Enhancing teacher participation in social dialogue
‘Improving Teacher Support and Participation in Local Education Groups’ is a joint initiative of UNESCO and Education International, aiming 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 ran from 2014 to 2017 in ten beneficiary countries 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, teacher organization 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.
The final project report, released in December 2017, made recommendations on how to promote teachers’ participation in social and policy dialogue through focused professional development programmes; the knowledge and skills to be developed; the main beneficiaries of the training; who should provide the training; and how to finance and implement the training programmes. The report includes a guidance framework to support countries in preparing their national frameworks for country-wide training programmes.
The project addresses Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), Target 4.c on teachers, which calls on countries and international partners to “substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers” by 2030. It is hoped that the project findings will be used by stakeholders at UNESCO, Education International, the Global Partnership for Education, as well as by teachers, teacher organizations, and government institutions at national and local levels, to better understand how teachers and governments can more effectively participate in education policy processes that affect the working conditions, effectiveness, and the teaching profession in general.