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Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 53 Number 5, February 11, 2023 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

The Teachers' Actions and the Future of Education


Photo: SchoolsWeek

The actions taken by working people continued in the past week in defence of their rights and interests. Some actions have been suspended after employers agreed to make new offers, though it remains to be seen whether these offers are acceptable to the sections of working people involved. It appears that this will also be the case with the teachers' struggle.

In beginning their largest wave of strike action in thirty years, teachers in their hundreds of thousands across England and Wales have exposed for all to see that the very future of education is at stake.

As Workers' Weekly recently reported [1], teachers are demanding a fully-funded pay increase to counter the combined effect of recent rising inflation on top of ten years' worth of real-term pay cuts. According to the National Education Union (NEU), "pay cuts and high workload are hitting teacher recruitment and retention hard, causing real damage to education".

The struggle for a properly funded and modern education system has been going on for many years [2]. Teachers are questioning the very future of education that is being unsustainably underfunded and undermined. The conditions are pointing in the direction of the need to ask what kind of education system is required, and that it is with teachers themselves that the solution to the crisis lies. Forms can and must be found to empower them to discuss and provide the solutions themselves.


Photo: SchoolsWeek

In modern society, education needs to help nurture the modern human being, so that people are full participants in society. The kind of education that is required by the times is one that prepares people to speak in their own name and to discuss and reach unity with each other, rather than divide into warring factions. A crucial role for education is to educate people with this aim, and to nurture the human-centred outlook that is needed.

Out of their direct experience of fighting the introduction of and successive huge rises in university fees, school and university staff are acutely conscious that education is a right. Everyone has the right to the highest standard of education that a modern society can provide, and the issue is how society should be organised to fulfil that right. Education itself plays a role in forming the conception in individuals that people have rights by virtue of being human.

The crisis has developed to a point where the block to discussing the future of education must be overcome, with teachers themselves at the forefront of this discussion.

Notes

[1] "Mass Rallies Held as Teachers Begin Strike Action along with Other Sections of Working People", Workers' Weekly, February 4, 2023
http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wwie-23/ww23-04/ww23-04-01.htm

[2] For example:

"Teachers' and Educators' Struggles", Workers' Weekly, May 12, 2018
http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wwie-18/ww18-14/ww18-14-04.htm
"Taking the Capital-Centred School System to a New Level", Workers' Weekly, October 15, 2016
http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wwie-16/ww16-23/ww16-23-03.htm
"Academies: The Creation of a Capital-Centred School System", Workers' Weekly, June 28, 2016
http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wwie-16/ww16-15/ww16-15-04.htm
"Oppose Gove's Programme to Dismantle the Education System", Workers' Weekly, March 9, 2013
http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wwie-13/ww13-08.htm#lead
"For an Education System that Serves the Progress of Society", Workers' Weekly, July 28, 2009
http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wdie-09/d09-053.htm#lead
"Raising the Question of Education", Workers' Weekly, March 4, 2008
http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wdie-08/d08-031.htm


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