Education International affiliates in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have embarked on a project to develop a guide on COVID-19 intended for teachers and to organise workshops on how to use it. The project has also raised awareness among teachers on the importance of unionisation.
The project brought together the Centrale de l’Education Nationale et de la Recherche Scientifique (CSC-Enseignement), the Fédération nationale des enseignants du Congo (FENECO-UNTC) and the Syndicat des Enseignants du Congo (SYECO). It has also received the combination of support from the Centrale des syndicats du Québec/Canada for the development of a guide and support from Education International for the organisation of workshops using the guide. Twenty-four meetings of 20 persons were held in July and August in all neighbourhoods of the capital, Kinshasa.
A dual objective of this trade union project
The aim of the project was twofold:
- Providing information on the health crisis and showing that trade unions are furnishing fundamental information which has not been sufficiently provided by the authorities; and
- showing the importance of union organisation at a time of crisis, including to present demands period to remind teachers of the importance of unionisation and the important role of trade unions to present demands to the authorities.
The text of the project states that “Governments, as has been observed throughout the world, have taken advantage of this period to disregard social dialogue. National level bodies are working seriously on this and would not want to appear any longer to be cut off from the grassroots. It is important for grassroots leaders to take ownership of this process to give their full support to the trade union position.”
The guide developed by the affiliates (in French) and distributed/used during the workshops is 20-pages long and consists of two parts, one dealing with concepts relating to COVID-19, the other with trade unionism in the context of COVID-19. The second part contains EI’s recommendations for reopening schools.