Enhancing teacher participation in social dialogue

The project ‘Improving Teacher Support and Participation in Local Education Groups,’ a joint initiative by UNESCO and Education International, aimed to enhance the capacity of teachers and their organizations to participate effectively in social dialogue with national governments regarding policies to increase the effectiveness of teaching and the quality of education.

Supported by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the project began in 2014 with ten countries participating across Africa, Asia, and Latin America: Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Gambia, Benin, Mali, Senegal, Uganda, Nepal, and Haiti. Countries were chosen based on four criteria: fragility; recipient of an active GPE grant; absence of teachers’ representatives in Local Education Groups (LEGs); and political will to overcome conflictive relationships between the ministry of education and teachers’ organizations.

Teachers, teacher trainers, union representatives, and government officials participated in capacity-development workshops to engage in discussions and knowledge building activities in three thematic areas:

  • Improving the technical and organizational capacity of teachers’ organizations to participate meaningfully in education sector planning and LEGs;
  • Improving teacher organizations’ and country governments’ technical capacity to analyse and discuss core human resource issues and barriers that impact their teachers’ status and efficacy (i.e., issues of salary scales, working conditions, and standards of practice); and
  • Identifying, piloting, and implementing innovative approaches to teacher in-service support mechanisms to facilitate their engagement in social dialogue through the development of their professionalism and professionalization.

A final project report will be published in 2017. It is hoped that the project findings will be used by stakeholders at UNESCO, Education International and the Global Partnership for Education, as well as by teachers, teachers’ unions, and government institutions at country level, to better understand how teachers can more effectively participate in education policy processes that affect their working conditions, effectiveness, and the profession in general. The final report will include a guidance framework to support countries in preparing national frameworks for teacher professional development.

The project, which ends in September 2017, directly addresses Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), Target 4.c on teachers: “By 2030, 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.”