Friday 20 June 2014

Lay tutors essential to challenge austerity myths

#uNDC14 Mandela said that education is the most important weapon that you can use to change the world, Scotland’s Stephen Smellie said, as conference set out a plan to take forward and encourage debate, discussion and education on the causes of austerity and broader political education.

Moving Scotland’s amendment, highlighting the excellent work of lay tutors’ involvement in our education programme in Scotland, Stephen said “Our most valuable resource is ourselves, our activists. We are experienced in representing members, negotiating, organising and fighting injustice daily.

“We therefore have the best raw material available to develop educators and tutors to train up more activists and organisers,” adding that peer educators are the most effective in getting across the message of an alternative to austerity, and are confident in challenging the myths perpetrated by the media and political elite.

In Scotland we have a strong lay tutor training programme and deliver most of our training programme through lay tutors.

“We believe that lay tutors are essential in delivering a programme of activist development and political education that this union needs to address the challenges.”

This was reinforced by Sandra Dee Masson, speaking for the NEC welcoming the Scotland amendment and Scotland’s involvement in piloting and implementing a new union wide approach to lay tutor training.

A lay tutor and branch education co-ordinator herself, Sandra Dee knows how effective the role of lay tutor can be, “to get members talking and confident to talk to others about the nature of the challenges we face - whether that is on a formal course or as part of a branch or workplace meeting.”

The training and development of lay tutors “to initiate discussion and debate on the origins and implications of austerity and the worth of public services, is vital for the future of our union.”

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