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  • 25.01.2023
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How can teaching be professionalized?

In recent decades, several educational systems in Latin America have undertaken reforms to professionalize teaching. In this current study, the Latin American Coalition for Teaching Excellence, in...
Blog
  • 24.01.2023

"Invest in people, prioritize education": What it means for a school leader

This interview has been originally published by the UNESCO International Institute for Education Planning on 23 January 2023 prior to the International Day of Education. 


17 goals and seven years left until the world reaches the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals for the people, planet, and prosperity. With the clock ticking, education must be prioritized to accelerate progress toward all the SDGs, especially amid growing inequalities and fast-evolving challenges. 

On the International Day of Education, IIEP-UNESCO caught up with educational planners and decision-makers, to hear what is on their radar as the race to 2030 continues. Their testimonies also launch a year-long celebration of IIEP’s 60th anniversary and an opportunity to reflect on the future of planning education and learning for all. 

Hailing from the Caribbean Island of Montserrat, Hyacinth Bramble-Browne is the Vice Principal of the nation’s sole Secondary School. She is also an educational planner and was the president of IIEP-UNESCO’s Trainees’ Association while she pursued a year-long training programme at the Institute in 2015-2016. She shares her vision of this important day for education. 

International Day of Education matters to me because it serves as a scheduled time not only for me, locally – but all educators – to zoom in on the issues facing education while searching for solutions.   This day ensures that we plan, and hold discussions aimed at finding solutions and at sharing good practices with our stakeholders while at the same time listening to what is taking place regionally and internationally. Hopefully, we will learn from the best practices shared and make positive in-roads in meeting the 2030 Education goals. 

In my current role, I need to make sure that secondary education meets the needs of all students, and that we add value to each child. In Montserrat, our education system is inclusive and universal.  All students come and there are no school fees for attending the public primary and the lone public secondary school.  This means that as a leader, I must provide support for teachers to ensure that they feel confident and are equipped to deliver not only subject content but morale and social values to equip our students to fit readily into the world of work and to function effectively in higher education.

The world needs to invest in education because quality education pays value to each country. Research indicates that increasing the quality and standard of education in a nation increases its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Even without that, an increase in education will have spill-offs in health, and other social sectors resulting in a higher standard of living for all. If we do not choose to spend the required funds on providing a quality education system fit for purpose, then we will find that we will need to spend the money on other social sectors like health, social services, housing, prisons, and so on. 


Read all the interviews conducted by IIEP-UNESCO on what “Invest in people, prioritize education” means for planners and decision-makers here.

Photo credit: Hyacinth Bramble-Browne

Caption: Hyacinth Bramble-Browne Vice Principal of the nation’s sole Secondary School in her office.

Blog
  • 14.11.2022

#TeachersTransform Early Childhood Education: Laying down a solid foundation for children’s futures

“Over the years I have learned that we are so much more than ‘just’ teachers. We are also role models, friends, mothers, and confidants for our students.”

After working as a data analyst in Jamaica for 18 years, Sheryl Miller made the bold decision to quit her job, return to university, and study towards a degree in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). Ten years after graduating, she hasn’t looked back. 

“People always told me I would make a good teacher, so, at the age of 39, I decided it was time to change my career, and go into teaching."

Sheryl spent two years studying for her diploma, and a further four years for her degree in Early Childhood education. Today, after a decade in the early childhood sector, Sheryl is still confident that she made the right choice.

“This job can sometimes feel thankless. It requires so much of your time and energy and resources. But the reward at the end of the day is in seeing the children thrive,” says Sheryl. 

“It's not just my job, it’s my profession”

According to UNICEF, early childhood education forms the foundation of high-quality basic education. It helps children develop critical numeracy and literacy skills as well as the social and emotional skills they need to succeed in life.  

“Over the years I have learned that we are so much more than ‘just’ teachers. We are also role models, friends, mothers, and confidants for our students. Sometimes they tell us things that are happening at home, and we need to take action and intervene for their safety. Sometimes they just need a hug, or encouragement.”

ECCE teachers and schools face a number of obstacles

While early childhood education is recognized as a critical foundation for every child, ECCE teachers still face many obstacles around the world. 

“We try to make our lessons as interactive as possible to capture the attention of the three, four, and five-year-olds. They learn by touching, seeing, tasting… and to do this, we need resources. Teachers often end up purchasing things like stationery, books and learning materials out of their own pockets. In my classroom, I buy many of the resources for our science area and literacy corner.

“I joined the Jamaica Teachers’ Association Early Childhood Committee so that I can help lobby for teachers, and raise awareness about our lack of access to support and resources.”

Teachers need more recognition and respect for their commitment to education

According to Sheryl, another obstacle for the ECCE sector is a general lack of recognition of the importance of foundational learning. 

“Sometimes parents see you as just a ‘babysitter’. But you have to remind yourself that you are not there for the adults. You are there for the students. 

“Just as children progress through crawling, creeping, standing, moving around, and walking step by step, early childhood education is the same. We guide them through the steps of learning their letters and numbers, shapes and colours.”

Sheryl believes that although the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted learning, it also had some positive outcomes. 

“It helped parents realize how important early childhood education is. When they supervised their children during online lessons, it was the first time that they really saw what we do, and how we do it. It helped build an even more trusting relationship between parents and teachers,” says Sheryl. 

Although they may have received more support and respect from parents during the pandemic, many early learning teachers had to devise their own strategies, and use their own resources to help their students continue learning during lockdowns. 

UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring Report on Non-State Actors in Education found that only  55% of countries provided pre-primary school teachers with instructions to ensure learning continuity during the pandemic, compared with nearly 70% of countries for other levels of education. 

COVID-19 also highlighted the need for governments to invest in equipping schools with resources and technology

“Many children lost out on education during the lockdowns, as they didn’t have access to devices, or data. And when children returned to school, we noticed that literacy and numeracy levels declined,” says Sheryl. 

The social-distancing rules also forced many schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom. 

“In Jamaica, social distancing rules are still in place. So, some students haven’t been able to return to school as the affordable institutions are full, and parents don’t have the resources to enroll them in alternative schools.”

The pandemic also led to widespread teacher burnout, and resignations 

“To encourage teachers to stay, and continue transforming education at this level, we need more financial support and resources. We need to ensure teachers have more respect and recognition for the work that they do,” says Sheryl.

UNESCO is organizing the World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from 14-16 November, to reaffirm member states’ commitment to supporting “the right of every young child to quality care and education from birth”. 

Read more:


Photo credit:  Sheryl Miller

Event
  • 09.11.2022

National and Regional Policy Learning - Online Conversations

As part of action line 3 on National and Regional Policy Learning, the Teacher Task Force is organizing a series of online discussions to take place per regional groups on the virtual Knowledge Platform Working Space - space dedicated to members of the TTF network.

The conversations will be a unique opportunity to engage with other TTF members from your region and learn first-hand from their policy experiences on difference dimensions of teacher education and professional development.

Each region will have contextualised questions posted on their regional group on the TTF Working Space and will take place on the following dates:

Dates

During the 2-week period, members are encouraged to post their answers to the questions posted in the discussion forum of the regional group on the TTF Working Space. Exchanges will be asynchronous, and members will be able to post comments whenever it is most convenient during this period. 

The input shared by the group during the online conversations will contribute to shape the program for the 2nd policy learning workshop to be held early next year. 

Members should have received instruction to participate in the online conversations, if you have any questions, please contact Meritxell Fernandez (m.fernandez-barrera@unesco.org) from the TTF Secretariat.

These conversations are exclusively for TTF members.

Event
  • 09.11.2022

National and Regional Policy Learning - Online Conversations

As part of action line 3 on National and Regional Policy Learning, the Teacher Task Force is organizing a series of online discussions to take place per regional groups on the virtual Knowledge Platform Working Space - space dedicated to members of the TTF network.

The conversations will be a unique opportunity to engage with other TTF members from your region and learn first-hand from their policy experiences on difference dimensions of teacher education and professional development.

Each region will have contextualised questions posted on their regional group on the TTF Working Space and will take place on the following dates:

Dates

During the 2-week period, members are encouraged to post their answers to the questions posted in the discussion forum of the regional group on the TTF Working Space. Exchanges will be asynchronous, and members will be able to post comments whenever it is most convenient during this period. 

The input shared by the group during the online conversations will contribute to shape the program for the 2nd policy learning workshop to be held early next year. 

Members should have received instruction to participate in the online conversations, if you have any questions, please contact Meritxell Fernandez (m.fernandez-barrera@unesco.org) from the TTF Secretariat.

These conversations are exclusively for TTF members.

Event
  • 09.11.2022

National and Regional Policy Learning - Online Conversations

As part of action line 3 on National and Regional Policy Learning, the Teacher Task Force is organizing a series of online discussions to take place per regional groups on the virtual Knowledge Platform Working Space - space dedicated to members of the TTF network.

The conversations will be a unique opportunity to engage with other TTF members from your region and learn first-hand from their policy experiences on difference dimensions of teacher education and professional development.

Each region will have contextualised questions posted on their regional group on the TTF Working Space and will take place on the following dates:

Dates

During the 2-week period, members are encouraged to post their answers to the questions posted in the discussion forum of the regional group on the TTF Working Space. Exchanges will be asynchronous, and members will be able to post comments whenever it is most convenient during this period. 

The input shared by the group during the online conversations will contribute to shape the program for the 2nd policy learning workshop to be held early next year. 

Members should have received instruction to participate in the online conversations, if you have any questions, please contact Meritxell Fernandez (m.fernandez-barrera@unesco.org) from the TTF Secretariat.

These conversations are exclusively for TTF members.

Event
  • 09.11.2022

National and Regional Policy Learning - Online Conversations

As part of action line 3 on National and Regional Policy Learning, the Teacher Task Force is organizing a series of online discussions to take place per regional groups on the virtual Knowledge Platform Working Space - space dedicated to members of the TTF network.

The conversations will be a unique opportunity to engage with other TTF members from your region and learn first-hand from their policy experiences on difference dimensions of teacher education and professional development.

Each region will have contextualised questions posted on their regional group on the TTF Working Space and will take place on the following dates:

Dates

During the 2-week period, members are encouraged to post their answers to the questions posted in the discussion forum of the regional group on the TTF Working Space. Exchanges will be asynchronous, and members will be able to post comments whenever it is most convenient during this period. 

The input shared by the group during the online conversations will contribute to shape the program for the 2nd policy learning workshop to be held early next year. 

Members should have received instruction to participate in the online conversations, if you have any questions, please contact Meritxell Fernandez (m.fernandez-barrera@unesco.org) from the TTF Secretariat.

These conversations are exclusively for TTF members.

Event
  • 09.11.2022

National and Regional Policy Learning - Online Conversations

As part of action line 3 on National and Regional Policy Learning, the Teacher Task Force is organizing a series of online discussions to take place per regional groups on the virtual Knowledge Platform Working Space - space dedicated to members of the TTF network.

The conversations will be a unique opportunity to engage with other TTF members from your region and learn first-hand from their policy experiences on difference dimensions of teacher education and professional development.

Each region will have contextualised questions posted on their regional group on the TTF Working Space and will take place on the following dates:

Dates

During the 2-week period, members are encouraged to post their answers to the questions posted in the discussion forum of the regional group on the TTF Working Space. Exchanges will be asynchronous, and members will be able to post comments whenever it is most convenient during this period. 

The input shared by the group during the online conversations will contribute to shape the program for the 2nd policy learning workshop to be held early next year. 

Members should have received instruction to participate in the online conversations, if you have any questions, please contact Meritxell Fernandez (m.fernandez-barrera@unesco.org) from the TTF Secretariat.

These conversations are exclusively for TTF members.

Event
  • 09.11.2022

National and Regional Policy Learning - Online Conversations

As part of action line 3 on National and Regional Policy Learning, the Teacher Task Force is organizing a series of online discussions to take place per regional groups on the virtual Knowledge Platform Working Space - space dedicated to members of the TTF network.

The conversations will be a unique opportunity to engage with other TTF members from your region and learn first-hand from their policy experiences on difference dimensions of teacher education and professional development.

Each region will have contextualised questions posted on their regional group on the TTF Working Space and will take place on the following dates:

Dates

During the 2-week period, members are encouraged to post their answers to the questions posted in the discussion forum of the regional group on the TTF Working Space. Exchanges will be asynchronous, and members will be able to post comments whenever it is most convenient during this period. 

The input shared by the group during the online conversations will contribute to shape the program for the 2nd policy learning workshop to be held early next year. 

Members should have received instruction to participate in the online conversations, if you have any questions, please contact Meritxell Fernandez (m.fernandez-barrera@unesco.org) from the TTF Secretariat.

These conversations are exclusively for TTF members.