Mandy Manning, an English and math teacher and a member of the NEA, serving on the executive committee of the Spokane Education Association, was named the 2018 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief School State Officers (CCSSO) in the USA.

She has been teaching at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School for seven years where students come from a variety of regions and countries: Syria, Chuuk, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Myanmar, Sudan, Mexico, and Tanzania. Her approach to teaching newcomers goes far beyond students’ academic success. Considering the hostile political climate and the fear and anxiety that newly arrived students may experience as a result, she stresses the importance of “helping them understand current events, know their rights, and providing a safe and welcoming environment”. According to the executive director of CCSSO, Mandy Manning embodies the “dedication and spirit (…) that every student in this country deserves”.

Building upon teaching experiences in different countries around the world, Mandy Manning privileges a global perspective in her teaching and a student-centered approach. During this year, she wants to “engage the nation in a conversation about how we can encourage students to experience things outside of their understanding” and “inspire educators and students to see potential in every voice and opportunity in every classroom.”

Mandy Manning is also deeply involved in her local and state union. National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García called her “a shining example of how teachers transform the lives of their students every day, engaging them and creating enthusiasm for learning…. Mandy sees no barriers—only bridges.”



Liberia’s request for Nigerian teachers under the Technical Assistance Corps agreement has been met with condemnation of the Nigerian authorities by education unions, arguing that Nigeria itself is struggling to deliver quality education.

Nigerian education unions have highlighted their country’s shortage of teachers and struggle to ensure quality education. The reaction was prompted by a request for over 6,000 teachers from the newly inaugurated President of Liberia, George Weah, during a courtesy visit to Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari. Weah said the issues inherited by his government could only be tackled with assistance from countries like Nigeria.

The Liberian president identified youth unemployment and the need to revive the education, agriculture, mining and health sectors as some of the urgent problems facing his country. He told his Nigerian counterpart that “your sustained technical assistance for capacity building in these sectors is most welcome.

More specifically, under the Bilateral Teacher Exchange programme, we are seeking 6,000 more teachers to make up for the shortage of good teachers in our educational system.”

NUT: Address issues at home 

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) insisted that “the country does not have enough teachers to go around and the union has still not come to an agreement with the government over the issue of salaries”.

In fact, Nigeria still needs to find a solution concerning 25,000 teachers in Kaduna, in North-West Nigeria, who were fired because they could not pass tests the government forced them to take, said Kalaama Toinpre, Chairman of the Bayelsa State NUT branch. 

The Nigerian government should employ quality teachers in schools without such teachers, take adequate care of its teachers, and tackle the myriad of problems undermining the education sector, instead of sending Nigerian teachers work abroad, he added.

“Our schools are suffering; even some subjects do not have teachers. The country cannot take adequate care of its teachers and they are talking about sending them abroad to teach,” he said.

As of today and until 11 May 2018, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on racism Tendayi Achiume is conducting an official visit to the UK. The UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner had previously announced that her mission would pay particular attention to the impact of Brexit on racial equality in the country.  

The expert’s mission will include stops in London and Belfast and she anticipated that she will pay special attention to structural forms of discrimination and exclusion that may have been exacerbated by Brexit, with a specific focus on “xenophobic discrimination and intolerance aimed at refugees, migrants and even British racial, religious and ethnic minorities”. To that end, she will review obstacles that these groups may face in terms of fulfilling their economic, social and political rights.

A news conference will be held at the end of her visit, on 11 May 2018, to share her preliminary assessment of the situation in the UK. A full report of the visit will be submitted to the June 2019 session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Member organisations of Education International in the UK have been particularly active to counter racism in schools and promote the rights of migrants and refugees, in particular their right to quality public education. You can find more information about activities and resources developed by education unions in the UK in the “refugees’ education toolkit” section.

The school system in Bremen envisages that the majority of the refugee youths who are older than 16 years and come to Bremen, will be schooled at vocational colleges. There, they have two years to get a BBR (einfache Berufsbildungsreife, Basic Vocational Qualification), or an EBBR (Erweiterte Berufsbildungsreife, Advanced Vocational Qualification). During this period of time, the students face the challenge of not only attaining language proficiency level B1, but also of pursuing more specialist education.

The union GEW claims that enrolment in and completion of vocational education has to be handled flexibly, especially for refugee young people. "It is utopian to think that the majority of young people who have just arrived in Germany will, within two years, acquire the advanced vocational training qualification and German language skills at B1 level," said GEW spokesperson Ina von Boetticher.

Despite their initial motivation, refugee adolescents have two years to catch up on nine years of previous schooling, in often very heterogeneous classes. Few students manage to reach the required level of language proficiency (B1) within two years. For this reason, in many vocational schools, informal arrangements are set up and the young people have the opportunity to repeat the last school year. The union considers that offering children a third year is only a first step in terms of extra support required to accompany these students with specific educational needs.

"Integration needs enough time and resources. The Education Department must act in a timely manner to relieve the teachers in the schools and offer young people a school and career prospects. Enabling a third school year for the adolescents is just a start here, "said GEW spokesperson Ina von Boetticher.

Take a look at the May Day joint GEW-Bremen Refugee Council press release (in English).

You can read more about the GEW’s position on refugee education in the following press release (in German).

The National Education Union (NEU) has released a series of resources to support schools welcoming refugee children. 

A series of inspiring short film clips in which refugee children and young people talk about their experiences of coming to a school in the UK has been made available on NEU’s website, together with Staff training notes for use with the clips.

Each video clip focuses on a different aspect of newly arrived students’ integration in school and are classified in three categories: 

  • being included: “Stand by their side”; “Everyone says "Salaam" even the teachers”; “Let your feelings out”;
  • entering the UK Education system: “A trusted pupil showed me around”; “Everything is possible”;
  • being a refugee pupil: “I really like learning”; “Just stay strong”.

The training notes are meant to give education staff the opportunity to think about existing good practice in their school/setting/ college and to consider collectively ways in which their school/setting/college can effectively welcome refugee children and young people. A refugee quiz was also created as a warm up activity of these training sessions.

The NEU “Welcoming Refugee Children to Your School” guide also provides information about ways in which schools can create a refugee-friendly environment, make an accessible curriculum and think about some principles of effective practice.

For the first time this year for the special 20th anniversary edition, the union has partnered with the Refugee Week and all these resources were presented on the occasion of the Refugee Week Conference that was held last month.