7th World Congress of Education International: Students and teachers stand in unity
EI and ESU have been partners for many years, notably within the Bologna Process, but also in the defence of education as a common good. ESU’s participation at the Congress helped highlight the common causes that students and teachers have, while also laying the grounds for further cooperation between the two unions within areas such as public responsibility and the post-2015 process.
This year’s World Congress took place in the light of attacks on education all over the World, which heavily dominated the resolutions and discussions during the conference. Across most European countries, education is facing budget cuts with increased privatisation as a consequence. Wars and conflicts are also affecting the access to education, while attacks on teachers and their unions makes it increasingly difficult to unite for quality education. It is clear that both ESU and EI have to fight to decrease the neoliberal influence that corporations and organisations are getting.
A large number of delegates took the floor to show their anger and disappointment towards the increase in privatisation, especially when the Congress passed a resolution, which mandates EI to launch a campaign in the defence of quality publicly financed education for all. The issue of solidarity also led to a number of resolutions, including the imprisonment of a leader from the Iranian teachers’ union who was to participate at the Congress, as well as the 60,000 Korean teachers who were stripped of union membership by the Government.
ESU’s representative also had an opportunity to meet the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) the day after the Congress, which lead to interesting discussions on how cooperation among students can be increased across the Atlantic. CFS has especially proven itself as a strong organisation when it comes to equity issues on campus and in the defence of public education, but the Conservative government and university leadership are increasingly putting the organisation under stress.