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Education International (EI) has decided, after eighteen years of policy making through its Congresses and Conferences at the international and regional levels, to develop a comprehensive policy on education. This policy will encapsulate the very essence of what has made EI what it is today and reflect the goals which should underpin an education that is consistent with EI’s traditions.
This policy challenges explicitly the narrow, instrumentalist view of education as solely teaching students to become skilled employees. Instead, it argues for a perspective on education that serves both the values of the society at local and global levels, as well as cultural, democratic, social, economic and environmental needs. It recognizes that education is a human right and a public good in its own right, enabling people at all stages in their lives to achieve their maximum potential and to better understand themselves and their role and relationships. Education is also a key means for the transmission, analysis and application of knowledge and experience, and plays a central role in the creation of new knowledge through research and innovation. Its role is broader than the mechanistic and instrumental role that many proponents of market forces and “customer-provider” models acknowledge.
This policy statement is underpinned by concepts which are central to EI’s philosophy and which represent the core values and demands of the education union movement. These include quality education as a human right, education provided by public authorities and available freely to all, inclusive education and equality in education and society, and high professional status for teachers. The policy also refers to challenges that serve as a call to action to be addressed by concrete initiatives and strategies.