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The Teachers’ Union of North and East Syria
The Teachers’ Union of North and East Syria was established in 2013. It has around 40,000 members, including male and female teachers. The union is headquartered in the city of Hasakah. The idea to create the union emerged with the onset of the revolution in Rojava, initiated by a small group of patriotic teachers and supporters of their mother language. This group began organizing themselves and teaching the native language in schools across cities, towns, and villages. The number of teachers increased, especially after the Syrian government withdrew from the region.
The first founding conference of the Teachers’ Union was held in 2013, during which the co-chairing was elected, and the internal regulations for the union’s operation were established. Several teachers dedicated themselves to managing the Teachers’ Union. Annual conferences continued to be held, even in liberated cities from ISIS. The first founding conference at the level of North and East Syria took place in 2021, where the internal regulations were adopted, emphasizing the advancement of education, the educational mission, and the defense of the individual and collective rights of the members .
The Teachers’ Union in North and East Syria opposes the educational policies implemented by the Syrian regime, which promotes the Arabization of other ethnicities in Syria and enforces a single-language, single-culture education system. Under the regime, civil institutions and professional associations became centers for implementing racial policies.
Following the structural changes in the education system under the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, which adopted three official languages (Kurdish, Arabic, and Syriac) and allowed all communities to educate in their native languages within a diverse and inclusive educational system, the union succeeded in attracting teachers from various backgrounds and organized itself in provinces.
Definition of the Union
The Teachers’ Union is a civil, cultural, social, and service-oriented institution that operates based on the philosophy of democratic nation. It adheres to the principles of democratic and ecological society, women’s freedom, and the construction of a moral political community.
The union works towards the development and protection of the cultures and languages of all components of the region, representing a fundamental principle of the education system in the democratic nation. It fosters unity, equality, and communal life among teachers and society. To achieve these goals, it strives with all its efforts and sees it as a path to reach a free and communal democratic life.
The Teachers’ Union in North and East Syria works to protect, develop, and improve the material and moral lives of teachers and education professionals within the Autonomous Administration. It aims to safeguard their rights and organizes various aspects of social life through dialogue and discussion.
Structure of the Teachers’ Union
1. Co-chairing system
2. Archive Committee
3. Financial Committee
4. Health and Services Committee
5. Activities, Culture, and Media Committee
6. Rights Committee
7. Women’s Committee
8. Organizational Committee
9. Projects and Associations Committee
The union organizes itself through elections, where representatives of the union are elected by teachers in schools, aligning with the administrative and local divisions within the Autonomous Administration. This forms the General Council of the union, and from there, the Executive Office and co-chairing are elected for each branch of the union in the provinces and cities. The Co-chairing of the General Union is also elected through direct, secret, and democratic elections in the general conference held every two years.
Objectives of the Union
1. Organizing and unifying the struggle of teachers to achieve social justice, equality, and the principle of equal opportunities, connecting the teachers’ struggle and aspirations with those of the people.
2. Providing suggestions for the development of educational work and the educational field as a productive endeavor. Participating in enhancing the efficiency and performance of those working in the fields of education and university education.
3. Participating in raising the professional level of teachers, deepening their awareness, and providing ongoing education to enable them to fulfill their responsibilities effectively.
4. Caring for the material, moral, health, social, and cultural interests of teachers, protecting and defending their rights, and ensuring they fulfill their duties.
5. Enhancing the role of teachers in promoting environmental awareness and directing education to meet the development needs necessary for building the community’s technological and industrial base while emphasizing all aspects of knowledge.
6. Contributing to public oversight of the educational process to ensure its proper performance of duties.
7. Encouraging creative initiatives, intellectual talents, and competencies among teachers, promoting higher education and scientific research, and protecting the rights of authors and inventors in the field of education.
8. Developing external relations and cooperation with teachers’ unions worldwide based on common interests, respect, and mutual cooperation among peoples, connecting the struggle of teachers with the struggle of the people.
9. Collaborating with popular organizations and professional associations to promote national interests.
10. Instilling national values in the hearts of teachers and emphasizing the value of education and honoring martyrs.
11. Preserving the mother tongue and its rules, ensuring its teaching, and safeguarding its integrity within the community.
Services and Projects
– Organizing various academies and educational courses for teachers to promote education during service.
– Publishing cultural, guidance, and professional newsletters and magazines.
– Managing movable and immovable assets, utilizing them, conducting negotiations, and entering into contracts.
– Establishing savings funds, cooperative associations, sports and cultural clubs, and housing funds.
– Sending union delegations and receiving friendly delegations.
– Encouraging talents, competencies, and scientific research through rewards, book publication, or facilitating their dissemination, among other methods.
– Strengthening social bonds among members through organizing trips, camps, exchange visits, lectures, seminars, festivals, and more.
Relations with Regional and International Organizations
The Teachers’ Union in North and East Syria seeks to strengthen its federation work and enhance its collective struggle alongside civil society organizations in north and east Syria. It also puts effort into strengthening relationships with international and regional union organizations. This is achieved through mutual visits, attending conferences, holding joint meetings, and participating in activities of mutual support.
The union is affiliated with regional and international teachers’ organizations, using these affiliations to unify the global struggle of teachers and connect their fight to the struggles of the masses. This serves the purpose of supporting national liberation movements and combating all forms of oppression and genocide against peoples while promoting democratic education and fostering love among peoples.
Decisions regarding affiliation with or withdrawal from regional and international organizations are made by the General Council.
The union’s general body exchanges delegations, publications, and experiences with regional and international teachers’ organizations.
It’s worth noting that the Teachers’ Union in North and East Syria is a member of the international education organization EI (Education International), which focuses on connecting union organizations worldwide.
Additionally, the union maintains a good and ongoing friendship with the German Teachers’ Union (https://www.gew.de/) and has relations with the Teachers’ Union in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (https://www.mamostayan.com/). The union continues to work towards building friendships and signing agreements with teachers’ unions abroad.