Education International
Education International

The Francophone trade union movement mobilising for quality education!

published 5 November 2014 updated 6 November 2014

Local and global concerns about and commitments to education were presented to the Education Minister of Senegal by Francophone education unions affiliated to Education International (EI).

The statement was adopted by some 40 delegates from Europe, North America and Africa, representing 15 countries at the XIV Rencontre du Comité Syndical Francophone de l'Education et de la Formation (CSFEF) (Francophone  trade union committee  for education and training), from 21-23 October in Dakar, Senegal.

The statement highlighted the demands made to public authorities in the following countries: Benin, Burkina-Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Mauritius, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, and Togo. There were also demands that the global community be asked to establish standards for free, good quality education for all with the adoption of the post-2015 global agenda.

Qualified teachers

During the summit, the delegates agreed to the statement’s declaration: “We affirm that education is a fundamental right for all young people, and that Education for All requires qualified, trained, and decently paid teachers. We firmly believe that this challenge is not a utopian vision, and that it is possible to finance quality public education for all.”

The statement also includes commitments by CSFEF member unions to contribute to this global effort, namely:

• Achieving gender parity at leadership level

• Monitoring the implementation of education budgets in their country

• Inventing a new form of trade unionism that will attract young people

• Developing peace education and sustainable development education programmes

• Demanding that French genuinely be used in international trade union organisations

The summit’s theme, Women and Youth, agents of peace, agents of development, was reiterated by delegates, with the CSFEF asserting that it is “convinced that education plays an essential role in peace and development, and that progress will not be possible unless women and youth are allowed to play their full role”.

Francophonie summit

Every CSFEF member union was invited to urge their country’s authorities to ensure that the forthcoming Sommet de la Francophonie, to take place from 29-30 November, also in Dakar, takes into account the urgent demands set out in the statement.

Training workshops during the two-day meeting focused on trade union rights, working conditions, social dialogue, social protection, trade union tools, and communications. The momentum of the meeting will continue into 2015 through additional training workshops and an electronic newsletter.

“The EI Congress to be held in Ottawa, Canada, in July 2015, will be an important opportunity for education unions in the Francophone world to review the situation of education and education workers in our different countries,” said CSFEF President Florian Lascroux.

EI’s General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, welcomed the strong commitment of his Francophone member organisations to a strong and active education trade union movement and to quality education.