UNESCO, in close collaboration with the International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), and the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 (TTF), organized a regional workshop in Dakar, Senegal to strengthen capacities in the area of teacher policy development and implementation in the four countries participating in the Norwegian Teacher Initiative (NTI).
NTI as a multi-stakeholder platform
“The first success of the NTI has been its ability to bring so many people together and in a structured manner. Having completed the country-mapping activity, we have a clear indication of where we are and what we have done.” This perspective offered by Misheck Munthali, Director of the Department of Teacher Education & Development in Malawi, was undoubtedly reinforced by the collaborative presentations from each country group and its diverse participants guiding the identification of their country’s priorities for developing or implementing the teacher policy. The workshop gathered Ministry of Education and Teacher Union representatives from the four NTI countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda, who all play an important role in teacher policy development and implementation. Apanbil Gifty Anyogbey, Deputy Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) explained that, thanks to NTI, “the employer sees the unions as a partner. Before NTI, they did not see us from that angle that we could contribute so positively. This project has brought all the stakeholders more closely together to discuss educational issues and all have agreed that there is a need for a national teacher policy to help Ghana to improve teaching and learning outcomes.”
Developing holistic teacher policies as part of Education Sector Plans
Participants learned about the various dimensions that make up a comprehensive teacher policy based on the Teacher Policy Development Guide of the TTF. They also discussed the processes and conditions for successful policy development and implementation. All agreed that a vital condition for a sustainable teacher policy is upfront broad stakeholder involvement, as well as political leadership to rally stakeholders and create a shared vision.
Ministry of Education representatives of the four NTI countries gave an overview of the current state of teacher policy development, including the key findings of their country analyses and the priority areas they have identified. With the guidance of TTF experts, workshop participants also discussed the practical implications of developing specific dimensions of a teacher policy. Continuous professional development, for example, implies devising a teacher education framework that will take into account the system’s needs while being teacher demand-driven.
Representatives of the international NTI partners such as UNICEF, UNHCR, ILO and Education International, and of the respective Local Education Groups (LEGs), also joined the workshop to provide insights on sector-wide planning mechanisms and to discuss how to strengthen synergies with NTI at country level.
Promoting knowledge sharing and peer learning
The workshop was also conceived as a forum for knowledge sharing and peer learning. Madagascar and Uganda, who have already developed their teacher policies, shared their experiences and provided useful lessons learned and recommendations for their peers. Jeannie Oliva Fanantenana, Programme Lead for Monitoring and Evaluation at the Institut National de Formation Pédagogique in Mahamasina, Madagascar, noted: “Even though we are about to begin the implementation [of our national teacher policy], we have nevertheless been able to capitalize on the exchanges here. Working today with Burkina Faso, allowed us to think more on the strategies of absorption and on those which are already in the system.” Niger, Mali, and Senegal, who are in the process of developing their national teacher policy, equally took part in the discussions.
Though country contexts differ, the workshop allowed country representatives to reflect on the next steps to take forward teacher policy development and implementation. Ghana and Malawi, for example, envisage rolling out social dialogue activities to align their priorities with the vision for their national education sector. Burkina Faso is preparing to revisit an analysis of the sector challenges based on the nine dimensions of teacher policy. Uganda, which is in the process of implementing its teacher policy, will be seeking political approval of the teacher policy implementation standards and guidelines and an act of parliament that will provide the legal basis for the implementation of the teacher policy ahead of the 2021 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections to ensure continuity of the work done so far. All countries recognized the importance of strengthening synergies with other international development partners, including through the LEGs.
The Norwegian Teacher Initiative (NTI) is a UN Joint Programme funded by Norad that promotes an integrated response among key education partners and national education authorities towards the realization of SDG target 4.c within the Education 2030 Agenda. The project involves four African countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda, and has two main outcomes: 1) improved coordination among partner organizations and 2) strengthened national teacher policies that impact teaching, learning and contribute to teacher targets. NTI’s aim is to mobilize key global education partners in favour of teachers and teaching for improved learning, and draws on the comparative advantages of seven cooperating partners: the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Task Force on Teachers (TTF), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Education International (EI), the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Bank.
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