Presentation from General Secretary Abdulhafeez Tayel

The board of representatives very much enjoyed the interesting speech about teaching and the circumstances for teachers in Egypt by General Secretary of I.S.T.T. - the independent union of teachers in Egypt.

Speech by Abdulhafeez Tayel

I.S.T.T.'s general secretary

Dear colleagues

  ISTT was registered legally in the year 2010 after a long and complicated struggle and tricks against the regime. In 2011 ISTT finalized the registration process and became a member in EI.  ISTT is the only Egyptian member in EI. EI plays a role in supporting us and giving us a protective umbrella in the complicated circumstances our country faces. The union that started with almost 500 members has now about sixteen thousands of teachers and education workers as members. We are growing fast, but we are still a very small union. Our members are still obliged to pay dues to the governmental so called union.

Abdulhafeez Tayel giving a speech to the board of representatives of GL.

In April 2011 ISTT hosted an international meeting supported by E.I. and then In the Cape Town conference by the end of 2011, Mr. Hans Laugesen from GL, met the General secretary of ISTT and the cooperation process started.

The first phase of the school dialogue project has ended with the end of 2013 and thanks to Action Aid Denmark and to the efforts of the project coordinator in each union we could have a new phase for another 2 years.

Getting a group of 15 Egyptian teachers to visit Denmark at the start of the first phase was so inspiring to the members of ISTT and to other teachers. In many schools, the name of the newly born union was repeated, and new members joined the union. The reports made by the teachers who visited Denmark made it more and more inspiring. The Danish education system wasn't known to most of Egyptian educators or educationalists.

The seminars were of great use to both sides, as for ISTT.  The number of   70 teachers attending each four rounds were just like spokesmen of the union and the project. That helped the union to get more and more new members.

The founders of ISTT were focusing all the time on the struggle for better work conditions and for the welfare of the teachers. They used to speak very generally about education policy and philosophy. The four rounds of seminars helped us to have the missing eye and also helped us to have some kind of mature relation with the ministry of education.

The members of ISTT knew each others as strugglers and chanting leaders but the project give us a chance to discover and develop our capacities concerning organized scheduled work.

We discovered and developed our teamwork spirit and could overcome the many hardships we had to have a successful cooperation.

Now we are in the second phase of the project. Nine colleagues from Denmark paid a visit to 4 cities in Egypt meeting students, teachers, university professors and the ministry of education. In the meetings with the students, teachers and educationalists, our Danish colleagues got to know the main problems our education system faces and also met hopes that things should be better. When they met our ministry of education they knew some of the reasons behind the system failure and the wishes and good intuition the minster has.

   We think the second phase will be even more successful as of course we now have at least 3 organizing teams in three governorate, also we are more experienced and we hope this will give us a chance to have better relations, and to recruit new membership from private schools. Meanwhile, we know that we will face some problematic issues, though the minister of education now seems to be happy with the project. Among those problems is the red tape problems, the efforts made by the ministry to form a dominant hand on the Egyptian teachers, or at least to be shown as good as it gets. However, ISTT organizers are now capable of dealing with these software problems.

The second step also included a very successful visit to Denmark in August 2014 paid by 8 Egyptian teachers, including two teachers representing private schools.

When choosing the teachers to the delegation to Denmark we choose teachers who are interested in improving the education system, and who are motivated to be activists and who will disseminate their impressions.

The seminar about the school as a democratic organization has many found was the most important. The dropping out seminar was a surprise for Egyptian teachers and they got to know that keeping students at school is a process in which they have a role to play.  The gender seminar which enhanced our female teachers to cooperate and try to find a way to represented highly in the leadership of the union) - and my colleagues in Egypt are very hopefully and seriously eager to start the seminars of the 2nd phase.

Finally, I can tell that our cooperation with our colleagues in Denmark can give a proof that challenges coming out of cultural, lingual and other related issues can be overcome easily and that we, the teachers, are required to play the most important part in that aspect. We are also required to give example to every other sector in our societies that our solidarity and cooperation are forming  our strength to struggle for free quality education for each child on earth, for education as a global issue and for the welfare of teachers around the world and that our independent democratic unions are our loud voices against violence, extremism, hatred and privatizing education.

Emner: Internationalt; Solidaritetsarbejde; Arkiveret international nyhed