EI Asia Pacific teacher unions bolster efforts,

charts roadmap for Education Agenda 2030

Around seven hundred school union leaders came as official delegates and observers during the 8th Education International Asia Pacific Regional Conference held at Hotel Yak and Yeti, Kathmandu, Nepal from October 10-12, 2017. This quadrennial meet had adopted the theme “Transforming Asia-Pacific Education Unions Driving Education 2030 Agenda.”

As a tradition, a series of pre-conference forums were held a day earlier. EI Asia Pacific teacher unions brought Education 2030 Agenda, Equality, and LGBTI center staged.

The program officially started with a symbolic lightning ceremony offered by the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Mr. Gopal Man Shrestha, EI President Sis. Susan Hopgood, and EIAP Chief Coordinator Sis. Shashi Bala Singh as the conference opens. Ms. Hopgood delivered her opening address with warm greetings and emphasis on quality schools and quality teachers. Mr. Shrestha had focused his address on the new quality education 2030 innovation program that will make Nepali education functional, which has direct impact to socio-economic growth. He further stressed that all governments and stakeholders should address the need of education to attain Education 2030 goals. Greetings and solidarity messages from different global organizations were also expressed and sent by ITUC-Asia Pacific Office, ILO Country Director (Nepal), UNESCO-Nepal Head, and UEN (Norway) in behalf of the development partners.

Bro. Fred Van Leeuwen, EI General Secretary, delivered the keynote address. Accordingly, he had witnessed the collective efforts of the Nepalese people after the great 2015 earthquake especially the teacher unions which prevented the further effect of natural disaster to education.

In the afternoon, the delegates unanimously approved the conference agenda and the composition of the Resolutions, Credentials, and Elections Committees were appointed. Bro. Grahame McCullough, Datuk Lok Yim Peng, and Sis. Marilou Pantaleon served as chairpersons of the said committees.

The second day morning session had the sub-regional groups and break-out sessions which highlighted reports and discussions on Quality Public Education for All: Education 2030 Agenda, Quality Teachers for Quality Education, Financing Quality Education: Challenges of Privatisation and Commercialisation of Education, and Teachers Unions Promoting Equity in Society. In the afternoon, plenary reports were made. Conference report prepared by the EIAP Regional Office, likewise, was adopted. The adoption was followed by the approval of the amendments to EIAP By-laws. (For full details, please refer to the Conference Proceedings).

The third day of the conference started with an overview made by Mr. Mukundra Gautam, President ISTU (Nepal) on for-profit education. In the interim, Mr. Angelo Gavrielatos, EI Global Response Campaign Director amplified the commercialisation and privatisation of education which is primarily and (must be) exclusively a public service. Mr. Gavrielatos cited that the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals by the UN on 2015 is celebrated yet a number of challenges to provide quality education for all are apparent. On this, EI, teachers unions, and teachers around the globe should not comprise children and their right to education for profit.

A number of related and thematic resolutions were endorsed and eventually adopted after discussions and debates in the plenary. The results of the election of new regional committee members were revealed in the afternoon by the Chair of the Election Committee.

Datuk Lok Yim Peng gave the closing remarks on behalf of the Outgoing Chairperson, Mr. Yasunago Okamoto (JTU, Japan). Mr. Masaki Okajima (JTU, Japan), incoming EI AP Regional Committee Chair, sent his thanks to all who supported him. He committed himself and the entire teachers union in the region to continue fight for the right to quality education, continue to unite against privatisation and commercialisation of education, and protect too the rights of every teacher and education worker.

Mr. Keshab Niraula (NTA, Nepal) gave vote of thanks Nepal teachers unions being the host of the 8th EIAP Regional Conference. The quality of education is highlighted as the greatest gift that can be given to children; thus, continue to work for their future as quality teachers and union leaders. Ms. Singh officially closed the conference by thanking everybody for the participation.

AWN Newsletter - December 2017