International news

The NUT’s e-newsletter brings you up-to-date with our internationalsolidarity campaigns and activities.

Global matters - spring 2015   Global Stage
Summer 2017    

Archive of Global Matters

The NUT was delighted to welcome two teachers from Cuba, attending a summer course in Edinburgh on teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP), who visited NUT headquarters today. They teach English for medical purposes in Havana and are part of the Cuban Association of Pedagogues (APC-ELI). The NUT has a proud history of supporting two students from the APC-ELI to attend this course every year.


Condolences expressed after devastating mudslide in Sierra Leone
A mudslide and flooding in Sierra Leone has devastated parts of the country's capital. Nearly 400 people are confirmed dead and hundreds are still missing. The National Union of Teachers expresses deep sympathies and condolences for the members, staff and communities of the Sierra Leone Teachers' Union (SLTU) affected by this devastating event. Read the union's letter to the SLTU here.

NUT expresses solidarity with the AFT after events in Charlottesville
International Secretary Christine Blower has written a letter of solidarity to the AFT in relation to their work in the wake of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Read the letter here.

Statement of solidarity on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney has released a statement of solidarity to mark International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. In the letter, the General Secretary notes the importance of uniting for human rights and offers support to any educational colleagues working to secure equal opportunities for their communities. Read the letter here.

Nicaraguan and British teachers discuss techniques and strategies for language teaching
On Sunday, the delegation from the NUT taking part in the teacher exchange with Nicaragua split into groups in order to work with teachers in local schools in Managua, Esteli, Granada, Carazo and Chinandega. Before setting off, the teachers took part in workshops with a group of 60 Nicaraguan teachers of English as a second language in Managua. Julio Cesar Canelo, Director of Secondary and Distance Education, explained that the initiative – supported by the Nicaraguan government via the Ministry of Education and by Nicaraguan teachers' union ANDEN – was the first of its kind and will allow Nicaraguan teachers to learn about strategies and techniques for improving the teaching of English as a second language at all levels. The focus during the workshops was on reading, listening, speaking and grammar, along with the use of technology as an important element of learning. The delegation has received excellent publicity in Nicaragua, including articles on Voz del Sandinismo, El 19 Digital and a TV report on Channel 13, and is proving to be a huge success.

General Secretary calls for end to attacks on schools in Mindanao
The General Secretary has written a letter to President Duterte of the Philippines, expressing deep concerns over the attacks on the Lumad indigenous communities in Mindanao. He has urged the President to end the attacks and respect and protect Lumad community schools. Read the letter here.

Partnership Schools for Liberia: A Critical Review' Report Launched
In 2016, the Liberian Government launched the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) pilot. This saw 94 schools handed over to eight private service providers, covering approximately 27,000 students. A new report from Education International and ActionAid looks at the accountability and transparency, impact on students and teachers, and scalability and sustainability of the pilot. The report presents questions that should be addressed before PSL is scaled up, something the Liberian Government has already committed to doing in 2017. Read the report here.

NUT delegation arrives in Nicaragua for exchange visit
NicaraguaA group of NUT members have arrived in Nicaragua for a three week exchange visit. The visit will focus on discussions and methodology around the teaching of a second language. The NUT members, all of whom are experienced teachers of Spanish as a second language, will take part in workshops and practical sessions with Nicaraguan teachers of English as a second language. They will stay in the homes of members of the Nicaraguan teachers' union ANDEN and therefore also learn something about Nicaraguan culture and their way of life. During the first week of their stay, the group will be in Nicaragua's capital Managua. After that, some of the group will remain in Managua, while others will travel to Esteli, Chinandega, Carazo and Granada to work with teachers in local schools. The programme has been organised by ANDEN and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education MINED..

Call to end Open University's discrimination against Cuban students
Earlier this year, a student applied to study at the Open University, only to be told that this would not be possible because of their Cuban nationality. General Secretary Kevin Courtney has written a letter to Keith Zimmerman of the University urging him to change the institution's policy on Cuba. Read the letter here.

Letter to the Mexican Embassy
The General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, has written to the new Ambassador of the Embassy of Mexico in the UK to welcome him to his new post and to ask for clarification on the situation in México regarding the killing of three trainee teachers and the disappearance of 43 from the rural school in Guerrero. Read the letter here. Read the response from the Embassy of Mexico here.

Urgent action to stop the execution of Saudi Arabian pro-democracy activists
The NUT, along with Education International, UNISON and the University and College Union, are calling for immediate action to protect 14 pro-democracy advocates from execution in Saudi Arabia. The urgency of this action is paramount, as the activists have recently been moved to the capital Riyadh, where executions take place. This suggests action to carry out the death penalty sentences they received in 2016 is imminent.

General Secretary Kevin Courtney has already signed a letter to Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson asking him to contact the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to prevent the execution of these activists. Read the response from Alistair Burt here. Please consider taking action on this important and urgent issue by contacting the Saudi Arabian authorities to demand the release of these advocates. Click here to send a message to the authorities, and for more information visit the Education International website.

Statement on Srebrenica Memorial Day 2017
This year is the 22nd anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, during which thousands of men and boys were systematically murdered, simply because they were Muslim. Remembering Srebrenica’s theme this year is Breaking the Silence: Gender and Genocide. Read the statement here.

Srebrenica Commemoration Activities
In the week commencing 10 July 2017, the NUT and the charity Remembering Srebrenica organised three events to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica.

Photography Exhibition
During the week, a photography exhibition was housed in the headquarters of the National Union of Teachers, Hamilton House. This exhibit, entitled Silenced Voices: Stories from Srebrenica and Sarajevo and curated by Tayyabah Ahmed and Akbar Khan, featured striking images and materials from the aftermath of the genocide. The exhibition was described by one visitor as ‘fantastic…chilling and thought-provoking’.  Read more about the exhibit in the explanatory note, and if you would like to show the exhibition at your school please contact the International team.

Film Screening
On Tuesday, 11 July, Fog of Srebrenica was screened to a room of teachers, colleagues, and NUT friends. In the film, director Samir Mehanovic meets survivors and learns of their experiences before, during and after the genocide. A trailer of the film is available on the Fog of Srebrenica website.

Struggling in the Shadows Conference
On Saturday, 15 July 2017, the NUT and Remembering Srebrenica held a conference entitled Struggling in the Shadows: A Conference to Commemorate and Educate about Genocide. Speakers at the event included Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT; Dr Waqar Azmi, Chairperson of Remembering Srebrenica; and Murica Subasic, President of Mothers of Srebrenica. Dr Azmi excellently captured the spirit of the event as he remarked “We remember, but we also educate.” The conference successfully raised awareness of delegates about the genocide, whilst encouraging action through education to prevent its repetition.

UK teachers meet to prepare for exchange visit to Nicaragua
A group of teachers, all members of the National Union of Teachers, came together at the weekend to prepare for their forthcoming visit to Nicaragua. Nicaraguan Ambassador Guisell Morales attended the meeting and gave a presentation on education policy and the general situation in Nicaragua. Samidah Garg, NUT's International Officer and Louise Richards from NSCAG also attended. The teachers, all of whom have expertise in teaching Spanish as a second language, will be spending three weeks in Nicaragua in August to work with Nicaraguan teachers of English as a second language. The purpose of the visit will be to share knowledge, skills and experience around the methodology of teaching second languages. Accommodation will be provided by host families and the visit will provide all participants with an opportunity to learn more about their respective communities, cultures and society. The programme has been set up by Nicaraguan Teachers’ Union ANDEN and the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education MINED, working in partnership with the NSCAG and the NUT, who have sponsored the initiative.

Letter of solidarity FECODE Columbia
The General Secretary has written a letter of solidarity to the President of Colombian union FECODE. Read the letter here.

Freedom for Iranian teacher union leader Esmail Abdi
General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, has written to the Supreme Leader and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran condemning the six-year jail sentence and the harsh detention conditions imposed on Esmail Abdi, a leader of the Tehran Teacher Trade Association who has been on hunger strike since 30 April. Read the letter here.

Bridge International Academies adds intimidation to its business plans
The General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, has written to DfID, the World Bank and Pearson regarding the NUT’s deep concern that Bridge International Academies has commenced legal proceedings against the Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and its General Secretary, Wilson Sossion, for exposing its business plan which undermines the attainment of inclusive and equitable quality education for all consistent with SDG4.

Joint Union letter to Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank
Bridge International Academies are a high-tech scam. A child needs more than a tablet. Now African governments are closing Bridge schools for their abject failure to meet basic educational standards, and for putting “the life and safety of students in danger.” Yet instead of supporting democracy through free public education, the World Bank and its venture capitalist partners continue to impose this costly for-profit, robot-based education model on school children and families. See letter to Jim Yong Kim.

Investing in the crisis: Private participation in the education of Syrian refugees
Click here to read ‘Investing in the crisis: Private participation in the education of Syrian refugees’, Education International's latest report produced as part of the Global Response to the growing commercialisation and privatisation in and of education.

The journey of Sakine Yıllmaz
Click here to watch a new documentary film about the fate of Sakine Yillmaz, former General Secretary of Egitim Sen, and her life as a refugee in Germany. It sheds light on the oppression and persecution of tens of thousands of teachers in Turkey.

Deportation of Palestinian Solidarity Campaign Chairperson from Israel
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary has made a statement regarding the deportation of Hugh Lanning, Chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, on Sunday night by the Israeli authorities. Click here to read the statement.

The International Development committee inquiry into 'Difd's Work on Education: Leaving no one behind?'
The NUT's submission focuses principally on three issues - funding for global education, low-fee private schools and the teacher gap to meet the global education targets. Read our submission here.

Schooling the Poor Profitably
The education provided by Bridge International Academies (BIA) in Uganda disregards legal and educational standards established by the Government, according to a new study by Education International (EI)

This report on Uganda shows that Bridge International Academies continues to undermine the provision of education as a human right and a public good in the Global South. BIA is supported by UK DfiD and both are complicit in compromising the rights of poor children who cannot afford to go to these so called low cost schools by damaging the provision of state education. The NUT notes that the Government says it's opposed to profitmaking from state schools in the UK and we reiterate our call to DfiD to immediately cease the use of UK taxpayers’ money to promote the privatisation of education in countries such as Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and India.

Read the full report here.

NUT stands in solidarity with Turkey
Christine Blower has written a message of solidarity to our colleagues at Eğitim Sen and expressed concerns regarding the ongoing targeting of education employees in Turkey. Read the letter here.

The NUT stands in solidarity with Mexico
Christine Blower has written to our colleagues at the CNTE in Mexico expressing solidarity with the struggle for democratic and public education in Mexico. Read the letter here.

Silencing and punishment of educators in Turkey
General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, has written to Ambassador Abdurrahman Bilgiç at the Turkish Embassy in London regarding the silencing and punishment of educators in Turkey. Read the letter here.

Commonwealth Teachers’ Group

The Commonwealth is an association of 53 independent states consulting and co-operating in the common interests of their peoples and in the promotion of international understanding.

The NUT is a founding member of the Commonwealth Teachers’ Group which operates under the auspices of Education International.

In this section you will find information about our work in the Commonwealth.