During his address to Education International's 6th World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, Education International's General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, has encouraged educators from all over the world, gathered at the meeting, to become active and mobilize in order to confront the challenges the international teacher trade union movement faces.
The World Congress, held every four years, is the supreme governing body of Education International.
"The Congress provides an opportunity for representatives of all EI affiliates to meet and strengthen the bonds of solidarity between teachers and education workers throughout the world. Delegates consider the major contemporary issues affecting their organizations, the international teacher trade union movement, and the ongoing struggle to achieve quality public education for all."
Van Leeuwen said: "If we look at the history of Education International, I believe that we are ready to enter a new phase in our life.
In the first phase, from 1993 until 2001, much of the organization's capacity and energy was invested in building and consolidating unity.
At the same time EI developed THEIR advocacy, and in the second phase, over the last decade, they gained recognition as the Voice of the Teaching Profession in the international community.
"We have good reasons to be proud of that."
But, they warn, no matter how crucial it is to be united and to be heard, it is not enough.
They call for their members to "now enter a new, third phase, a phase of strengthening our capacity to mobilize."
"We must move from unity, to advocacy to mobilization. Yes, we are strong today. But we need more strength to confront the attacks on public education, the attacks on teachers and the attacks on our unions and associations."
The theme for the 6th World Congress was "Building the Future through Quality Education." It was determined by Education International's Executive Board and provided the framework for the four sub-themes: Achieving Quality Education, Inclusive quality education for an inclusive society, Trade unions working together at national and international levels and Future of education beyond the economic crisis.