International and the Forging of Professional Unity
The paper maintains that the current era, marked by
a new global economy transforming economic and social development, has
created the need for a reorganisation of teachers’ representation.
This paper discusses a key development in teacher organisation,
namely the emergence of Education International as a global hub for
teacher unionism from across the world.
This unique organisation, formulated in response to the emergence
of global economies and supra-national figures, represents teachers’
response to globalised institutions and has instigated projects, such as
the Professional Code of Ethics, which aim to create a sense of
professional identity and unity amongst teachers.
The organisation presents the political voice of teachers as a
global collective that seeks to embed teachers’ interests in education
reform and in the public debates concerning the direction of educational
change in the era of globalisation.
The paper concludes by outlining an ongoing issue that
jeopardizes the collective voice of teachers and stresses how this needs
to be further addressed in the ethical frameworks of what it means to be
a teacher in the 21st century.
teaching profession; ethics; unionism; and social movements
Introduction: Contextualising Teachers’ Identity
The evolution of teachers’ practice and
professionalism has occurred through a negotiation of shared interests
between demands of the Nation-State, civil society, and the teaching
profession (Lawn, 1987). However,
the advent of globalisation presented significant shifts in educational
reorganisation and subsequent teacher reforms.
In the era of globalisation, part of the reform movement has
focused on quality education for all students, and most reform is framed
in terms of better outcomes for students (A. Hargreaves & Evans, 1997).
Strategies stressing achieving better student outcomes required that
teachers’ work become more strongly aligned with practices focused on
standardizing classroom practice, and implementing regimes of
administration and regulatory accountability practices. These efforts
attempted to generate the quality teacher and reproduce a set of
professional practices thought to be more effective and efficient in
achieving desired student outcomes.
An additional demand placed upon teachers was their subscription
to ongoing learning designed to tailor their professional development
according to the needs of students and their schools, perhaps at the
expense of their own career plans and interests (Duan, 1997; A.
Hargreaves & Evans, 1997; D. H. Hargreaves, 2000; Kaplan, 1996).
In addition to the redesigning of teachers’ work
practices, public perceptions about the teaching profession in the light
of large-scale social and economic change have also impacted the way
that the profession has sought to address the concerns of the community
(Luke, 2004). Responding to
community demands about levels of professionalism and trust, that
teachers should be this or that, the professionalism of teachers and of
teaching came under scrutiny, generating public criticism that
articulates concerns about perceived falling educational standards and
teachers’ responsibility for declining standards in education (Luke,
Global Response to Teachers’ Reform
The aforementioned public response and policy
changes to teacher practice and teacher responsibility reflected a
common pattern of national responses, government policies, and revision
of teaching standards (Green, 1999). These template responses
illustrated the advent of the globalisation of education, where concerns
about harnessing the new global economy presented governments with a set
of contemporary issues confronting teachers.
While there were localized differences in how the teaching
profession responded to the emerging global economy, the aggregate
experiences of teachers appear to have common themes (Vongalis, 2004).
Much has been researched about the role of global agencies, such as the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World
Bank and UNESCO, that assumed a greater governance role in redesigning
education systems so that education systems dovetailed better with the
knowledge demands of the global economy (OECD, 2000; Spring, 1998;
UNESCO, 2000; WorldBank, 2000). These policies had deep implications for
teachers and focused on changing teacher culture, professionalism,
practice and unionism (OECD, 1998; Smyth & Shacklock, 1998).
It may appear from this short discussion that
teachers were a passive recipient of policy reshaping their practice and
a marginalized stakeholder in educational reforms, considering the
supra-national organisations directing educational change and
influencing local education systems.
However, this is not the case.
A compensatory consequence of globalisation, the influence of
supra-national educational stakeholders and subsequent educational
reforms, has been the emergence of Education International.
This organisation came together in 1995 as a global affiliation
of teachers’ unions and federations from around the world.
Currently, the organisation represents over 300 teachers’ unions
from across the globe. The
organisation presents the collective, political voice of teachers as a
social movement organisation that seeks to represent teachers and
education reform in the public and social politics of globalisation and
educational reforms (EducationInternational, 2002).
This paper discusses the role of Education
International in constructing the Professional Code of Ethics. By
articulating an ethical component to teachers’ identity, Education
International presented teachers with a political strategy to forge
their collective interests in a changing education and social context.
The focus of this paper, outlining key policy development instigated by
Education International, intends to showcase the capacity for dynamic
teacher response to globalisation and illustrate the underpinning
political strategy involved in constructing a teachers’ code of ethics
that maintains core beliefs about education and teaching.
Education International: A Brief Background
The emergence of Education International resulted
from a merger between International Federation of Free Trade Unions, and
World Federation of Teaching Professionals.
The merger occurred in 1995 in recognition of a new era in world
organisations and world politics in which organisations could no longer
focus on purely national concerns, as these were tied up with global
movements. The emergence of supra-national organisations such as OECD,
World Bank and IMF, saw these supra-figures as powerful players in
steering social, economic and political reforms (Marginson, 1999; Sklair,
1997; Spring, 1998).
In response to the emergence of global agencies in
social policy development, the formation of Education International grew
out of the recognition that teachers, as a professional class, had to
confront new global social conditions. An interview with Sharan Burrow,
the Vice President of Education International until July 2001, provides
the historical backdrop that steered the teaching profession towards a
global organisation. Burrow states,
The convergence of International Federation of Free
Trade Unions (IFFTU) and World Confederation of Teaching Professionals
(WCOTP) in 1993, in
Education International, as the teachers’ global
representative body, aims to become a catalyst in global social policy
in order to articulate and pursue the interests of teachers at the
macro-level of policy construction. Education International holds World
Congress meetings as a way to address the concerns of teachers in the
global age. In doing so, the organisation has created a powerful
supra-figure, able to influence education policies at the global level
of policy discourse. The creation of a global union, Education
International, specifically addressed teachers’ need for
macro-representation at the global level of policy construction. It aims
to “further the cause of organisations of teachers and education
employees, to promote the status, interests, and welfare of their
members, and to defend their trade union and professional rights” (EducationInternational,
2002). Education International tackles issues concerning teachers’
professionalism, opportunities to learn, education and social change in
all areas of the globe. It represents teachers as a global, autonomous
collective, made up of over 30 million, and maintains the “collective
strength of teachers and education employees” (EducationalInternational,
2002). Currently, the web site states,
Welcome to the official website of Education
International, the federation of organisations representing over 30
million teachers and other education workers, through 384 member
organisations in 169 countries and territories. As the Global Union
representing education workers worldwide, Education International
unifies all teachers and education workers. Be it a remote village or a
cosmopolitan city, Education International promotes the rights of every
teacher wherever they are, and the rights of every student they educate
Every two years, Education International holds a
World Congress, which gathers teachers and their representatives from
across the globe. The Congress is a week-long meeting in which teachers
participate in discussion and workshops, elect representatives, and
respond to current issues. It is a forum for teachers to unite and help
strategise professional responses to education, teaching, and social
issues. Third World Congress, held in Jomtien (
The movement to articulate and define what it means
to be a teacher has political roots. As intimated previously, the
teaching profession has evolved out of negotiations among demands of
different stakeholders in education. A key stakeholder has been the
teaching profession that has maintained control over professional
knowledge, standards and practice through the formation of teaching
unions (Ginsburg, 1995; Lawn, 1985).
Much has been written about teacher unionism, and this paper focuses
on current teacher union activity from Education International to
illustrate the political strategy intended to deflect criticism of the
profession that is somehow out of date and out of touch with educational
strategizing. The Education International campaign presents an
alternative vision of what it means to be a teacher in the 21st
century and counters the overly critical discourse pursued in
educational policy and filtering into public perception.
The construction of a code of ethics for teachers
can be seen as part of a global social movement, which represents a
bipartisan and bilateral way for the teaching profession to reunite as a
global epistemic community. Where once teachers’ negotiation was with
governments and the state, the era of globalisation added another layer
of educational stakeholders, namely supra-national agencies that made
significant policy recommendations addressing how nations should reform
education in the light of globalised economies (Marginson, 1999).
Education International’s ethics project initiative came about as a
direct response to the globalisation of education and the template of
educational reforms which scrutinized and undermined the professionalism
of teachers (Buenfil-Burgos, 2000; Giroux, 2000; Ozga, 1995). The
Professional Code of Ethics, initiated by Education International in
2001, seeks to create solidarity amongst teachers across the globe,
represents concerns of teachers from developed and developing countries,
and ensures that the profession maintains political power in
representing the voices of teachers in determining how the teaching
profession develops into the 21st century. The Professional
Code of Ethics, defined as a political tool, is part of a broader
strategy to help teachers redefine and respond to public perception that
their skills and knowledge were somehow inadequate. The Professional
Code of Ethics provided the text for teachers that allowed them to
respond to questions and problems, and to redefine relations with
different stakeholders in education.
This paper discusses the Professional Code of
Ethics to show that constructing and articulating an ethical component
to teachers’ identity presented teachers with a political strategy to
articulate their interests in a changing education and social context,
and in doing so, make progress towards reclaiming their authority in
remaking their profession. Rather than using the language of policy
infused with neo-liberal reconstruction of the social-economic context,
Education International, through the construction of an ethical basis
for teaching, provided a basis for teacher solidarity in the way that
teachers could respond to globalised policy and help negotiate their
professional identities as a global epistemic community.
Global Federation of Teachers’ Unions: New Teacher Unionism
It is in the policies of OECD, UNESCO and World
Bank, for example, that we see the global template of education emerging
as these global agencies assume greater power in deciding upon what
education should look like in the global era (Ozga, 2000; Spring, 1998;
Vongalis, 2004; Zanten, 2000). For example, in OECD policy, the
challenge issued to teachers was to break with the culture of the past
in order to restore public faith in the profession as an asset, rather
than as an obstacle, to change. What is meant by union obstacle?
Consider the following:
Teachers’ unions of the past are associated with
strikes and actions that blocked reforms. Union activity labeled as an
obstacle to reform is not limited to developing nations. The Colombian
experience, outlined in the above quotation, typifies the type of
teachers’ militancy associated with teacher unionism that the OECD
policy wishes to leave behind. Teachers’ involvement in social
revolutions in Europe and
World Bank education policy addresses teacher
unionism differently. Policy endorses the freedom of professional
association and some form of collective bargaining and relies on union
activity as a management tool for collective bargaining, ironing out
working conditions, and negotiating incentives (Vongalis, 2003). The
union provides a managerial unity of employees for more efficient
administration and policy action. In this capacity, the role of the
union and its representatives allows for participation in reform
discussions and in matters of working conditions. These two areas of
negotiation, reform and discussions about working conditions, constitute
the basis of arbitration procedures. But this does not mean the
acceptance of unions in a full, historical and political sense. Rather,
the World Bank’s emphasis on including limited union representations is
a way to overcome institutional blocks (Corrales, 1999). A World
Bank-endorsed strategic report states,
At the outset, it is argued that the political
conditions for the adoption of quality-oriented education reforms remain
unfavourable, despite a new impetus in favour of reform. Quality reforms
produce concentrated costs and distributed benefits, leading to the rise
of strong veto groups (e. g., teachers’ unions, bureaucrats and
university students). Often, these veto groups are highly organized,
resourceful and well connected to political parties, thereby magnifying
their capacity to contest the reforms (Corrales, 1999, p. vii).
Increasingly, unions become a way of managing
employees when dealing with wages and benefits, policies, training and
development, career and promotion. Interaction between employer and
union becomes a form of administration underlying a pressure to fit in
and adapt to the collective political and social values to those of the
employer (Capelli, 1999).
In OECD policy, the relationship between teachers
and their trade unions suggests that far from losing control over their
professional development, unions do have the interests of the profession
in mind. The roles of unions are endorsed as long as their activities
meet the agenda of the school and the sum of the teachers within it. The
type of union activity approved in OECD policy is tied to the imperative
of quality teaching and teacher training. A program run in Japan where
the Japanese Teachers’ Union, in conjunction with industry, places
teachers in industry experience for a three-day period over their
holidays, is an example of endorsed union activity that aims to broaden
the experience of teachers so that their teaching is better informed and
more reflective of community expectations (CERI, 1998a). Policy from
supra-national organisations suggests that there is room for teacher
unionism in the globalised era. Teachers’ unions are recognized
as shaping teachers’ interests and representing a key stakeholder in how
other educational stakeholders negotiate change.
Professional Ethics: Global Union Response to Educational Change
Education International sought to extend the
capacity of teachers’ representation in global policy, focusing on key
beliefs that underpinned teachers’ unity. Maintaining quality public
education, and making this ideal a keystone in any democratic society,
is an example of a key belief underpinning Education International’s
vision for educational reforms. Education International nominated
teachers as the custodians of quality public education and set about
outlining how teachers could commit, represent and assure the public’s
faith in their professional judgments. Education International set about
responding to the general deprofessionalisation and the undermining of
the teaching progession, which were becoming key themes in education
policies and policy rhetoric (CERI, 1998b; D. H. Hargreaves, 2000;
Hartley, 1992). Echoing the opinions from teachers and their union
representatives at the Education International Third World Congress in
2001, teacher unionism meant reaffirming the critical role of educators,
which includes maintaining a social and political role for teachers,
part of which is negotiating the political landscape and political
interests pushing for educational reforms and new professionalism. For
example, consider the views from Chilean and Gambian teachers and their
representatives, as expressed at the Education International Third World
Congress. They stated,
Teachers and trade unions need to work together to
promote an ideological framework in school and society as well. Teachers
must play a political role in society (Education International Third
World Congress, Chilean teachers’ union). (Vongalis, 2003, p. 254.)
Teachers sought a renewed or transformed
professional identity reflecting their full status in education systems.
The quotations show that teachers’ interests are not only what happens
in schools, but what happens in society.
Salt, Cervero and Herod (2000) describe
transformatory solidarity as the collective class action that seeks to
change the structural premises of globalisation as a neo-liberal pattern
of social reform. Education International provides a basis for
congregating teachers’ interests and fostering teachers’ transformatory
solidarity based on the shared beliefs of free education, equality of
opportunity, international support, and teachers’ actions that extend
into social and education politics. For example, a number of delegates
at the Third World Congress spoke of similar beliefs (Vongalis, 2003, p.
Education should be free, compulsory and based on
equality (French teachers’ union).
Tolerance and equality are key principles to shape
human values and shape human beings for social life (Polish teachers’
Teachers are arbiters of change, have clear roles and
responsibility, fight to achieve economic levels and conditions.
Colleagues have to fight for conditions, to shift focus of demands to
human aspects of globalisation and highlight the educational role of
teachers (Chilean teachers’ union).
There is a need to stop private schools and to
mobilize teachers’ unions to strongly object to the privatization of
education (Nepalese teachers’ union).
What emerge from such quotations are demands for
greater teacher control in how the profession develops and reframes
itself. The Code of Professional Ethics addresses these concerns from
teachers representing both developing and developed nations.
A Theoretical Basis for Code of Ethics
Teaching does make moral demands on the teacher,
specifically evident in teachers’ relationships with a number of
stakeholders (Sockett, 1993). Perhaps the ethical component of teachers’
work is most evident in teachers’ responsibility to ensure the safety of
their students, inclusive of both physical and emotional safety. The
central thesis about the ethical claims of teaching concern the causal
relationship between the moral claims of teachers and the influences on
their students. For Sockett, the concept of professional virtue
underpins the development of the profession. If taken further, the
virtue extends into teachers’ dealings with their communities, the
demands for accountability, the knowledge base for teaching, and
finally, teachers’ ideals about the value of education. However, rather
than putting the onus on individual teachers to use an ethical basis to
inform their practice, ethics can form the basis of collective values
and behaviours. According to Abbott (1983), the five basic properties of
professional ethics include universal distribution, enforceable
visibility, allowance for individuality, collegial obligations, and
alignment with recognized status. Abbott also adds that both intra- and
extra-professional status need to be taken into account when forging
professional ethics. These properties present the basis for a collective
agreement about teachers’ ethical obligations. Rather than promoting
ethical teaching as a personal obligation and preference, ethical
deliberations, taking into account the types of properties suggested by
Abbott, become part of the negotiations in defining the profession.
Considering the potential for disunity, when
considering the vast differences in teachers’ conditions, preferences,
and ethical interpretations that may occur, considering the differing
context of education across the globe, a unified response from the
profession is timely. Abbott is suggesting a systematic approach to
articulating the common ground, which can be seen as a strategy for
universalizing professional understandings of ethics in teaching.
A Practical Strategy for Code of Ethics
A concerted effort to reclaim professional
authority and automomy is pursued by Education International through the
Professional Code of Ethics. The code is specifically designed to
clarify and identify the teaching profession across a range of social
and economic contexts. According to Education International, the Code of
a tool to assist teachers and education personnel when
questions of professional behavior and ethics arise. The discussion of
ethical questions be on-going among educators since it is too late to
start the debate when a problem surfaces. No code can cover every
eventuality and this one is no different. It is however intended to be
of assistance to educators addressing relations with the different
stakeholders in education (Extract from Agenda 11 Draft International
Code of Ethics, Section I, DOC: E11). (EducationInternational, 2002.)
The Professional Code of Ethics makes universal
claims insofar as they construct a set of uniform guidelines for
teachers that articulate what it means
to be a teacher in the current
context. In making these claims, attention is given both to external
demands, for example, the demands of different stakeholders, and to
internal demands, such as the need for ongoing conversations about what
it means to be a teacher. The ethical guidelines aim to unpack the
notion of ethical behaviour and move towards greater transparency in
making visible professional obligations.
The teaching profession may benefit greatly from a
discussion about the core values of the profession. Such raising of
consciousness about the norms and ethics of the profession may
contribute to increasing job satisfaction among teachers and education
personnel, to enhancing their status and self-esteem, and to increasing
respect for the profession in society (EducationInternational, 2004).
The Code of Ethics outlines six key commitments:
commitment to the profession,
commitment to students, commitment to colleagues, commitment to
management personnel, commitment to parents, and finally, the
community’s commitment to its teachers. The teacher is represented as a
principled figure, entrusted with moral authority, able to make sense of
change, and in doing so, can help students to make sense of change. The
Code of Ethics stresses the public duties and moral commitment of
teachers as public employees entrusted by society. This trust requires
teachers to adhere to a moral code of conduct where true professionalism
is guided by high ethical standards. Finally, the Code addresses
teachers’ social agency and political commitment. Thus, there are
explicit clauses requiring teachers to combat racism and discrimination.
The ethical guidelines are firmly aligned to International Labour
Organization (ILO, 1996) principles outlining working conditions that
include core values such as job satisfaction and unity through the
increased esteem of the profession (EducationInternational, 2002).
Britzman (2000) encapsulates this participation by stating that,
If teacher education is to join the world, be affected
by its participation in world making, and question the ‘goodness’ of its
own passions, we must rethink not only past practices and what goes
under the name of professionalism, but also the very imagination it will
take to exceed compliance, fear controversy, and ‘unclaimed’ experiences
(Britzman, p, 204).
The articulation of a Code of Ethics to
universalize and articulate the basic premise of teachers’ identity and
practice shows that there is a strategic role for Education
International to organize the reconstruction of professional ethics and
take leadership in framing how teachers can reclaim control of their
professional evolution. Education International has the capacity to
universalize professional understandings and help forge solidarity
amongst disparate teachers’ groups.
While the universality of the Code of Ethics seeks
to present a united front in terms of what it means to be a teacher,
there are outstanding intra-professional issues that also need further
debate within the profession. As intimated earlier, Abbott (1983)
constituted professionalism as having both internal and external
dimensions. The previous discussion has outlined the role for Education
International in constructing an ethical framework through which the
profession can be identified by other stakeholders. However, the
internal dimensions of professional ethics also need further attention.
If solidarity is defined as a shared culture, as “a set of shared
premises and practices” (Wallerstein, 1999, p. 3), then the shared ideas
and values refer to internal bonds among members.
There is an outstanding issue that is integral to
the teaching profession and one that is crucial to creating global
solidarity. Teachers at the Education International Third World Congress
identified gender as a critical area of concern relevant to educating in
the global economy (Vongalis, 2004). Gender issues were raised not only
about the way girls’ and boys’ education is differentiated in many
countries, but also with regards to the feminization of the teaching
profession and the effect on work and practices in the global age. The
next section discusses how issues of gender impinge on solidarity and
teachers’ capacity to stand united in their response to globalisation
and education reforms.
While professional solidarity synthesizes relations
among the teaching fraternity around the world, social change and
educational change are dependent on collective action and the shared
premises upon which action is based (Hopkins, Wallerstein & Casparis,
1996; Wallerstein, 1999). Wallerstein
states that cultural phenomena are created socially and thus re-created
One way to fight against loss of liberty and equality
. . . is to create and re-create particular cultural entities . . .that
would be social—not individual, that would be particularisms whose
object would be the restoration of the universal reality of liberty and
equality (Wallerstein, 1991, p. 224).
While the Code of Ethics represents a step forward
for teacher solidarity, there are internal divisions among teachers.
Wallerstein (1991) suggests that cultural practices and the shared
premises of the cultural attributes of these practices are often shared
subconsciously between classes and thus elude discussion. The
experiences of teachers at the Education International Third World
Congress reveal that gender issues pose a threat to solidarity in
teacher relations. The disparate experiences of male and female teachers
in many countries necessitate a review of the shared premises of
solidarity in order to clarify and make certain a global solidarity.
The feminisation of the teaching force is akin to
the “stereotyping of the profession as doing reproductive work
associated with women,” said teachers from the Asia Pacific Region.
Teachers from the
The overriding negative is the stereotyping of the
profession as a nurturing/caring profession which leads to lower salary
and lower income. The way that gender equates to lower income and status
needs to be redressed. The social status of women and girls must be
improved. There is a call for gender sensitive education; strengthening
of women’s committees and participation in all levels of decision making
and planning (Education International Third World Congress,
Stereotyping the profession as doing reproductive
work, focused on a caring and nurturing role, is detrimental to all
teachers. In this situation, teachers are not teaching experts of
disciplinary authorities, but instead become care-givers, which impacts
on their status and has further implications for working conditions and
wages. For example, teachers from
The women’s caucus at the Education International
World Congress voiced opinions that males can be blind to the plight of
women or see gender issues as unimportant. Ultimately, this leads to
sectarian thinking because, in being blind to intra-class differences,
the impacts of different shared premises may impinge on building
stronger solidarity and an autonomous, authoritative profession. Within
the teaching class, women teachers are saying that the reality for
female teachers is markedly different to that of male teachers. One
example is the lack of female teachers in leadership positions:
There is a feminization of the profession at all
levels but this is not reflected in higher education and post secondary
education (Education International Third World Congress, Caribbean-North
American Region teachers’ union). (Vongalis, 2003, p. 255.)
In the light of the deteriorating conditions for
women and the perception that teaching presents different opportunities
for men and women, Education International continues to modernize
relations between the genders. The first step is to make conscious the
fact that gender equality is still an important issue not only for
females, but also for males in the profession. To create solidarity
between the genders, the struggle faced by women teachers becomes part
of the greater social struggle to achieve equality, inclusion, and
opportunity for all members of society, irrespective of class and
There are social an cultural obstacles to overcome
with respect to gender equality. The position of women in society is low
e. g. the practice of genital mutilation as a practice needs to be
fought. There is a displacement of the family and this has had a
negative effect on women (Education International Third World Congress,
African Region teachers’ unions).
There is a need to modernize societies and this
includes the political life of women (Education International Third
World Congress, African Region teachers’ unions). (Vongalis, 2003, p.
Furthermore, Education International is proactive
in addressing the need for more leadership training for women. European
teachers called for more confidence-building training for teachers, as
the lack of confidence rather than ability is seen as a key factor in
hampering women’s entry into higher positions. European teachers’ unions
Education International to respond to their needs i.
e. through training activity to build confidence in women and inclusive
activity with men. There needs to be cooperation for development and the
devising of new models which allow for gender analysis as well as means
to analyze and evaluate such programs (Education International Third
World Congress, European teachers’ unions). (Vongalis, 2003, p. 254.)
The European region calls for Education
International to extend training for women to build leadership and
confidence. In addition, they call for greater analysis to devise new
programs for women in leadership. The Latin American teachers concur:
. . .neo-liberal policies that have destroyed social
and education conditions e. g. the increase in illiteracy rates amongst
women and girls. In teaching profession 95% promotions to men and 67% of
secondary teachers are men, therefore the higher paid jobs go to men.
Teachers reproduce cultural inequalities and therefore deprive the world
of women’s activity. Call for coordinating body of women educators and a
revoking of World Bank health and education policies. (Vongalis, 2003,
Education should not stop at literacy but more
emphasis is needed on higher education, especially of women so they have
the ability to influence decision-making about education policy and its
relation to the status of women (Education International Third World
Congress, Moroccan teachers’ union). (Vongalis, 2003, p. 257.)
Education International is aiming to implement
programs for more leadership training for women, more union seminars and
learning opportunities, and social activism to address health issues
such as AIDS that have impacted on women and families.
Recommendations to increase gender awareness, to
influence the curriculum and make opportunity more accessible.
Provide safety net for children and teachers and ensure a higher
allocation of resources to education and health (Education International
Third World Congress, Asia Pacific Region teachers’ unions). (Vongalis,
2003, p. 260.)
By making conscious the problems that cause discord
in the shared premise that constructs teachers’ class identity and
solidarity, the construction of a global class means the gender politics
of the collective require concerted attention and proactive policy
action. The capacity of a social class such as teachers to struggle
against discrimination and exclusion, whether social, economic, or
gender, depends on forging a new solidarity, not only between national
and international relations, but also within the internal relations and
their premise of what binds them as a class. In the words of Bill Jorday,
speaking at the Education International Third World Congress, to harness
the full power of the collective, to challenge corporate agendas and the
erosion of education as a human right and education as a public good,
teachers must “change themselves and use education as a power, weapon
and for greater intelligence” (Jordan, 2001).
The construction of a Professional Code of Ethics
is a policy movement fuelling solidarity towards greater integration and
the interdependency of
teachers worldwide. It answers the challenge for teachers’ unions to
move forward and outward into global and local communities in search of
the common good that addresses social and education needs for all. By
articulating who teachers are in this global age and what they stand
for, teachers are strengthening their ability to make a more significant
contribution to education reform.
The professional guidelines exemplify the
professionalism, honour, and highest social commitment demanded of
teachers by the public and responds to the decline of public confidence
in teachers and their professional judgments by making policy about what
a teacher is, and can do, in the global age. In other words, the Code of
Ethics forms the beginnings of defining teachers’ identity, according to
The Code of Ethics therefore needs to be
constructed as a powerful statement about teacher identity that
addresses issues of gender and representation that confront the
profession. By reaching out to global organisations that have used
teacher ethics as a way to unite the profession at the global level,
local organisations can align themselves to powerful coalitions that
give greater capacity for teachers to empower their own profession and
be a force in determining what it means to be a teacher in the new
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