May Day 2023: Education unions call on governments to Go Public! Fund Education

published 30 April 2023 updated 21 March 2024

To mark May Day, Education International, the global voice of the teaching profession, is calling on governments everywhere to fully fund public education systems, and guarantee labour rights and good working conditions for teachers and education support personnel. Well-resourced, inclusive, and equitable quality public education systems are a prerequisite for advancing human rights, equity and equality, peace, democracy, social and climate justice.

“A more just, inclusive, democratic, and sustainable future is impossible without a clear and meaningful commitment to education.”

David Edwards | General Secretary, Education International

The global teacher shortage is threatening the right to education around the world. Widespread policies driving uncompetitive pay, unsustainable workloads, and growing precarity make it impossible to recruit and retain the teachers the world needs.

This crisis has been years in the making. Despite the warning issued by UNESCO in 2016 that 69 million new teachers were required to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education for all, governments failed to act.

The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the failure of chronically underfunding essential public services, including education. In the wake of the pandemic, educators everywhere must now help their students heal and make up for lost time with even fewer resources than before. Despite professing their support for public education, too many governments have in fact cut education budgets. Education financing has fallen in 65% of low- and middle-income countries and in 33% of upper-middle and high-income countries since the start of the pandemic.

The teaching profession has reached breaking point. Experienced educators are leaving the profession they love, fewer candidates aspire to replace them, and the global teacher shortage is reaching alarming proportions. This shortage denies students their right to learn, it denies them the bright futures they deserve.

Global mobilization for public education

To address the global teacher shortage, governments must make education a real priority and give their public education systems the resources needed to have a well-supported, well-trained workforce that has the time, tools, and trust to carry out their profession.

Education unions everywhere are rallying around the Go Public! Fund Education campaign launched by Education International. Educators are joining forces to build the inclusive quality public education all students deserve.

“We want to go public about the fact that this crisis needs to be addressed without delay because this is an existential, pivotal moment for the future of our planet. We are mobilising at the local, national, regional, and global level so that all governments commit to increase funding for public education. We want to make sure we have the working conditions we need to teach, and our students have the environment they need to learn. A more just, inclusive, democratic, and sustainable future is impossible without a clear and meaningful commitment to education,” stated David Edwards, Education International General Secretary.

As we celebrate May Day, we reaffirm our determination and commitment to social justice, peace, and democracy. Educators stand together, one union, one voice, to Go Public and Fund Education. We also stand in solidarity with the global union movement, our union brothers and sisters, in our common fight for workers’ rights and a just and sustainable future for all.