Two thousand democratically-elected teacher leaders converged on Ottawa for Education International’s 7th World Congress from July 20–26, 2015. Delegates from 400 teachers’ unions and associations across 171 countries will this week assess the impact of the collective efforts of educators in the past four years on education and chart a new path for the organisation.
The theme of this 7th World Congress is “Unite for Quality Education- Better Education for a Better World.”
NAPTOSA’s delegation, comprising the three Presidents, namely Basil Manuel, Anthea Cereseto and Nkosiphendule Ntantala, The Executive Director, Mr. Henry Hendricks, Tinus Du Preez (Chairperson of NAPTOSA Gauteng province), and Ms Glenda Boyes (Gender Matters), are in attendance.
Report on Diversity from the Education International’s 7th World Congress ( extracted from EI website)
During an intense debate at the diversity caucus, delegates at Education International’s 7th World Congress have designed strategies on how to eliminate discrimination from the classroom and through trade union action.
In an innovative step, which has brought together the caucuses dealing with indigenous and LGBT people’s rights, Education International has focused on diversity during the two days of “ warm up “ towards Congress, acknowledging that none of these discriminations exist on their own, but that they are all intertwined. Now that countries are creating single bodies that deal with equality, the trade union movement should follow the same path and unite its forces in favour of diversity.The panels have mainly focused on how trade unions, teachers and the school community can play a role in advancing the rights of minorities and in countering discrimination, from the local level to policy-making.
In her introductory speech at the indigenous people’s caucus meeting, EI President Susan Hopgood said she believed that “we can only come to terms with our past if we fully participate in creating a new educational future in which diversity and the full richness and wisdom of First Nations and Indigenous cultures is fully recognized and used to shape our educational content.” She urged the large audience to reflect on the question of whether the education unions are doing enough to get quality education for indigenous children today.
At the LGTB opening session, Gabrielle Richard, from the University of Montreal, presented eye-opening results of her research on experiences in school settings. These were summarised in the form of ‘ten truths about homophobia and gender-based violence in education’, such as the fact that schools are not safe for LGBT students and that teachers need a specific training in order to tackle situations of discrimination in the classroom and beyond
Diversity: a shared task
The caucus has developed specific recommendations on how to make classrooms inclusive for all students. In this sense, the action of teachers, unions and the rest of civil society play a crucial role for change. The attendants and panellists have agreed on the fact that teachers are key providers of data in order to create new policy at school level. They share their experiences from the classroom and beyond, also liaising with other stakeholders. Trade unions need to go beyond their traditional role and take a bold stance in questions of diversity, equality and the respect for human rights.
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