Education International
Education International

EI puts case for education to OECD Finance Ministers

published 24 May 2006 updated 24 May 2006

EI took part in consultation with Finance Ministers from OECD countries, meeting in Paris for the Annual OECD Ministerial Council. The consultations, chaired by the Finance Minister of Greece, were held with the OECD Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) and Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC). EI’s Bob Harris participated as Chair of the TUAC Working Group on Education, Training and Employment.

During a sharp debate over differing views of macro-economic policy, the one area of consensus was the need for government to invest more in education. Welcoming that consensus, Bob Harris pointed out that the common aim of improving quality with equity in education could only be achieved by working closely with the representative organizations of educators and other employees in education.

For the remainder, TUAC and BIAC presented radically different views of economic policy. BIAC argued for more tax cuts, smaller government and the creation of prosperity through private enterprise with a "back to the 1980s" approach.

TUAC pointed out that OECD’s own evidence showed the validity of the “Nordic model”, combining quality public services with openness, and policy reforms developed with the full participation of the social partners.

Earlier, the new Secretary General-elect of the OECD, Mr. Angel Gurria, former Finance Minister, addressed the TUAC Plenary. Mr. Gurria assured the delegates that he considered TUAC to be an "integral part of the OECD family", and he was fully committed to working closely with the social partners. As he said himself “the proof of the pie will be in the eating”. For the TUAC delegates, the first impressions were positive!