Education International believes that quality teaching is essential for quality learning. Given the global challenges that the teaching profession is facing, such as using standardized testing to gauge teaching standards, EI considers professionals and their organisations should lead the debate about what quality and excellence are in teaching.
In EIs Global Policy on education, it is clearly stated that teachers at all levels of education must be appropriately trained and qualified to achieve quality teaching and learning. The teaching and learning environment should be designed in a way that supports teachers and other education employees in their missions.
Teachers should maintain high professional standards and should be accountable to society. To this end, professional standards should be established with the full involvement of the teaching profession in each country.
EI has been active since its creation on issues of quality teaching. It has, in particular, focused on a wide range of professional issues related, for example, to initial teacher training, in-service training and continuous professional development while, maintaining high standards and ensuring that the status of teachers is protected and ensured.
The major issues of quality education, which centre around the role of the teaching profession, came together in the Unite for Quality Education campaign launched in 2014. The three pillars of that campaign are quality teaching, quality tools for teaching and learning, and quality environments for teaching and learning.
The campaign mobilised teachers on all continents and helped convince governments to create a stand-alone education goal as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (goal 4) that succeeded the MDGs. The SDGs are to be met by 2030. EI’s focus has shifted to putting pressure on governments and intergovernmental organisations to ensure full implementation of the SDGs.
In addition, EI has decided to augment its activities to promote the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966) and the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel. Although the recommendation is not recent, its major principles remain at least as valid and fundamental as they were when it was adopted.
EI is developing a global consultation process with the purpose of collecting members’ views on issues such as recruitment, career development, workload, class size, education and training, social security , salary policies and the increased use of precarious and fixed-term contracts. These views will be encapsulated in a policy brief on quality terms of employment in the education sector, to be submitted to the 8th EI World Congress in 2019.
Global Network for Quality Teaching and Effectiveness
The process of identifying, developing, recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers to support student learning, especially the learning needs of the most disadvantaged children, is a global challenge.
In parts of North America and Europe, the status of the teaching profession is threatened. One sign of that decline is that only a small number of high-performing college students are attracted into the teaching profession due to other career options that have more attractive pay and working conditions.
Sub-Saharan Africa experiences acute teacher shortages due to a number of factors, including the ongoing impact of HIV &AIDS and restrictive budgetary conditions, often imposed by foreign development agencies. This affects compensation and, sometimes problems of payment of that compensation as well as inadequate training and bad environments for teaching and learning. These includes deteriorating infrastructure, large class sizes and poor or limited availability of tools and study materials.
With the expansion of free public education in Latin America and the Caribbean, school enrolments have skyrocketed, creating overcrowded classrooms with abysmal learning and teaching environments.
In parts of the Asia-Pacific region, there are urgent calls to reform teacher education and preparation programs as nations strive to position themselves to compete in the global economy.
A Response to the Need
Education International is in the processes of developing and piloting a professional network of teachers and educators, known as TEN Global (Teacher and Educator Network Global). Working with unions, existing teacher networks and organisations, TEN Global will identify and connect like-minded teachers, educators and teacher organisations in a ‘network of networks’ designed to empower teachers to collaborate, learn, develop and inspire themselves and their colleagues and the students they teach.
TEN Global will provide a virtual, multilingual platform to enable individual teachers to connect internationally on aspects of teachers’ professionalization, including professional development, innovative pedagogies, and advocacy on national and global education policy and local community issues. Importantly,
TEN Global will connect teachers and their classrooms to global frameworks like the Sustainable Development Goals.
TEN Global will also create a Global Teacher Passport that allows individual teachers to “travel” professionally and receive stamps/badges for virtual and physical activities to document their learning and doing. The Passport will emphasise the value of the teacher as the foremost expert and leader in developing and informing student and teacher learning.
Quality Educators for All Project: A Joint Initiative by EI and Oxfam Novib
Every child, in whatever education setting, has the right to be educated by a qualified teacher. Investment in quality educators has a very high multiplier effect: every good teacher benefits an entire class, and when those better-educated students become parents they will demand a good education for their children, thereby strengthening the education system in general.
Objectives: Quality, Training, and Sustainability
The overall objective of the Quality Educators for All Project (Quality-Ed) is to assist public authorities in meeting their responsibility to provide quality public education by improving the quality of the teaching force. Specifically, the project aims for teacher quality based on a consensus based competence profile, training by expanding the provision of high-quality, in-service, professional development and initial education for underqualified teachers and sustainability via advocacy campaigns to incorporate the successful approach of the project in the countries’ education sector policies, plans and programs.
The Partnership: Reaching Both Formal and Non-Formal Educators
Quality-Ed is a partnership between Education International (EI) and Oxfam Novib (ON). The project has the potential to achieve systemic quality improvements in public services without leaving behind the hard-to-reach populations that NGO’s generally serve. This partnership, with the participation of public authorities at national and local levels, ensures that the project is well aligned with government policies and priorities in the education sector. The project’s participative approach, involving ministries of education, local authorities, teacher unions, teacher education institutions, NGOs, parents, and other key education stakeholders ensures ownership and high levels of success.
Strategies: A Synergistic Three-Stage Process
The Quality-Ed project has three distinct stages, designed to follow a logical order and to build on each other in a synergistic way.
STAGE ONE: laying the conceptual groundwork by developing a competence profile and introducing contemporary skills, attitudes, and knowledge into teacher training curricula.
STAGE TWO: proving support to local institutions for the education of teachers and teacher educators that is aligned with the competence profiles and curricula.
STAGE THREE: advocacy to mainstream project outputs in public services and institutions, including support for civic demands for quality education.
Progress to Date
Since its inception in 2007, Quality-Ed conducted feasibility studies in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Peru, and Uganda, leading to the setting up of two pilots in Uganda and Mali. In 2010, project partners in Uganda and Mali developed a national teacher competence profile. National consensus-building around a competence profile is the foundation of subsequent activities, alongside data collection and practical guidance for teachers on life skills.
The project is now in the second and third phases in which teachers are being trained according to a competence framework, following on from communication and advocacy activities in 2011 and the subsequent alignment of training systems with the profile. In April 2012, the Ministry of Education and Sports in Uganda launched the dissemination of materials produced under the project, in partnership with the Quality-Ed team in the country. In 2011, ON and EI also commissioned an international comparative study of teacher competence profiles, highlighting the need for defining ‘quality educators’ through a democratic and participatory process among all those with an interest in the quality of education. Following that study, in 2012, ON and EI developed Guidelines Towards A National Competence Profile for Primary Teachers. More than 10 000 teachers have been trained since the project’s inception. In Mali, nearly a thousand community teachers who benefitted from the programme have now been integrated into the public service. In 2014, the project won the UNESCO – Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers. `