The Commonwealth is an organization of over 50 countries that are expected to observe key common principles and values. Over the years at Commonwealth Education Ministers’ meetings, some EI affiliated teacher organizations have co-operated on a number of activities to promote education and human rights and to take forward some key EI policies. A small group of organizations meeting informally at the EI World Congress in Jomtien 2001 agreed that a paper be drafted which sought to address the issue of establishing a Commonwealth teachers’ grouping for unions affiliated to Education International. These organizations were the Australian Education Union (AEU), the All India Federation of Teachers’ Organizations (AIFTO), the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT), the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU).  In 2005, the EI Executive Board formally agreed the establishment of the Commonwealth Teachers’ Group, which [was] formally launched at The Teachers’ Forum at 16th CCEM, where its constitution was adopted.

The CTG, operating under the auspices of EI, has a number of important functions. Perhaps the most significant achievement to date for the CTG has been the establishment of the Commonwealth Protocol on Teacher Recruitment. 

The protocol is having a real impact in the Commonwealth and beyond. The National Union of Teachers reports fewer migrants experiencing difficulties and it is likely that provisions in the Protocol dealing with the targeting of vulnerable education systems seems to be having an effect. Kenya and Rwanda both used the protocol to manage the recruitment of English teachers by Rwanda. UNESCO and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are supportive of the protocol.


Sinnott, Steve. “The Commonwealth Teachers’ Group – Vision and Mission.” Commonwealth Education Partnerships (2007): 206-208.