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 25 May 2022

    United States: Teachers demand immediate action on guns, as 21 are killed in elementary school shooting

    Educators around the world stand in solidarity and grieve with the students, teachers, school staff, parents, and the entire community of Uvalde, Texas – the scene of yet another school shooting that has taken the lives of 19 children and 2 teachers in the United States. Education International calls for...

    United States: Teachers demand immediate action on guns, as 21 are killed in elementary school shooting
  2. News 25 May 2022

    Afghanistan: As the Taliban regime undermines education, peace and human rights, Education International and its member organisations step up their actions

    Education International’s Afghanistan Teachers’ Rights Observatory (ATRO), to be launched in September 2022, is the latest in a series of strong actions undertaken demonstrating the global education community’s solidarity with Afghan educators and populations, who are undergoing great hardship under the rule of the Taliban.

    Afghanistan: As the Taliban regime undermines education, peace and human rights, Education International and its member organisations step up their actions
  3. News 23 May 2022

    Rabat Declaration underlines the need for international standards to bring all political abuses of religions to a halt

    The participants in the Rabat Global Conference held in Morocco’s capital city from May 11-12 adopted the Declaration reasserting the need to coordinate efforts to build global consensus on setting international rules to eliminate the use of religion in violating human rights. They called on the international community and all...

    Rabat Declaration underlines the need for international standards to bring all political abuses of religions to a halt
  4. News 3 May 2022

    Afghanistan: reaffirming strong support for exiled trade unionists and for the return of democracy, freedom and equality

    Together with French affiliates and leaders of French national and international trade union confederations, Education International took stock of the catastrophic situation of democracy and education in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. It also reiterated its commitment to and solidarity with Afghan trade unionists who, despite being exiled in France, are...

    Afghanistan: reaffirming strong support for exiled trade unionists and for the return of democracy, freedom and equality
  5. 27 April 2022

    Haiti: Seeds of international solidarity bear fruit

    Education International is pleased to report that it has received letters from member organisations in Haiti informing it that the repression against union leaders has been lifted, following a strong show of solidarity from education unions around the world.

    Haiti: Seeds of international solidarity bear fruit
  6. Opinion 4 April 2022

    The Russian Invasion of Ukraine Shows the Importance of Protecting Democratic Values through Education

    Armand Doucet, Michael Soskil, Noah Zeichner

    The immediacy of today's vivid news cycle as Russia invades Ukraine has not spared our children. In our youth, caring adults often buffered us from disturbing topics like war, nuclear threats, and human cruelty. Today, our children have no such insulation. They are overwhelmed with horrific images, graphic videos, and...

    The Russian Invasion of Ukraine Shows the Importance of Protecting Democratic Values through Education
  7. News 1 April 2022

    Jordan: The harassment against union leaders and members must stop immediately

    Education International has strongly reiterated its condemnation of the acts of harassment against the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA), its leaders and members. It deplores the criminalisation of legitimate trade union activities including marches and demonstrations.

    Jordan: The harassment against union leaders and members must stop immediately
  8. News 27 March 2022

    Uruguay: Unions say yes to public education

    Education International in full solidarity with its affiliates

    Against all the odds, trade union organisations and grassroots movements in Uruguay secured a referendum in the country to overturn a series of government-imposed measures set to undermine public education and encourage privatisation.

    Uruguay: Unions say yes to public education
  9. Opinion 11 March 2022

    War in Europe: Unions must stand together to defend democracy

    Fred van Leeuwen

    "We know that they lie; They know that they lie; They know that we know that they lie; We know that they know that we know that they lie; And yet they persist lying." Aleksandr Isajevitsj Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

    War in Europe: Unions must stand together to defend democracy
  10. Publications and Research

    Schools shall be safe sanctuaries

    Education International declaration on violent political and military attacks against education institutions, students, teachers, academics and all other education personnel
    11 March 2022

    This declaration voices the collective demand by teachers and their unions worldwide that the international community take action to ensure that education is both protected in conflicts and enabled to realize its potential as a force for peace in the world.

    Schools shall be safe sanctuaries
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  11. Statements 24 February 2022

    Educators around the world stand with the people of Ukraine and condemn Russia’s act of war

    Joint EI-ETUCE statement on Ukraine

    Ignoring global pleas for peace and diplomacy, Russia has launched an unjustifiable full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Education International stands in solidarity with the teachers, students, and people of Ukraine and calls on the international community to stop the bloodshed and do their utmost to avoid a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in...

    Educators around the world stand with the people of Ukraine and condemn Russia’s act of war
  12. News 22 February 2022

    Educators around the world stand with Ukraine and call for peace

    As the already fragile situation at the border between Ukraine and Russia further deteriorates, Education International calls for immediate de-escalation and a diplomatic solution to secure a lasting peace.

    Educators around the world stand with Ukraine and call for peace
  13. News 3 February 2022

    China: Winter Olympics must not overshadow the fight for human rights

    Ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics starting on 4 February in Beijing, China, Education International joins the international trade union movement’s call for human and trade union rights.

    China: Winter Olympics must not overshadow the fight for human rights
  14. News 10 January 2022

    Eswatini: International trade union cooperation and solidarity to support educators

    International trade union cooperation was at the heart of recent activities by the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT). It has successfully engaged with the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) and the Trade Union of Education in Finland (OAJ). This cooperation will allow the Swaziland/Eswatini education union to strengthen...

    Eswatini: International trade union cooperation and solidarity to support educators
  15. News 21 December 2021

    Iran: Government must halt ongoing violations of educators’ rights

    Education International and its member organisations urge the government of Iran to allow teachers to exercise their right to request fair pay and the release of jailed colleagues without fearing violence or arbitrary arrest. The call follows the arrest of a teacher trade union leader and the ongoing detention of...

    Iran: Government must halt ongoing violations of educators’ rights