Niger: Trade Union Unit for Skills Development and Improved Working Conditions for Teachers: Education International

With the help of Education International's COVID-19 solidarity fund, the national trade unions that are members of the Education International in Niger (IESNI) membership structure have helped organize a forum for integrative education policy, a workshop on skills development for 25 teachers Organization of an awareness roadshow.

The forum for integrative educational policy

The forum for integrative educational policy took place on July 23rd and 24th in Niamey. This forum brought together 60 participants, all involved in education in Niger: education unions, civil society organizations associated with education and representatives from UNESCO, the National Commission on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the National Commission on Social Dialogue and the Ministries responsible for education.

The forum included presentations on Niger's education policy and the impact of COVID-19 on the education system and social dialogue.

This forum proved to be very useful for the unions for training and informing activists and for their census in the regions of Niger, said Almoustapha Moussa, vice-coordinator of IESNI, the EI structure in Niger which the Syndicat National Des Agents de la Formation et de l & # 39; Education du Niger (SYNAFES), the Syndicat national des enseignants de base (SNEB) that Syndicat national des enseignants du Niger (SNEN), the Syndicat national des travailleurs de l & # 39; éducation du Niger (SYNTENS) and the Syndicat national des travailleurs de l & # 39; enseignement de base (SYNATREB). Moussa stated that strict guidelines have been formulated for all educational partners.

Dioffo Hamidou Finidjam, IESNI coordinator, gave the following reasons for organizing this forum:

  • The government's failure to consider educational partners in the development of educational policy.
  • The educational partners' lack of awareness of the crucial role they have to play in the development of educational policy.
  • The fact that teachers are not sufficiently trained to fully understand education policies or what strategies can be used to influence government in policy development.

In addition, IESNI affiliates urged the other educational partners to:

  • Creating an inclusive formal framework for discussing educational issues in the country.
  • Participate in raising awareness among students, parents and teachers about the fight against COVID-19. This is to ensure high quality education for everyone during and after the epidemic.
  • Support trade union proposals and work closely together to ensure the right to education by training everyone involved in education, advocacy and lobbying for decision-makers.

The representatives of the ministries responsible for education welcomed this IESNI initiative but made no commitment. They said they needed to give feedback to their superiors.

Issoufou Arzika, the IESNI's deputy coordinator, said the forum had encouraged education unions to carry out activities such as skills building for activists to oversee education policy or courses to improve advocacy skills in order to improve the living and working conditions of Education and training to contribute to training staff.

Competence development workshop for 25 teachers

The second activity also took place in Niamey on August 14th and 15th. It was a skills development workshop for 25 female union leaders from the West African Network for Women in Education (WAWEN) in Niger.

IESNI now has a group of 25 teachers who are well equipped to provide training on gender-based harassment and its consequences, as well as gender-based violence in schools. Their skills have been improved through the activity, "said Aliou Hassane Samba, IESNI Vice Coordinator. The knowledge gained by the participants will be shared with the leaders of the IESNI women's structures in Niamey and in every other region as the situation permits.

Dioffo Hamidou Finidjam, coordinator of the IESNI, pointed out that in Niger "teachers are more than teachers, which means that they often have to work in rural areas far from their families, where they are exposed to all kinds of harassment".

He also deplored the fact that "girls are constantly harassed in school and in everyday life. The creation of a group of trainers on the subject will help combat violence against women and girls, especially in schools."

Organization of an awareness roadshow

The third union item on the agenda was to organize a campaign in the form of an awareness roadshow in accordance with the program and preventive measures set by the government.

The roadshow visited the capitals of all eight regions in Niger from August 16 to 31 and was attended by IESNI activists and some teachers in the regions visited. More than 150 teachers participated in some regions and it was also an opportunity to recruit new members.

The roadshow dealt with the following topics:

  • The recommendations of the forum for educational policy.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the education system.
  • The union formation of teachers.
  • The active participation of teachers in union activities.

Sandi Mahamadou Ibrahim, Vice Coordinator of IESNI, also highlighted the concerns of teachers he had met during these meetings, including: the hiring of contract teachers in the public service to end education contracts, the payment of benefits to teachers, in particular financial implications in terms of promotion, reclassification and teacher allowances; and the fact that teacher career development has been hampered by the lack of regularization of their automatic promotions and grading.

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