Building peace in the minds of men and women

Strengthening social and policy dialogue for stronger teacher policies in Africa

04 June 2019

Engaging teachers and education support personnel in social and policy dialogue is fundamental for meaningful teacher policies. In order to so, governments must put in place effective mechanisms that allow for meaningful and institutionalized social and policy dialogue with teachers and their representatives.

The Norwegian Teacher Initiative (NTI), coordinated by UNESCO, is supporting countries to achieve this objective. It is in this context that UNESCO co-organized with Education International a regional forum on this topic, which culminated in the adoption of a Joint Declaration.

The two-day event, which was held in Accra and supported by UNESCO’s National Office, brought together about 100 representatives of Ministries of Education, teacher unions and teachers from the four NTI beneficiary countries, namely Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda. While countries are at different stages when it comes to strengthening social and policy dialogue and have differing contexts and challenges, it is generally felt that teachers need to be involved more closely in the development and implementation of teacher policies. Hence, the forum offered a platform for participants to develop a shared understanding of the conditions, forms and models of social dialogue as well as opportunities for social and policy dialogue in the four countries.

In addition, the forum provided an opportunity for exchanging experiences among the four countries and learning how regional or international tools or instruments such as the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel or the Teacher Support and Motivation Framework for Africa developed by IICBA could support their efforts.

With this in mind, participants discussed opportunities for strengthening current social and policy dialogue practices in their countries and identified concrete steps to achieve this. The Declaration jointly adopted by all participants is expected to facilitate implementation of the commitments taken.

The Norwegian Teacher Initiative “Strengthening Multi-Partner Cooperation to Support Teacher Policy and Improve Learning” aims to strengthen the work that is already being done by many international organizations by improving the coordination and cooperation among key international agencies and partners supporting Governments to realize target SDG 4.c of the Education 2030 framework. Target 4.c aims to substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and Small Island Developing States.

NTI involves seven international partner organizations, namely UNESCO as the lead coordinator, Education International, the Global Partnership for Education, the International Labour Organization, UNHCR, UNICEF and the World Bank as well as four African countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, and Uganda.