Throughout the world, public education is under a huge attack. The onslaught by governments, even if in different forms, on public education, follow operates within guidelines of the World Bank, IMF, OECD and other multilateral institutions. Even institutions such as UNESCO, who should be at the service of education, collaborate with these policies.
There is a backward movement, in many countries, of the education as a social and human right. Education, which should be public, free, secular, emancipatory, with a relevant socially quality in the interests of the working class, is not treated as the priority it should have.
Education has become an increasingly expanding marketing. The privatization of education spread around the world, with the growth of powerful conglomerates and corporations teaching that operates across the planet.
This process, of ceased the public and leave it in the hands of private endeavors, it is a requirement of corporations that exploit education as business. As well as other sectors of the economy, education goes through a process of oligopolisation. A few business corporations are moving forward and occupying the market in several countries and regions. Even if some places maintain its state character, is placed to serve the needs of business, through a set of mechanisms used by capital.
The cuts and the use of public money in the financing plans of private education, the economic adjustments and dismissal of public servants plans, reforms that affect and destroy public services, the priority of governments to pay debts to banks, among other measures, are the keynote and make education, as a social and human right, is not a priority of state policy.
Thereby, education is changed into a product or service, placed under private sectors interest, ceasing to be a democratic right of all people.
Who suffers most from this process are the poor, the sons and daughters of the working class and oppressed various sectors in each country – whether for reasons of gender, ethnicity, sexual diversity and other mechanisms that capital uses to explore humanity.
Worldwide, we have more than 100 million children and 800 million adults and young people not in education (UNICEF, 2012), which threatens the right to the future of an entire generation.
Beyond action of large corporations, government and the market, which shares mischaracterize education as a public good and human and social right, workers and education workers suffer with a gradual process of destruction of democratic conquests and attacks against pedagogical autonomy, conquered throughout its history.
Capitalist interests are dictating guidelines, standards and projects of educational policies. Under the guidance of international organizations, education becomes a foundation of capital expansion, as one of the dimensions of the commodification of various process areas before “homogenized” by action and management state, as well as take up on the political and ideological precepts of capitalist social relations.
There is a process of counter-reform of education, which is seen and offered as a business service, not as a human and social right, enshrining competitive, selective and unequal relations.
It deepens to privatizing logic, economic rationality, casualization and devaluation of the activity of workers and workers in education, the strengthening of standards of efficiency, quality and entrepreneurial meritocracy.
As never before, education has developed in a such different way: on the one hand, an education of high quality and high cost allocated to the sons and daughters of the bourgeoisie and upper-middle class sectors, and on the other hand, a competency-based education useful to tasks at work, to the sons and daughters of working men and women and oppressed sectors, transforming public education into a match totally essential to the production apparatus. To a portion of this population is only offered minimal: basic literacy and superficial knowledge of mathematics.
Conversely, this process of attacks against education has encouraged resistance from workers in education and youth in different parts of the world.
The debate on education therefore has a political nature. The political essence of this debate lies in the fundamental and crucial aspect of capitalist society: its division into antagonistic social classes, fighting for conflicting interests.
That is why we understand that only the working class can point to an overcoming of this dilemma, overcoming this social system based on alienation and human exploitation. Only the working class carries the vocation of converting into equity, of all people, knowledge, science, art and culture accumulated and developed over millennia by mankind.
Many fights have taken place in various countries, either in defense of public services, to ensure social rights, as in the defense of public education. Either strikes of professional categories, the occupations of universities and rectories, as street demonstrations of youth.
We understand that this process of gradual destruction of education as a public law must be stopped.
Therefore, the organized class unionism and youth organizations that purport to act alongside the working class to action is essential.
This international meeting is at the service of this policy.
The defense of public education must be understood as part of addressing the economic and social policies, labor rights, public services in general, public security and other social rights that have been attacked worldwide reforms.
We demand the immediate end of military occupation and the Israeli bombings in Palestine that hit hospitals and schools, killing hundreds of children. In this way, the State of Israel is the main enemy of education in Palestine. So there is education, there must be peace, freedom of people, justice and equality.
In defense of public education, free, secular, emancipatory, quality and socially referenced in the interests of the working class.
In defense of public services.
In defense of the rights of working women and men in education.
In defense of wages, career and decent work for all.
Solidarity with the authorities and trade union activists, and popular student movements, suffering with criminalization of their struggles.
Solidarity and support to the Teachers Union of Palestine.
A place for youth: the right to the future, access to knowledge, art, culture and leisure.
Rio de Janeiro, August 11, 2014
Initiatives identified by the meeting:
- Dissemination of our activities and demonstrations: commitment to spread the website of INTERNATIONAL UNION NETWORK OF SOLIDARITY AND STRUGGLES (http://laboursolidarityandstruggle.org/), with the delivery of news and information from all countries in order to inform about the situation of the struggle for public education in many countries, conflicts with governments, investigate and publicize the situation of the organization of the dominant sectors, map major economic groups with expertise in education, characterize major government policies for basic and higher education, placing evidence on the transfer of public resources to the private sector.
- Spread, in publications, on the webpage, videos and other platforms the alternatives proposed public education, popular, critical pedagogy of the capital and plan an international meeting about this subject.
- Ensure regular exchange of information, initiatives in each country, congress of trade unions, among others by creating a group on the internet. Preparation of periodic reports on the struggles in education.
- Evaluate the possibility of new meetings starting from the definitions that are adopted by coordinating of INTERNATIONAL UNION NETWORK OF SOLIDARITY AND STRUGGLES about next year, 2015
- Foster the theoretical and policy development, ensuring the circulation list of the texts presented.
- Investigate, expose and fight against capital initiatives to control public education, and the dissemination of international assessments (Tunning project and educational models such as charter schools).
- Monitor and fight the free trade treaties, in particular the General Agreement on Trade in Services of the WTO and Mercosul agreements with the European Union.
- Start exchanges with the European Network of Alternative and Base Unions and other organizations that advocate education as a social right.
- Support and propose campaigns on issues that mobilize in our respective countries like “stop with public money to fund private education”, for example.
- Keep discussing about other topics proposed for collective reflection, how new information and communication technologies and their impact on teaching and working with students; evaluation of public policies of governments called “democratic transition”, “popular fronts” or “class collaboration”, such as Ecuador and Brazil.
Motion of solidarity with the Palestinian people
The participants of the International Conference in Defense of Public Education, meeting in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) on August 11, we express our strongest condemnation of the occupation and bombing is being done by the Zionist State of Israel in the Gaza Strip.
The teachers and the student youth can not remain indifferent, while Israeli tanks and bombs attacking hospitals, schools and homes, causing a true real massacre.
The Palestinian struggle for their national rights, a democratic state in the entire territory, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of refugees, is a heroic and historic struggle. So now with this new attack, we urge all workers and young people, their unions, trade associations and cultural organizations, especially organizations in the education sector, to actively participate in all demonstrations of solidarity that have been organized around the world and require our governments to rupture of relations with the Zionist State of Israel.
Stop the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian people!
Rupture of relations with the Zionist State of Israel!
Support for the struggle of the Palestinian Union of Teachers (Gupt) against Israeli occupation!
Active support to the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people!
Rio de Janeiro, August 11, 2014
Ahmed AY Sehweil, Gupt – Union of Palestinian Teachers
Cybele David and Nara Cladera, SUD EDUCATION – Solidaires (France)
Mariluz Arriaga, UNAM, Tri-National Coalition en Defensa de la Red SEPA public y (Mexico) educación
Edgar Isch, Universidad Central del Ecuador y RED SEPA
Cecilia Rosa Lemus, Unidad Lecturer PST (Colombia)
Laura Souza Fonseca, ANDES National Union / UFRGS (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil)
Renata Vereza, ANDES National Union (Federal University of Amazonas)
Viviane Narvaes, ANDES National Union (Rio de Janeiro)
Luciano R. Coutinho S., ANDES (Rio de Janeiro)
Cocoa Pereira, CSP CONLUTAS, Brazil
Janaina Oliveira, RING (National Assembly of Students – Free), Brazil
Rita Souza, CSP- CONLUTAS – Rio de Janeiro
Susana Gutierrez, State Union of Teachers of Rio de Janeiro
Paula Pascarelli, CSP- CONLUTAS – São Paulo
Roberto Leher, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Jorge Alberto Silva de Lima, National Union ANDES
Elizabeth Barbosa, ANDES National Union / Regional Rio de Janeiro
Sonia Lucio de Lima, National Union ANDES
Mauro Puerro, CSP CONLUTAS / Teachers Union Guarulhos
Ladybug Oliveira, CSP Conlutas