The IEU was one of a number of unions that played host to visiting Filipino union leader Francisca Castro recently.
Castro is Secretary General of the Concerned Teachers Alliance. As a board member of Education International representing the Asia Pacific region, she was invited to speak at the National Tertiary Education Union annual council.
She also dropped into the IEU to talk about the issues facing teachers and their unions in her country. While she is head of a 100,000 member strong union, Castro said the decision to give up her job as a maths teacher to become a union leader was a difficult one due to the lack of resources. She has two sons and the union is only able to give her minimum support.
Only recently the Alliance has begun to collect membership dues from its members. The Alliance represents teachers from early childhood through to secondary education, in all sectors, and also represents support staff. There are about 600,000 public school teachers in the Philippines and 100,000 private school teachers.
Classroom conditions differ greatly from Australia. There could be as many as 100 students in a class. About 30% of children are not at school, often because they are working.