CONSAWU recognises education and training as the ultimate propeller of national and human development and believes that basic education is a fundamental human right and an indispensable means for enabling effective participation in the life of the community.

Noting commitments made by the international community for the provision of education throughout the 1990′s, notably:

  • The World Declaration on Education for All (Jomtien 1990)
  • The World Summit for Children (1990)
  • The Conference on Environment and Development (1992)
  • The World Conference on Human Rights (1993)
  • The World Conference on Special Needs Education – Access and Quality (1994)
  • The International Conference on Population and Development (1994)
  • The World Summit for Social Development (1995)
  • The Fourth World Conference on Women (1995)
  • The Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (1997)
  • The International Conference on Child Labour (1997)

Further, noting an assessment by the World Education Forum on the Achievement of Education for All (Dakar 2000) i.e. that by 2000:

  • 113 million children had no access to primary education;
  • 880 million adults were illiterate;
  • gender discrimination continued to permeate education systems;

Core principles


  1. Believes in the integration of education and training within a single system;
  2. Aligns itself with the six Education for All goals which are inter alia:
    1. expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children;
    2. ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly children in difficult circumstances, have access to completely free and compulsory primary education of good quality;
    3. ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes;
    4. achieving a 50% improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women in rural areas, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults;
    5. eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 and achieving gender equity in education by 2015;
    6. improving all aspects of the quality of education by ensuring excellence so that recognised and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills;
  3. Supports the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) strategies for addressing the problems confronting the education sector in Africa which are inter alia:
    1. developing enduring national policies and incentives for private sector participation in the provision and delivery of educational services;
    2. establishing national guidelines for adequate funding and judicious utilisation of resources devoted to public education;
    3. developing medium-and long-term frameworks for specified education and literacy programmes for different categories of citizens;
    4. ensuring a realistic assessment of the potential for and constraints militating against a country’s ability to meet international development and educational goals and targets;
    5. ensuring a framework for prioritising the allocation of educational resources to areas of greatest need, especially in respect of meeting the scientific and technological demands of the 21st century especially the needs of employers and those of graduates of educational institutions;
    6. emphasising functional education that promotes skills development and opportunities for innovative application of knowledge;
    7. identifying the causes of and methods for managing the problem of the brain drain from Africa;
  4. Believes:
    1. in the indivisibility of the six Education-for-All goals (Dakar 2000) and that a strong dialectic relationship exists between them. Actions in one or two of them, which do not acknowledge the link with others, are unlikely to produce sustainable results. It therefore warns international funding agencies against selective target-led approaches as exemplified by the World Bank Fast Track Programme and the Commonwealth Education Fund (CEF) which focus support on only two of the six goals;
    2. in the need for a paradigm shift in the purpose of education from “schooling” to “learning for sustained livelihoods”. The classical notions of schooling should be replaced with learning outcomes that lead to livelihoods in the context of the new global order;
    3. that effectiveness of Early Childhood Development lies in comprehensive and integrated approaches across sectors to ensure the survival, development, growth and learning ability of all children. Determinants range from nutrition, health, sanitation, hygiene, environment, parental and early caregiver love to attention and adequate stimulation to enable cognitive, intellectual and psychological development;
    4. that the quality of education is dependent on the quality of the teachers and, therefore, the conditions under which teachers work and incentives given to them must reflect the importance of their function;
    5. that Adult Basic Education has received little attention over the years, yet it is the key to addressing issues of quality education, poverty, HIV/AIDS, governance and democracy, accountability, gender equity and other crosscutting issues.


CONSAWU shall:

  1. Encourage its affiliates to participate in global campaigns for the achievement of Education for All through appropriate structures to ensure that the national plan for EFA is ready by the target date;
  2. Align itself with all programmes aimed at achieving literacy for all within the framework of Dakar 2000;
  3. Lobby government for more funding for education and training to elevate the quality of education and standard of living for all South Africans;
  4. Support the Outcomes-Based Curriculum and call upon government to provide adequate resources and training to ensure its successful implementation at all levels;
  5. Involve itself in capacity-building programmes within CONSAWU in order to improve the education and training of its members;
  6. Put pressure on the government to implement the conventions on the status of the teaching profession across all bands.

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