Resolution on: Demand, Resist, Reconquer

published 19 September 2019 updated 19 September 2019

The 8th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Bangkok from 21 to 26 July 2019:

(1) Noting that more than 10 years after the 2008 economic and financial crisis, austerity policies and structural adjustment plans, under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund in particular, in order to respond to the demands of the financial markets, have got considerably worse the world over, unfairly making ordinary citizens bear the full burden of the debt;

(2) Observing that, simultaneously, taxes on profits and on the rich are falling while tax evasion, tax avoidance and corruption, in poorer countries, as well as some rich, continue, depriving public sectors of necessary resources;

(3) Noting that in developing countries, these policies are often carried out based on external or foreign interests under the auspices of the international institutions (IMF, World Bank), to the detriment of ordinary citizens, further aggravating their misery, with multiple and serious consequences including millions of men, women and children being compelled to emigrate, leading to a humanitarian crisis without precedent;

(4) Observing that these policies translate into under-investment and persistent downward pressure on public service budgets, particularly education budgets, with alarming consequences; that government disengagement leads, in some cases, quite simply to the destruction of the education system, when it is deprived of the most basic operational resources; and to the private sector’s growing involvement in teaching, which often escapes all state supervision;

(5) Noting, over the past decade, trillions of dollars of individual and corporate income have flown into opaque offshore tax havens through financial loopholes created by politicians to benefit the wealthy; this tax avoidance adds tremendously to global inequality and corruption, and the money lost through tax havens has a significant impact on governments' budgets already under tremendous fiscal stress;

(6) Observing that in developing countries, the implementation of the degree structure reform is causing major dysfunctionalities in higher education systems;

(7) Recognising that this is accompanied by an unprecedented increase in the recruitment of temporary workers, deprived of any real training and at the expense of the declining, frozen or non-existent recruitment of qualified personnel protected by a statute;

(8) Recognising that teachers’ salaries have been hit hard by drastic reductions, career freezes and payment delays, sometimes lasting several years;

(9) Observing that professional appraisal reforms are introducing merit-based payments, some bonuses being granted at the cost of a salary reduction for the majority but also of teacher supervision without regard to educational and academic freedoms also resulting in wage and job blackmailing;

(10) Recognising that defined benefit and collective pension schemes based on intergenerational solidarity are under attack in many countries and do not exist in others;

(11) Observing that these policies are a threat to the profession itself, which is becoming markedly less attractive;

(12) Noting that working conditions have further deteriorated, with an increase in class-sizes outside the normal range and workloads and duties continuing to increase;

(13) Noting that job stability is no longer guaranteed, which is in violation of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO recommendation: “Stability of employment and security of tenure are essential in the interests of both education and teachers and should be safeguarded even when changes are being made to how all or part of a school system is organized. ” and that of 1997: “Security of employment in the profession, including tenure or its functional equivalent, where applicable, should be safeguarded as it is essential to the interests of higher education as well as to those of higher-education teaching personnel.”

(14) Observing that these policies are in conflict with the United Nations’ stated goal to ensure a quality education for all (SDG 4);

(15) Reaffirming that it is vitally important that teachers enjoy high status as it is essential to education quality itself but also for the progress of all societies (EI Washington Congress);

(16) Considering the multiple and multifaceted battles that ordinary citizens are waging, the objective of these being a refusal to suffer the consequences of austerity policies and to offer an alternative to these policies;

(17) Observing that in this ILO centenary year, the right to strike is under attack in many countries and in many sectors;

(18) Expressing its solidarity with all our colleagues and their trade unions who are currently fighting to defend their demands and their rights, to protect their democratic and social achievements, for the right to education and training; for the right to jobs protected by collective agreements and statutes, and often forced into strike action;

(19) Noting that these attacks are destroying the rights that workers and defenders of democracy have fought for, for over a century, at the national and international level;

The World Congress, therefore,

(20) Mandates the Executive Board, in cooperation with member organisations, to:

(i) Denounce austerity plans, structural adjustment plans and all resulting measures (reduced job security, insufficient salaries, redundancies etc.), undermining the future of education, of our youth and more generally our societies.

(ii) Advocate for governments to massively increase investment in the public sectors in order to halt their alarming decline, and in particular for public education worldwide in order to guarantee quality education for all;

(iii) Raise awareness and advocate for transparent reporting about the high cost of tax avoidance among affiliates, government officials, and our communities that rely on public services, and for the exposure and closure of the worst offshore tax loopholes, and any other financial manipulations that undermine the stability and fairness of public revenue systems;

(iv) Defend and strengthen the recruitment of education personnel on a permanent employment basis guaranteed by a statute, accompanied by a right to training and a salary befitting a demanding profession; and take action to ensure security of tenure for all education personnel in a precarious situation;

(v) Set up a campaign to defend security of tenure for teachers guaranteed by a statute;

(vi) Press for the above demands by vigorously lobbying the relevant intergovernmental organisations, such as UNESCO, UNICEF, the ILO, the OECD, the World Bank and the IMF, ensure that these demands are known to the whole world, and regularly publish reports on the progress made in meeting these demands.

(21) This should be done in order to ensure the above recommendations are respected and that the quality of education takes precedence over economic returns.