Asia-Pacific unions gather to address regional challenges
Our union recently joined with unions from across the Asia-Pacific region at the Education International (EI) Asia-Pacific Regional Conference held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 10-12 October.
Union representatives at the conference reaffirmed a commitment to quality education and increased respect for educators and renewed their opposition to for-profit education privatisation.
Respect for educators; trade union rights
The conference adopted a range of resolutions which supported respect for educators and the right of trade unions to represent them.
According to EI, these resolutions included:
- respect for human and trade union rights in Cambodia
- the recognition and legalisation of the KTU, Korea
- the rights of indigenous people of South Mindanao, Philippines
- the full application of collective bargaining rights and the establishment of programmes to reach the sustainable development goal 4 in Fiji
- the protection of the rights of Kurd teachers in Iraq
- unity of the teachers’ organisations in India
- rejection of the rapid privatisation and commercialisation of education services in India, Indonesia and Pakistan; and
- warning against the erosion of the status of teachers in the Pacific.
The conference also discussed the issue of school violence given the increasing prevalence of such incidients in Asia-Pacific countries.
Defending the rights of Indigenous, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people was also identified as a priority at the Conference. It was recommended that EI member organisations fight against criminalisation and discrimination of LGBTI people, teachers and students in particular, and develop appropriate union policy and programmes.
Status of teachers
Teacher quality formed the basis of discussion in an important breakout session which will inform EI's inaugural policy on quality working conditions for teachers, reflecting education unions' expectation for teacher working conditions and means to address the professional issues facing the sector.
The breakout session’s outcomes will inform the policy paper which the EI’s Secretariat will produce and will be adopted by EI’s next World Congress in Bangkok, in 2019.
Nepalese government’s response to EI’s study on public education in the country
As detailed by EI's reporting of Conference outcomes, Nepal’s Education Minister Seshnath Adhikari announced plans to increase the country’s education spending from 10 to 15 percent of the national budget in 2018.
EI research had previously shone a spotlight on the impoverished state of Nepal’s public school system. Despite a growing population, only two public schools have been opened in Kathmandu in the last 10 years. 100 for-profit private schools opened in the country during the same time period.
The conference "strongly condemned the fact that the Nepalese authorities had fallen short of ensuring the right of all children to quality education, and that children of poor families, girls in particular, had for a very long time been seriously disadvantaged", according to EI.
Read more about the 2017 Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on the EI website.