidarity statement | Democracy Must Stand in Myanmar

    Education International strongly condemns the military coup and the unconstitutional arrests of democratically elected leaders in Myanmar. EI also supports the civil disobedience movement and stands with its affiliate, the Myanmar Teachers’ Federation (MTF) in their general strike for freedom and democracy.

    Solidarity statement | Democracy Must Stand in Myanmar
  12. News 2021-02-04

    Myanmar: Teachers’ union condemns military coup

    The Myanmar Teachers’ Federation (MTF) is engaging in civil disobedience along with others to protest the military coup of Monday, 1 February. The MTF and other unions issued statements condemning the coup and called for the release of arrested political leaders.

    Myanmar: Teachers’ union condemns military coup
  13. Opinion 2021-01-20

    “Riot Backlash Hastens Moment of Truth for Internet Giants”, by Aidan White.

    As President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated this week in the caged and militarised environment of the US Capitol, battle lines are being drawn in a concerted political attempt to regulate the power of the behemoths of the internet including Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The unregulated dominance of the online world...

    “Riot Backlash Hastens Moment of Truth for Internet Giants”, by Aidan White.
  14. News 2021-01-08

    USA: Education unions condemn attack on democracy

    The National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have reacted to the 6 January’s assault in Washington DC, where rioters encouraged by President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress to certify the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

    USA: Education unions condemn attack on democracy
  15. News 2020-10-28

    Executive Board adopts resolution on the role of education in stimulating critical thinking and freedom of expression and promoting democracy

    The 56th meeting of the Education International’s Executive Board, meeting virtually on 27 October, adopted a resolution in support of teaching about freedom of expression, free discussion, and critical thinking, all of which equip students to be active citizens. The resolution was adopted following the atrocious murder of French history...

    Executive Board adopts resolution on the role of education in stimulating critical thinking and freedom of expression and promoting democracy