Resolution on Teacher Migration and Mobility

published 25 July 2011 updated 9 December 2021

The 6th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, from 22nd to 26th July 2011:     Noting that international migration and mobility has become a global phenomenon, representing a notable challenge for many countries and risen to the top of the policy agenda in many parts of the world;     Observing uneasily the possibility that the grave effects of the economic crisis triggered in 2007, and its aftermath of mass layoffs, growing unemployment (especially among youths) U-turns in social policies and the progressive breakdown of welfare states, are contributing to the arousal of society’s feelings and actions of rejecting the migrant population;     Underliningthe fundamental role which could be played by quality public education, based on values aimed at building citizenship for everyone in the processes of the positive integration of immigrants;     Noting with concernthe growing number of education professionals (teachers and researchers) who leave the countries where they were trained, for economic, cultural, religious or political reasons adding to the ranks of those who feel obliged to work in activities unrelated to the studies and disciplines that they have prepared;     Acknowledging UN data that international migrants constitute over three per cent of the world’s population, and that nearly half of these migrants are women;     Noting the growing and accelerated feminisation of the migratory process, as women (often accompanied by their children) now represent more than half the population of those living outside their country of birth;     Recognising the establishment of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) by the UN in 2006 and its potential to provide a platform for international dialogue on migration and development policy and practice;     Recalling that the Commonwealth Teacher Recruitment Protocol (CTRP) was recognised by EI and the ILO in 2006 as an instrument of good practice in dealing with teacher migration issues;     Motivated by a desire to protect migrant workers, particularly teachers and other education employees and their families;     Noting that few countries have ratified and fully implemented the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and ILO Conventions 97 (Migration for Employment Convention) and 143 (Migrant Workers Convention);     Observing that brain drain, particularly as a consequence of migration, may have adverse effects, particularly on the economies and education systems of developing countries and small states;     Considering that the teachers who migrate are often well qualified and/or those dealing with subjects such as sciences, mathematics and information and communication technologies, the sending countries, most of which are developing and/or small states, are thereby deprived of highly skilled education employees;     Affirming that migrants, and, in particular, migrant teachers and their families, contribute to the development of both their countries of origin and the host countries;     Recognising that mobility equips individual student and teacher migrants with new skills, experience and expertise and promotes cultural and information exchange, innovation and the creation of vital international networks that improve the quality of education systems and stimulate economic development in both the sending and receiving countries;     Acknowledging the need to promote teacher mobility while safeguarding the integrity of education systems, particularly in developing countries, as outlined in the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers and the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel;     Noting with concern the exploitation of migrant teachers, particularly by recruitment agencies and employment bodies in many receiving countries;     Noting with concern the non-recognition of qualifications and loss of professional status when skilled education personnel migrate, particularly from less developed to developed countries;     Noting with concern the discriminatory treatments experienced by migrant teachers whilst in employment;     Recognising the fundamental role that teacher trade unions play in safeguarding the human and trade union rights of migrants, migrant teachers and other education employees and their families; and     Convinced that the increasing scale, scope and complexity of international migration, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented by the cross-border movement of people, especially teachers and other education workers, calls for immediate action at international level to facilitate mobility and regulate such migration;

The 6th World Congress of EI,     Reiteratesits conviction expressed in the Fifth World Congress (Berlin, 2007) that “emigrants contribute to development both in their country of birth and their host countries”. Also that “migration has the potential to stimulate the cultural and economic changes between nations and to strengthen peace and mutual understanding”. However the positive aspects of human migration are not spontaneous or automatic. Therefore it recognises that hard work is needed to achieve them;     In that respect, it manifestsits conviction that the migratory phenomenon should be addressed from the validity of human rights and with the instruments provided by democracy.     Vehemently rejectsthe messages and actions promoted by racism, xenophobia and discrimination. Particularly, it reiterates that schools should be free from circumstances such as these;     Urgesgovernments to adopt specific emergency actions against all types of racism and xenophobia, specifically in an educational environment;     Encouragesthe governments of the receiving countries to take specific measures to ensure that all the children (including children of migrants with or without documentation) have the right to a quality education, in equal conditions, as was promised in the conclusions from Dakar and in the Millennium Development Goals;     Likewise, it reminds the authorities in the countries of origin of their international and local commitments to eliminate the causes which provoke the exodus of their citizens (poverty, social injustice and gender related violence, among others);     Highlights that the crisis should not be used to delay the efforts made until now to achieve those commitments and goals for 2015;     Encourages that all institutions of learning should be free of racism and discrimination;     Resolves that member countries should join forces with civil society organisations to expose racism and xenophobia and to educate their population in this respect;     Encourages EI member organisations to engage education authorities into developing and implementing curricula with perspective of human rights, integration and multi and interculturalism

The World Congress, therefore,     Mandates the Executive Board, in cooperation with member organizations,     to campaign for the ratification and implementation of international instruments that promote the human and trade union rights of migrants, migrant teachers and their families and, in particular, the ratification of the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and ILO Conventions 97 and 143;     to promote the Commonwealth Teacher Recruitment Protocol and/or its principles, as well as support other international, regional or national efforts to develop and implement policies, programmes and instruments that promote and protect the rights of migrants, migrant teachers and other education employees;     to campaign for the regulation of the activities of recruitment agencies in order to curb unethical practices and the exploitation of migrant teachers;     to support international, regional and national level initiatives that promote mobility of students and skilled education personnel and the cross border recognition of comparable qualifications;     to cooperate with other Global Unions in defending the rights of migrants, migrant teachers and other education employees and their families and to lobby governments and international organisations such as UNESCO, the ILO, IOM (International Organisation for Migration), World Bank and OECD to develop policies that facilitate voluntary student and teacher mobility, while protecting the integrity of vulnerable education systems, and particularly those of developing countries;     to establish a Teacher Migration Taskforce comprised of representatives from both source and destination countries and to develop a virtual Global Network of Migrant Teachers in order to facilitate the sharing of information and ideas;     Encourages member organizations tomake decisions which impede discrimination against their students based on their nationality or ethnicity, or the migratory condition and to organize migrant teachers and other education employees, recruit them and defend their human and trade union rights and to support them and their families to integrate successfully in the host country to ensure that employers in the educational sector do not use migrant workers as casual labour, which encourages social dumping;     Requests that the EI Research Institute undertakes research into various aspects of teacher migration, including its impact on both the source and receiving countries;     Encourages member organisations to develop their capacity to conduct studies of teacher migration in their respective countries and to develop a data base that can be accessed by migrant teachers;     Callsupon the member organisations to collect and exchange up-to-date information on the migration of teachers, especially on the conditions for the recognition of studies and certificates, access to teaching and working conditions, among other relevant aspects;     Urges EI affiliates to show their solidarity with migrant colleagues, through cooperation in development, but also by means of actions which allow them to be received into better conditions (e.g. providing information which contributes to their personal and family integration);     Calls upon governments and education institutions to improve the conditions of service for all skilled education personnel in order to reduce the factors that cause brain drain and to facilitate the return of migrants with mutual benefits to both source and receiving countries;     Call upon teacher unions in different regions and countries to develop bilateral and multilateral strategies on how to best address challenges of migrating teachers and lobby governments and intergovernmental organisations;     Urges governments, civil society and unionsnot to forget the necessary gender dimension in the actions they take.