Education International to focus on refugees


Education International (reprinted according to terms of Creative Commons)

Education International (EI) must – and will – work to ensure that education is made available to displaced children, according to Education International’s 7th World Congress in Ottawa, Canada.

Michael Thomson of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU/Australia), Photo Credit: Gabriel Castro – IEAL

At the end of 2014, 60 million people were displaced. These UN statistics were brought to Congress by Graham Dawson, of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT/UK) who proposed a resolution on the Right to Education for Displaced People, Refugees and Stateless Children. He highlighted the plight of refugees from Iraq, Syria, the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere saying they “should not be allowed to struggle alone.”

The Resolution outlines Congress’ resolve to support member organisations in countries hosting large numbers of refugees and displaced children. It also outlined Congress’ resolve to pressure national and international agents to prioritise financial assistance for the education of refugees and internally displaced people.

The treatment of refugees all over the world is unacceptable, said Michael Thomson of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU/Australia), adding that the “inhuman treatment of children” must be tackled head on by trade unions.

EI should call for an extra protocol to make those responsible for war also responsible for education, said Jean Kamdem, Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement et de la recherche (FESER/Cameroon). This would promote quality education for all, he said, and would also promote education in areas of conflict.

Contributions to the debate were made by Michelle Olivier, SNUIPP-FSU (France), Rose Therese Magalie Georges, CNEH (Haiti), Stephanie Ly, AFT (US), Aurelia Sarasin, SNES-FSU (France), and Abdelaziz Iouy, SNE-FDT (Morocco).

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

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