African educators demand increased funding for education and express solidarity with colleagues in crisis

published 27 September 2023 updated 22 March 2024

Education unions in Africa demand increased funding for public education systems and teachers, as they prepare the upcoming regional conference, and show full solidarity with teachers and education support personnel across the continent. These are the key messages conveyed by the Education International Africa Regional Committee (EIARC) during its 20 September’s online meeting.

Go Public! Fund Education

EI’s Lucy Njura Barimbui also reported about progress made by African member organisations towards implementing the EI Go Public! Fund Education campaign.

“What we are saying with this campaign,” she said, “is that education financing is crucial if we are to achieve quality education if we are to address the issue of teachers, and more generally if we are to address the education crisis that is currently affecting our members and the general provision of education.”

She added that, to reverse this trend and achieve equitable public education, education unions need to push governments to invest more in education, value teachers, and invest in teachers.

Explaining that this campaign draws on the Global Response campaign against the privatisation and the commercialisation in and of education and on the Unite for Quality Education campaign, she underlined that African education unions have been very involved in both campaigns.

Njura Barimbui also mentioned the Go Public! Fund Education campaign’s three areas:

  1. Scaling up EI Africa work in challenging the privatisation and commercialisation of education, i.e. the Global Response campaign.
  2. Launching and scaling up the Go Public! Fund Education campaign.
  3. Strengthening the narrative for public education.

The EI regional coordinator went on to say that research and activities were launched in Cameroon, Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia; national follow-up Go Public! Fund Education/Global Response activities are planned in Kenya, Liberia, and Uganda; and advocacy activities continue in Ghana and Nigeria.

Union solidarity

EIARC members adopted a resolution on military coups in Africa and a statement on the earthquake in Morocco.

In a Resolution on the respect for democratic principles and institutions during and after coups d’état, the EIARC reaffirmed that “the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals must be respected and the right to freedom of expression, assembly, and association must be upheld at all times.”

Among other, it calls on African governments to uphold democracy and respect the will of the people as expressed through free, transparent, and credible elections; calls for the protection of democracy, the rule of law, and the rights and freedoms of all citizens, including educators, students and children; and urges the African Union, Regional Economic Communities and governments to respect the right to learn and to teach in safety and peace, ensuring that teachers enjoy basic freedoms such as academic freedom and freedom to form and join trade unions and to bargain collectively.

The EIARC also expressed serious concerns about the impact of the earthquake that erupted in the Kingdom of Morocco on 8 September 2023 affecting more than 100,000 children, killing more than 2,800 people, including educators, learners and members of their families, as well as leaving thousands more injured and homeless.

It reaffirmed in a statement its solidarity with Moroccan education unions, educators, students and the affected families and communities; expressed its deepest condolences to all the educators, students and families that have lost loved ones, and called on the Moroccan authorities and humanitarian agencies to continue to prioritise education, educators and students, including the provision of shelter, food, clothing and psychosocial support.

The Committee also expressed solidarity with the educators, students and communities of Libya affected by the devastating floods caused by storm Daniel on 12 September. More than 5,000 people are presumed dead and at least 10,000 missing after heavy rains in northeastern Libya caused two dams to collapse, surging more water into already inundated areas.

Preparation for the 10th EI Africa Regional Conference

Members from different African members of Education International came together as they prepare for the 10th EI Africa Regional Conference, to be held 19-24 November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event chaired by EIARC Vice-President Mariama Chipkaou. During the meeting the EIARC adopted a EI Africa Regional Conference Declaration related to the conference’s theme, “Standing together for resilient education systems in times of crisis.” This resolution will be shared with EI member organisations ahead of the Conference and put for adoption during the event.