Supporting the need for education for all

Anja Nielsen, Policy Officer – International relations at the National Education Union, discusses the strategy behind their important international education work.

The National Education Union – NUT Section (formerly the National Union of Teachers) has a long and proud history of international solidarity. From supporting education for all, to facilitating the exchange of knowledge and best practice, to defending human rights across borders, the work that the Union does in the field is as diverse as it is important.

Our international solidarity work is underpinned by a strategy that sets out four pillars, within which we undertake key projects and campaigns. These are:

Building members’ global awareness

The Union is a proud member of Think Global and a firm supporter of global education.”

We deliver global education training on an annual (and this year triannual) basis, and produce numerous communications to support our members’ awareness of global issues. We also actively encourage our members to get involved in international solidarity, both inside and outside of the classroom, through roles in local divisions and associations.

Quality education for all

We undertake the majority of this work through the Send My Friend to School Campaign, of which the National Union of Teachers (as we were then) was a founding member. This year’s campaign is calling on the UK to sign the Safe Schools Declaration – and we were delighted when the Foreign Secretary announced the UK’s intention to sign in April of this year.

This campaign success is a solid step towards making schools safe across the globe, but our work isn’t over yet.”

We are now ensuring that the UK implements the Declaration and encourages other countries to sign as well. The campaign also seeks to make schools safe during peacetime, especially for marginalised children, students with disabilities, and girls.

Learning from international colleagues

Unions are about professional solidarity, and we implement this at both the national and international level.”

While we are in contact with colleagues from unions across the globe on a regular basis, we are particularly proud of our work with ANDEN – the teachers’ union in Nicaragua. For the past two years, the Union has organised a teacher exchange between the UK and Nicaragua for Modern Foreign Language (MFL) teachers, facilitating knowledge and best practice sharing between teachers of additional languages. Read more about last year’s exchange in the participants’ blog, or watch their film here.

Human and trade union rights

NEU conference

A display of Jan Nimmo’s exhibition ‘Ayotzinapa: Mexico’s Missing Students’ at the NEU-NUT Section Annual Conference 2018

The Union works tirelessly in defence of human and trade union rights in places such as Mexico, Palestine, Iran and Turkey, among others. We organise events, support campaigns, publicly call on leaders to take action and encourage members to get involved in these initiatives.

This list of activities is by no means the full extent of the NEU-NUT Section’s international solidarity work – in fact, it is just the beginning.

We work closely with colleagues from a range of organisations and campaigns to advocate for a better present and future for students and teachers across the world. Find out more about our work in our termly newsletter Global Matters.

Blog by Anja Nielsen, NEU.

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