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Resolution on the Strategic role of Educators


The 5th World Congress of Education International (EI) meeting in Berlin, Germany, from 22 to 26 July 2007,



Context



1. Affirms that universal access to all levels of education, which has been recognised as an objective for the millennium, is a fundamental human right of all people throughout their lives and that the duty of public education is to meet this right.

2. Affirms that every person has the right to an education, appropriate to their needs, which enables them to achieve their fullest potential in life, taking into account their individual abilities;

3. Recognises that education is a key tool in combating poverty, in promoting peace, social justice, human rights, democracy, cultural diversity and environmental awareness;

4. Recognises the increasing complexity of social and intercultural relations in society in the context of extensive human migration and the effects of economic globalization, notes with concern that this migration has negative effects on women and children, and, that this complexity requires a reciprocal opening-up to others;

5. Recognises that the students of today (as the workers of tomorrow) require higher levels of education and more complex skills in a competitive global labour market dominated by rapid development of new technologies and demands for new and updated skills;

6. Shares with teachers the concerns of parents and youth affected by the social and economic crisis. However, teachers are facing pressures from governments and employers who want to alter the nature of their responsibilities and statutory qualifications, imposing on them adjustments to the serious economic, social and cultural problems stemming from the globalisation of financial markets. It is of crucial importance to grant the teaching profession a high status not just for the sake of the quality of education, but also for the progress of societies as a whole. Society needs quality education and thus, highly qualified teachers, to ensure social and economic development.

7. Recognises duly qualified school employees as being educators since the educational activity carried out in the school is increasingly complex and is not limited to the important activity of the class teacher but also comprises significant educational processes in other areas of school activities



Educators



8. Emphasises the central role of educators in the promotion of Education For All (EFA) and the provision of high free public quality education;

9. Notes the commitment, as caring professionals, of all of those working in education to providing high quality education services at all levels, and highlights the intrinsic value of the work they do;

10. Affirms the importance of professional and academic freedom for teachers, with the result that teaching is independent from any political, economic, ideological or religious influence, in order to preserve young peoples' right to and democratic exercise of critical spirit and creativity.

11. Notes that the majority of teachers worldwide are women, except at the higher education level, and that the gender gap remains substantial in terms of salaries, status and opportunities for professional development and for advancement;

12. Emphasises that the responsibility of educators is to promote the development of the whole person, so as to enable everyone to become socially conscious and productive citizens, able to contribute to society in a caring, responsible and environmentally aware manner;

13. Emphasises that educators advocate for the provision of education services to citizens throughout their lives, and also participate in the provision of such comprehensive life-long learning;

14. Underlines that qualified school employees or teaching assistants play an essential role in the civic education of the student, through the process of interactive communication and through collective experience of the school environment, through their responsibility for the proper functioning of the school (laboratory and library maintenance), in their technical

15. support for the teaching profession, in the formulation of an appropriate diet and in ensuring the safety of the school community.



Recruitment



16. Notes that today, according to the latest UN figures, there are 60 million teachers worldwide, and that the world will need to recruit and train over 18 million teachers to achieve, by the year 2015, the goal of universal primary education alone;

17. Emphasizes that teachers should be trained in and receive their credentials from a higher education institution or its equivalent, and thus be recognised as having the status of professionals by public authorities, parents and students;

18. Notes the teaching profession's principled opposition to the growing recruitment of insufficiently qualified teachers, which constitutes an unfortunate trend resulting from poor choices made by governments, often in response to World Bank or IMF directives to cut public spending, and from the failure of governments to recruit and train qualified teachers in sufficient numbers to meet demand;



Action



19. Demands that in order to recruit and retain the best teachers, governments give priority to adequate salary, which must provide teachers with a reasonable standard of living for themselves and for their families, as well as the means of enhancing their professional qualifications by developing their knowledge and improving their cultural resources. Salary must be paid regularly, and be for a single workload; the accumulation of overtime, not to say working double hours, to compensate low pay is a major obstacle to the development of quality education. Governments must also focus on providing attractive working conditions including small class sizes, career paths and more opportunities for professional growth and development, financial and other incentives, and support systems for new teachers, such as mentoring programs. This is especially critical in a context where globalisation is opening up new employment opportunities for young people, often with higher financial compensation than is available through a career in teaching.

20. Demands that all education unions be enabled to negotiate collectively all of their terms and conditions of employment through collective bargaining systems in which the educators' interests may be represented by their union; and, demands further that individualised salaries for educators which are fixed unilaterally by the employer without such negotiations be abolished;

21. Opposes performance-related pay systems for educators which are frequently based on evaluations of students' performance alone or factors outside of the educator's control.

22. Supports the introduction of specific measures aimed at, e.g., encouraging educators to work in schools with special needs or in isolated rural areas or to undertake further studies or retraining .

23. Demands fair pay for all educators and the elimination of any form of discrimination regarding working conditions or barriers to access to further education, continuous in-service training, and to positions of responsibility;

24. Recalls, furthermore, that the supply of teachers depends not only on the number of publicly financed teaching posts, but also on the attractiveness of teaching posts, which determines the number and quality of applicants and the ability to retain teachers in the posts concerned.

25. Demands that all governments pursue a policy to improve the position of duly qualified teaching assistants through pay incentives, professional recognition, career structure and initial and continuing vocational training in the various areas of their activity. Such a policy must be formulated in conjunction with trade unions in the development of civic education.



Therefore, the 5th World Congress:



26. Requests member organisations to continue their reflection on the reforms to be implemented in order to turn the public education system into a school of achievement that guarantees, on the one hand, the pedagogical freedom of the teacher in conformity with the 1966 Joint ILO/UNESCO Recommendation and, on the other hand, the rights of young people and adults to genuine initial and further training.

27. Mandates the EI Executive Board to vigorously lobby - on the basis of the foregoing demands - the appropriate intergovernmental bodies including UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, OECD, the World Bank, IMF, and to publicise these demands worldwide and to provide regular reports to member organisations on progress towards achievement of these demands;

28. Invites EI member organizations to include these demands in their own policy platforms and collective bargaining goals, and to engage the necessary consultations with their governments so that efforts are made at national level in order to give education personnel proper recognition and to improve their moral and material situation;

29. Insists that these demands be taken into account in the planning and implementation of development cooperation programmes by EI and its member organizations and by national governments and agencies.