9th Education International World Congress: A testimony to the education professionals’ persistence

published 14 July 2023 updated 21 August 2023

From July 11th–13th Education International (EI) member organisations around the world came together the 9th EI World Congress around the theme of ‘Growing our unions, elevating our professions, defending democracy.’

Top education unionists representing 32 million educators in 381 unions in 178 countries met online to determine the policies, principles of action, programme and budget of the organisation.

This was the first ever World Congress held online, as the result of a 2021 Executive Board decision that was made when pandemic travel and vaccine uncertainties prevented delegates from convening in person on the original dates.

Day 1 of the 9th EI World Congress was very busy as members from around the world connected and engaged across regions, languages, and time zones.

EI President Susan Hopgood welcomed delegates, congratulated them for their courage and persistence during the COVID pandemic and challenged them to continue to organise and mobilise for quality public education in every corner of the globe.

Noting that “the worst of COVID may be over, but the need for our persistence remains as a different and more chronic sort of emergency lingers”, she mentioned: “The crisis of the public sector; the ability of governments to maintain and advance the common good and the capacity of the people to hold their governments accountable.”

Progress Report

Delivering a shortened version of the Progress Report, EI General Secretary David Edwards gave evidence of work done and of the remarkable reach and impact of EI in the past four years.

"On nearly 200 occasions over these past four years, we gathered virtually online; from one-on-ones, to small groups and global conferences, keeping each other close in mission and purpose and raising all of our spirits, he said, adding that “no global organization outside of the primary health sector was more fully engaged in the global response to COVID than our federation.”

Constitutional change and enabling resolutions

The delegates also gave EI authority – by an overwhelming vote – to be prepared for the future as an organization, by making the Constitution and Bylaws more inclusive, more user-friendly and more readable.

The delegates adopted a new article in the EI Constitution which addresses times of crisis and they also debated, voted on and adopted an enabling resolution limiting the business of the 9th ordinary World Congress and extending the term of office of the Executive Board.

Programme and Budget

EI General Secretary David Edwards also presented a modified 2024 EI Programme and Budget, which will allow for EI to function properly and lead multiple activities until the EI World Congress meets again next year.

He stated that “EI will be on strong footing to achieve its core objectives and serve its members with fidelity and impact. Moreover, if we are successful at creating the enabling conditions, tools and resources for our members to grow stronger, defend those under attack and organize for a more democratic and equitable world, we will all benefit.”

EI Go Public! Fund Education campaign

On the third and final day, the delegates committed to continue their engagement with EI's Go Public! Fund Education campaign which calls on governments to invest more in public education and in teachers, the single most important factor in achieving quality education.

EI General Secretary David Edwards explained that “under the banner of EI, the Go Public! Fund Education campaign launched earlier this year is putting a spotlight on education financing, on corporate irresponsibility and on government accountability.”

He went on to highlight that this campaign represents “a fight for investment in the public sector, a new social contract focused on the value of collecting and deploying the people’s money for the public good. We are fighting international finance agency restraints on the public sector that block teacher recruitment and limit teacher salaries. Tens of millions of new teachers are needed globally. This is no time to divest from the public good, it is a time to invest.”

In her closing speech, EI President Susan Hopgood thanked the delegates “for your thoughtful interventions and your patience, and for your time and attention, after all, the most valuable asset each of us has. Your online presence is a statement of permanence.”

Emphasizing that much of the focus of the upcoming work will be on EI global campaign, Go Public! – Fund Education, Hopgood went on explaining that “we are mobilising to fully fund public education systems and resist budget cuts, austerity, and privatisation. We are working together across borders to guarantee every student’s right to have a well-supported qualified teacher and a quality learning environment.”

Buenos Aires, Argentina, ready to host the 10th EI World Congress

Preparations have started to welcome delegates in-person at the 10th EI World Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 2024. In the meantime, they will keep the momentum going, mobilise their communities, and advocate for free quality public inclusive education worldwide.

For more information on the 9th EI World Congress check the EI website and on our social media platforms ( #EICongress; Twitter: @eduint; Facebook: Education International; Instagram: eduint). Spread the word and join the conversation!