Australian researcher Tom Alegounarias presented his work on the development of global professional teaching standards to Education International’s Executive Board, part of an effort to provide teachers the power to define their own profession.
Beginning with the Unite for Quality Education and Leadership Conference in Rotterdam in 2017, Education International (EI) made it clear that it was time that the teaching profession developed its own standards, rather than leave it to ministries to dictate them to teachers.
In Brussels at the 50th EI Executive Board Meeting affiliate leaders had the first opportunity to hear from researcher Tom Alegounarias of New Shouth Wales Australia who is leading the development of a global set of standards aimed at providing teachers and their organisations at the national and local levels the freedom to adapt them to their needs.
Teachers create these standards
The standards, Alegounarias said, go far beyond defining the nuts and bolts of being a teacher.
“It’s the responsibility of the profession to protect truth and democracy,” he said, adding that having universal standards allows the profession to become stronger actors in communities.
The principle aim of the standards is to reach an increased understanding and cohesiveness around the teaching profession internationally. The Framework arose out of a survey conducted among EI affiliates, which analysed unions’ and/or professional organisations’ perspectives on the continuous development and implementation of teachers’ professional standards within their respective countries.
Alegounarias made one thing very clear, that the standards would "not be open to valid assessment or measurement," because they are created and maintained by those who work in the classroom. Any elaborations made to the standards will have to be done by teachers themselves.
The Executive Board agreed to provide further feedback in order to continue the development of a framework of professional teaching standards to be adopted at the next meeting of the Board.
Better understanding the GEM Report
The EI Board also had the opportunity to hear from Manos Antoninis, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report 2017/18. With a focus on "Accountability in education," Antoninis fielded questions from EI leaders. He made it clear that individual teachers should not bear the brunt of accountability when the system itself should be scrutinised. Instead, he insisted that governments should seek the advice and expertise of teachers and all education actors. He also called on governments to produce annual education reports, something only done by one in every six countries. He also said that there are challenges in addressing countries that have no system of accountability and those that go too far.
"We should design accountability systems with humility," he said.
Antoninis was also critical of how wealthy countries distribute aid.
"The way aid is delivered abroad is completely divorced from policy at home," he said, suggesting that governments make room for democratic voice and protect media freedom.
In addition to the organisation’s business at hand, the Executive Board will welcome Manos Antoninis, Director of the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, to discuss this year’s report and address its main concerns. His presentation, which focuses on “Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments,” will be streamed live as a webinar organised by Education International (EI) on 24 January, 14:00 CET.
As well as receiving updates from EI affiliates and regions, the Board will discuss professional teaching standards. Researcher Tom Alegounarias of Australia will kick start an exchange on a Framework of Professional Teaching Standards that is intended to support broad community expectations with a focus on the needs of students.