EI at the ILO ILC 2023
EI at the ILO ILC 2023

The voice of teachers rings out at the 111th International Labour Conference

published 8 June 2023 updated 12 April 2024

Education International (EI) is the voice of teachers and education support personnel worldwide. As such, EI advocates for quality education for all, social justice, democracy, and professional rights and freedoms. From 5 to 16 June 2023, an Education International delegation is in Geneva to represent teachers everywhere at the 111th International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organization.

The International Labour Conference is the annual meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the tripartite agency of the United Nations that brings together governments, employers, and workers to set and monitor international labour standards.

The conference is a unique opportunity for Education International and its affiliated trade unions to influence the global agenda on the working conditions of teachers and on human rights.

A large number of representatives of EI affiliates are participating in the Conference as part of national delegations from the workers’ sector, expanding opportunities to deliver EI’s messages on the rights of education workers. Education unions are also calling for increased global financing for public education, the key demand of EI’s new global campaign Go Public! Fund education.

Gender equality at work and in education

Dominique Marlet, EI Senior Coordinator for Human and Trade Union Rights, spoke to the report on Achieving Gender Equality at Work at the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations on 6 June. Marlet highlighted the strong measures contained in the report to promote the participation of women in the labour market and in positions of responsibility.

"Selection criteria and quotas can be adopted, and financial support measures and distance learning services can be implemented to facilitate women's participation. It is also important to develop quality childcare services to support parents and encourage women's participation in education, vocational training, and employment," she added.

The EI Senior Coordinator also expressed solidarity with the more than 4 million Afghan girls who have been deprived of access to school and higher education, as well as the more than 20,000 Iranian students who were injured during the gas poisoning incidents.

"These poisonings affected 325 schools in 29 of Iran's 31 provinces. Many parents have withdrawn their daughters from school, which will have serious consequences on their education," she concluded.

Furthermore, Marlet coordinated the strategic involvement of and support for Education International affiliates in cases of violations of standards and conventions in specific countries, and presented Education International's position.

Promoting quality learning in an international labour standard

Martin Henry, EI Research, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, is a member of the drafting committee and is coordinating the input from the workers' sector in the second discussion of the Commission on Quality Apprenticeships towards the development of a new international labour standard in the form of a Recommendation.

"This Recommendation not only ensures strong educational support for apprentices by qualified professionals, proper certification processes, and good vocational guidance and vocational support, but, thanks to amendments proposed by workers, the committee moreover managed to remove superfluous mentions with regard to national circumstances, which is an important change in the ILO. This recommendation provides an inspirational normative instrument for apprentices, including protection for the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, as well as other collective and labour rights of workers," the Coordinator said.

The discussion sessions of the Commission on Quality Apprenticeships are being held from Monday 5 June to Wednesday 14 June. The discussion will produce the final recommendation.

"Education International has been involved in the development of this recommendation at the request of the International Trade Union Conference (ITUC) because of our expertise in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), the need for qualified teachers and educators, and the importance of ensuring a strong educational foundation for learning. The recommendation team has succeeded in providing strong educational support for apprentices, as well as ensuring adequate labour protections," Henry concluded.

Education International's address to the ILO

The work of education union representatives at the 111th International Labour Conference will continue until 16 June.

José Olivera, President of the Federación Nacional de Profesores de Educación Secundaria (FENAPES) [National Federation of Secondary Education Teachers] of Uruguay, will take the floor on 9 June at 3:45 pm (Geneva time) at the International Labour Conference, speaking on behalf of Education International on the importance of social dialogue in the development of effective and equitable education systems.

We invite you to listen to the speech live, send the link to your colleagues, and share the broadcast on your social media: ILC Plenary Discussions, 09 June 2023 – Afternoon Session