SADTU Statement on the 8th EI World Congress

30 July 2019

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) wishes to congratulate Comrades Mugwena Maluleke (SADTU General Secretary) for his re-election as Education International (EI) Vice President for Africa Region and Mabutho Cele (SADTU Deputy President) for his election as the Convener of the Commonwealth Teachers Group (CTG)

Education International (EI) is a Global Union Federation that represents unions and organizations of teachers and other education employees with more than thirty- two (32) million members in about 400 organizations in 170 countries and territories.

The EI held its 8th World Congress in Bangkok, Thailand from 19 to 26 July attended by 1 500 delegates from affiliate unions across the globe.  The EI World Congress is the supreme decision making body of the Federation. It determines the policies, actions and programme and budget of the organization and elects the President, Vice Presidents, General Secretary as well as members of EI’s Executive Board. The primary objectives of the CTG is to advice and represent the interests of member organizations within the Commonwealth Secretariat and collective body of the Commonwealth ministers in the context of the policies of Education International

On Educators and their Unions Taking the Lead

The World Congress acknowledged the importance of School Leadership and resolved to urge all governments to develop well funded and tailor made programs for leaders at schools.

It further resolved to campaign aggressively for the review of copyright laws that impede access to teaching, learning and research materials.

The 8th Congress, amongst others, resolved on violence on teachers and learners at schools in Africa. The Congress made it clear that schools should be sanctuaries providing safe spaces where both teachers and children can be protected from threats and crises “We don’t need guns and bombs at schools but books”.

On the value and importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), the Congress called on governments to elevate the status of the TVET sector and its workforce.

On Promoting Democracy, Human and Trade Union Rights

The Congress sent a very strong message with their choice, electing 15 women and 12 men to the organization’s leadership. The Congress resolved to continue to advocate for women and girls in all its programs, campaigns and practices, to actively work with civil society and other groups on advancing gender equality for women and girls and to campaign for universal and equal access to quality education for women and girls.

After highlighting that sexual harassment was highly prevalent throughout most societies across professional sectors, Congress resolved to develop policy and process guidelines on sexual harassment and continue to condemn this conduct.

The Congress recognized the pain and hurt caused by colonialism and the destructive tendencies carried through education, and therefore resolved on the Decolonization of Education which includes but not limited to the protection and development of indigenous languages and appreciation of indigenous knowledge systems. It recognized that indigenous people have a history, memory and imagination and contributed immensely to civilization and development of the modern societies. The congress resolved to rid education of all negative and dehumanizing messages of supremacy and inferiority carried though the curriculum.

On ensuring Free Quality Public Education for All

The Congress reaffirmed its position on the Commercialization of the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDG) by rejecting all commercialization of education and profit-making motives in education delivery “Education is not a commodity and not for sale.”

It resolved that EI should  continue to build solidarity within and across national settings necessary to confront the ever-increasing influence and reach of global corporate actors and intergovernmental agencies promoting privatization at the global and national levels. The Congress resolved to attack and defeat Neo Liberalism and it’s vestiges in education and reaffirmed its commitment to realizing the right of all children to a free, quality, public education.

The Congress further resolved on Quality Early Childhood Education for All (ECD)  and that EI should continue to research the causes and consequences of privatization and commercialization of early childhood education around the world. “We need to professionalize Early Childhood Development and prioritize the conditions of service of educators teaching at this important level of our education,” the Congress resolved.

On Advancing the Profession

The Congress resolved on a global framework of professional teaching standards that should put  the profession at the centre of developing such standards as it is a requirement of any profession.

Congress raised concern about the mental health of teachers and resolved that EI should continue to advance the ideals, aims and objectives of the Unite for Quality Education campaign, recognizing the centrality of the health and wellbeing of teachers and students to achieving the goal of quality education for all.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat


General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 2968

Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651

Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157