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 24 April 2019

    UK: Solidarity, democracy and unity high on the agendas of education trade unions

    During their annual conferences, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers and the National Education Union, both affiliated to Education International, have reasserted during their annual conferences their core values and determination to continue advocating education policies beneficial for educators and students.

    UK: Solidarity, democracy and unity high on the agendas of education trade unions
  2. Opinion 25 March 2019

    “Education is our best defense against scapegoat narratives – but needs consistent investment”, by Clare O’ Hagan.

    Clare O’Hagan

    Education, as shown in the 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, ‘Building Bridges not Walls’, has a great ability to fight discrimination with inclusive rhetoric. It can help newcomers adapt to new environments, and it can prepare host communities to accept and celebrate their presence.

    “Education is our best defense against scapegoat narratives – but needs consistent investment”, by Clare O’ Hagan.
  3. Opinion 20 March 2019

    “Time to shine a bright light on and act in the Philippines”, by David Edwards, Anthony Bellanger, and Ambet Yuson

    Anthony Bellanger, Ambet Yuson, David Edwards

    Democracy is threatened from within in many countries where authoritarian, often populist and nationalist forces have gained ground. Institutions of democracy have been attacked. The Philippines is one such country.

    “Time to shine a bright light on and act in the Philippines”, by David Edwards, Anthony Bellanger, and Ambet Yuson
  4. News 18 March 2019

    Sudan: In solidarity with human rights activists

    As strikes and protests calling for democratic change increase in Sudan, Education International expresses solidarity with the academics and unionists and supports their demands.

    Sudan: In solidarity with human rights activists
  5. Opinion 8 March 2019

    #IWD2019 #Education Voices: “The Political Participation of Women and Their Prominent Role in Brazil’s Trade Union Movement”, by Fátima da Silva.

    Fátima da Silva

    Until recently, women in Latin America had achieved unprecedented levels of political participation with the election of women presidents in several countries in the region. Dilma Rousseff (2011–2016), Cristina Kirchner (2007–2015) and Michelle Bachelet (2006–2010 and 2014–2018) all served two terms as elected presidents in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, respectively....

    #IWD2019 #Education Voices: “The Political Participation of Women and Their Prominent Role in Brazil’s Trade Union Movement”, by Fátima da Silva.
  6. News 6 March 2019

    Education unions join in solidarity with Turkish teachers

    Education trade unionists from around the world meet in Ankara on 6 and 7 March for the “Education Trade Unions, Rights, Freedoms and Governments International Symposium”, in solidarity with embattled Turkish education unionists struggling for the respect of their rights, their profession and for education as a whole.

    Education unions join in solidarity with Turkish teachers
  7. Opinion 28 February 2019

    "Students and Climate Change: A Lesson in Global Citizenship", by David Edwards

    David Edwards

    Student mobilisation on climate change is a strong call on democracy to deliver for the planet. It is a rejection of “climate deniers”, but also of “business as usual.” Its ultimate success will depend on expanding the mobilisation while graduating from protest to politics, including by linking lower carbon emissions...

    "Students and Climate Change: A Lesson in Global Citizenship", by David Edwards
  8. Opinion 24 January 2019

    #EI25: “Standing together: the power of teachers in the fight for democracy”, by Steffen Handal

    Steffen Handal

    The Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has said that "One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world." She is right. Education changes lives, communities and the world. It is both a key to changes in society and individual freedom projects. I therefore stand shoulder...

    #EI25: “Standing together: the power of teachers in the fight for democracy”, by Steffen Handal
  9. Opinion 20 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - “Teachers must feel safe for educating free generations”, by Özgür Bozdogan

    Özgür Bozdogan

    After the failed coup attempt on 15th of July, 2016, in Turkey, a state of emergency was declared on the 20th of July. The state of emergency was used to attack all opposition groups. This power grab was used to obtain further power as the Government issued decrees which enabled...

    #UDHR70 - “Teachers must feel safe for educating free generations”, by Özgür Bozdogan
  10. Opinion 19 December 2018

    #UDHR70 – “A banner of struggle for humanity”, by Yamile Socolovsky

    Yamile Socolovsky

    On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it seems inevitable that we ask ourselves whether in the ensuing time we have succeeded in advancing its goals, or whether those principles have ended up being nothing more than a well-intentioned, but ultimately futile statement of a humanistic...

    #UDHR70 – “A banner of struggle for humanity”, by Yamile Socolovsky
  11. Opinion 17 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - "In Burundi the union is standing firm in its struggle for teachers’ rights", by Rémy Nsengiyumva.

    Rémy Nsengiyumva

    Still active after more than two decades of struggle for the socio-professional rights of Burundi’s teachers, the Syndicat des Travailleurs de l’Enseignement du Burundi (STEB) is slowly recovering from the social crisis that shook the country. With the support of leaders who are committed to reverse the current situation, teachers...

    #UDHR70 - "In Burundi the union is standing firm in its struggle for teachers’ rights", by Rémy Nsengiyumva.
  12. Opinion 17 December 2018

    #EI25: “Trade unionism, the teaching profession, and democracy”, interview of EI General Secretary Emeritus Fred van Leeuwen

    Fred van Leeuwen

    2018 is the 25th anniversary of the creation of Education International. As this anniversary year draws to a close, we are publishing an interview of Fred van Leeuwen who served the organization as General Secretary of EI for its first quarter century. This discussion offers a reflection on the substantial...

    #EI25: “Trade unionism, the teaching profession, and democracy”, interview of EI General Secretary Emeritus Fred van Leeuwen
  13. Opinion 15 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - “Trade Union Rights are Human Rights: South Korean Teachers Deprived of Union Representation”, by Hyunsu Hwang

    Hyunsu Hwang

    On December 10, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in his speech to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Human Rights Day: "Among countries that went through colonial rule, dictatorship, and war, there are few countries that have the level of South Korean human rights." He added, “there is still a...

    #UDHR70 - “Trade Union Rights are Human Rights: South Korean Teachers Deprived of Union Representation”, by Hyunsu Hwang
  14. Opinion 13 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - “Our struggle in Bahrain … Might be yours”, by Jalila Al-Salman

    Jalila Al-Salman

    The Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA) was established in October 2001 after a long journey of teachers’ struggles to obtain their representative body. It was founded after the King Hamad presented a package of reforms, including allowing associations representing professionals in the public sector to exist, even though unions are still...

    #UDHR70 - “Our struggle in Bahrain … Might be yours”, by Jalila Al-Salman
  15. Opinion 12 December 2018

    #UDHR70 – “A Struggle to Survive and Thrive Under a Dictatorship”, by Marie Antoinette Corr

    Marie Antoinette Corr

    In his book “Mein Kampf”, Hitler said "If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed". The dictator Yahya Jammeh knew how to terrorize the masses through threats and cajoling. When he said "Gambia will become an economic superpower by 2012", almost everyone...

    #UDHR70 – “A Struggle to Survive and Thrive Under a Dictatorship”, by Marie Antoinette Corr
  16. Opinion 11 December 2018

    #UDHR70 - “Teacher trade unionism in Djibouti: verdict of a life of sacrifice”, by Ahmed-Kadar Nour Ismail

    Ahmed-Kadar Nour Ismail

    On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the time has come for me to look back over more than 30 years of personal commitment to national education in my country, and more than 20 years of trade union activism within the Syndicat des...

    #UDHR70 - “Teacher trade unionism in Djibouti: verdict of a life of sacrifice”, by Ahmed-Kadar Nour Ismail