The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a member-driven Movement, uniquely comprised of national civil society coalitions and regional and international networks and organisations committed to realising the right to education. With members in more than 90 countries, the network brings together grassroots organisations, teachers’ unions, children’s and youth rights organisations, NGOs, parents’ associations and community groups. GCE’s collective work as a network encompasses collaboration at global level to influence international frameworks and policy debates.
GCE relies on the participation of its members to drive its work and achieve its goals, and the World Assembly is the movement governing body. All members of GCE meet every 4 years to vote and decide the future of the movement. The 7th World Assembly, which takes place from 22nd to 24th November in Johannesburg, South Africa plays a major part in ensuring that members truly own and lead the movement. The Assembly offers our education civil society organisations around the world an opportunity to come together as a global movement to debate emerging issues, to agree and clarify collective positions, to learn from and exchange with each other, and to set priorities and direction for the coming period.
The World Assembly will have three main programmatic components:
The theme for the 7th World Assembly is “The Future of Education Re-Imagined”. The theme derives from the notion that the current education system is clearly not educating learners of the climate and ecological emergency, for a world that is more socially just, equitable and embracing of diversity in all its forms. Over the past few years the agenda of education reform including financing has gone on for so long that nothing is actually being reformed. The current pandemic has exacerbated a lot of social inequalities in society and within schooling – that reform isn’t needed any more. What is needed is a complete and radical transformation of the schooling and the wider education system so education can be transformative once again
The opening session of the forum and the World Assembly in the morning aims to welcome high level speakers to share their strategic insight on the status of education worldwide, the challenges and
opportunities for the sector, reflecting on the proposed theme and the concept of “The future of education re-imagined”.
The policy forum high level debates in the afternoon will explore further around the World Assembly theme, shaping the frame of the conversation for the following days. The parallel panel discussions will focus on how to achieve systemic change in the four areas mentioned above:
The closing session will bring a synthesis on the issues discussed and a common vision for the movement to further reflect on.
The World Assembly is a moment of deep policy discussion and exchange, it is also a unique opportunity and moment for the GCE members to strengthen their relationships with each other from a networking perspective, and for the movement to reinforce its own governance structure. One such key governing moment for the movement will be organized during the 2022 World Assembly: the election of the Board and the GCE President.
The World Assembly presents to the GCE members an opportunity to exchange, meet their counterparts from other regions, build new relationships and to deepen existing ones. To further the dialogue, the World Assembly will give to members the opportunity to showcase their organisation’s work and achievements in pursuit of GCE’s vision and mission. GCE members will be requested to bring materials for exhibition during the event. Specific sessions around improving member collaboration will be included in the agenda.
The GCE constitution and by-laws are the back-bone of the movement, clarifying roles and responsibilities of the different bodies within the movement. Since the major changes adopted in 2011, 2015, 2018 and 2021 by introducing 2 seats on the Board for international youth and students’-led organisations, GCE members in the upcoming World Assembly will have the opportunity to review the current constitution and to propose amendments to ensure the movement’s structure is continuously adapted to its needs. During the 2022 World Assembly, GCE members will have the opportunity to propose amendments prior to the World Assembly, and the proposed amendments will be circulated to the whole membership. They will be discussed and adopted during the event.
The third component of the World Assembly will be fundamental for the movement to determine its collective strategic focus. The GCE strategic plan and policy motions adopted at the World Assembly will define how the movement plans to achieve impact in the upcoming years.
The GCE Board is elected by the membership to oversee the work of the Secretariat and provide strategic direction in between World Assemblies. The GCE Board is accountable to the membership for the delivery of agreed plans and pursuit of agreed priorities. Each constituency will be responsible for choosing their own representatives to the GCE Board
The Board guarantees the democratic nature of GCE, and Board members have a duty to both represent and report back to their constituency. Any member may nominate their own organization, or another organisation in their constituency, for election to the Board. During the Tanzania Board meeting, the Board agreed that the election of GCE Board representatives will happen at the constituency level prior to the World Assembly. The Secretariat will support constituencies to undertake this process. The support will include providing interpretation where needed, translation of election documents and supporting the election process if need be. The new Board will meet to elect its Chairperson at the World Assembly.
The President of the movement is the political leader and the lead spokesperson for the GCE. He/she is elected by the World Assembly from the Board membership. Each member of the newly elected Board member can present his/her candidature for the President position being seconded by two organizations each from another constituency.
GCE’s next strategic plan will set out the movement’s core aims, priorities and objectives for the four-year period from 2023 to 2027. The GCE Secretariat, with direction from the GCE Board, has kick-started the final leg of the strategic plan development process. This process also includes a survey that is open to the full membership. This follows the completed two consultative processes namely, midterm strategic plan review and the strategic dialogues. As the movement governing body, one key objective of the World Assembly is to debate and adopt the proposed draft strategic plan, which will be submitted for comments before the World Assembly events in South Africa. The World Assembly debates and work sessions, including the policy forum, will give members the opportunity to discuss and influence the content of the draft strategic plan, thus defining what the movement will focus on in the coming years.
GCE has existed for over 23 years now and is going into its 7th World Assembly as a relatively mature movement. GCE has a body of agreed policies, in the form of both resolutions approved by the membership at previous World Assemblies, and detailed policy demands – arising from these motions – that have been informed by member consultation and signed off by the Board as part of major policy reports.
The movement is evolving in a changing context, and there are some policy issues which have either emerged as more prominent in recent years, or which may not have been fully covered by existing policy resolutions. For this reason, GCE members will be invited to submit additional motions, which will be discussed and adopted during the World Assembly.
The debate and adoption of new proposed policy motions is, along with the conversation around the strategic plan, will be one of the keys defining moment for the World Assembly shaping the movements’ future.