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New leadership of Education International in Latin America renews commitment to public education

On Sunday April 7th, Education International in Latin America (EILA) elected the members of its Regional Committee for the period from 2024 to 2029.

The elections took place during the XIII EILA Regional Conference, which was held between the 7th and 9th of April in San José, Costa Rica and in which all organisations from the region participated.

Delegates of EILA member organisations elected the Argentinean Sonia Alesso, from the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina [Confederation of Education Workers of the Argentine Republic] (CTERA) as the new President of the Regional Committee.

Mobilising and organising for educators and public education

“It is our duty to strengthen our trade union organisations and EILA. We must organise teachers, we must be present in each of the struggles in Latin America, we must support teachers advocating for public education and we must strengthen the Go Public! campaign against privatisation and commercialisation,” stated the new President of the Regional Committee.

“We must continue the work done by the network of women workers in our region, as all these leaders have strengthened the work done by EILA. We must support the work done by our unions to fight climate change and discuss effective strategies so that our efforts to protect the environment are coordinated with the rest of society,” Alesso added.

The EILA leader also underscored the need to implement the recommendations of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession, stating that “each of our struggles, each of the topics we have discussed and fought for are in this document. Our first task will be to take the recommendations forward, ensuring politicians, ministers of education, amongst others, implement them. They are virtually an action plan for our struggle, and we must all implement them.”

David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International, addressed the Conference participants and emphasised the essential role of union solidarity with the teachers of Palestine, EI’s Go Public! Fund Education campaign calling for more investment in public education, and the importance of implementing the recommendations of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession.

“While the challenges facing the region are numerous, so are the examples of solidarity and strong leadership. I would particularly like to thank Hugo, Fátima, and Combertty for their leadership and for helping EILA become the strong voice and force for justice, rights, and education that it is today,” Edwards concluded.

Representatives from all subregions

Alesso will be working with Yorgina Alvarado, from the Costa Rican Union of Education Workers (SEC), as Vice-President for the Central America, Panama, Dominican Republic and the Caribbean Subregion.

Isabel Olaya from the Colombian Federation of Educators (FECODE) will be Vice-President for the Andean Subregion and Roberto Leão, from the National Education Workers Confederation of Brazil (CNTE) will be Vice-President for the Southern Cone Subregion.

The other members of the new Regional Committee are Gloria Roque from ANDES 21 de Junio (El Salvador), María Dolores Escobar from COLPEDAGOGOSH (Honduras), Julio Canelo from ADP (Dominican Republic), Gloria Arboleda from ASPU (Colombia), José Olivera from FENAPES (Uruguay), Elbia Pereira from FUM-TEP (Uruguay), Rosa leizaquía from SUTEP (Perú), Joviel Acevedo from STEG (Guatemala), Mario Aguilar from CPC (Chile), Paola Giménez from OTEP-A (Paraguay).

Strategic direction

The XIII Education International Latin American Regional Conference also defined the region’s key work areas and its principal aims in the next years.

Furthermore, a Declaration was unanimously approved. The declaration not only included an analysis of the realities on the ground in the different countries of the region, but also established areas of work that outline the organisation’s strategic direction and focus.

Some of these areas of work are:

  • Carry out a campaign on the recommendations of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Teaching Profession.
  • Show Latin American solidarity with education unions in Gaza, calling for peace in the region, defending teachers and children who are still being attacked in Gaza.
  • Denounce and resist reforms to education systems being implemented in all countries in the region.
  • Strengthen the Latin American Pedagogical Movement across the region.
  • Bring together a group of young teachers from the region to develop and strengthen the regional organisation.
  • Continue EILA’s fight against the militarisation of schools and the attack on academic freedom in Latin America.
  • Continue to support EI’s Teach for the Planet campaign to help counter economic policies that destroy the environment.
  • Fight the criminalisation and prosecution of social protest.
  • Strengthen EILA’s activities in the CSA – Trade Union Confederation of the Americas.
  • Strengthen democracy in Latin America, in the face of governments that violate union, human, and social rights.