Skip to main content
Manual / Handbook / Guidelines
  • pdf
  • 02.10.2023

Promoting inclusive teacher education: Materials

This advocacy guide on ‘Materials’ is the fourth in a series of five guides devoted to ‘Promoting Inclusive Teacher Education’. It can be used on its own or in combination with the four other advocacy...
Manual / Handbook / Guidelines
  • pdf
  • 02.10.2023

Promoting inclusive teacher education: Materials

This advocacy guide on ‘Materials’ is the fourth in a series of five guides devoted to ‘Promoting Inclusive Teacher Education’. It can be used on its own or in combination with the four other advocacy...
  • 10.07.2023

Building capacity in Zambia to develop a comprehensive teacher policy and strengthen teachers’ voices through social dialogue

Teachers have an essential part to play in building a better future in sub-Saharan Africa. To play that part well, they need to be supported and empowered through good policy and robust social dialogue.

From 20 to 23 June 2023, the UNESCO Section for Teacher Development and the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 (Teacher Task Force, TTF), in collaboration with the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity-Building in Africa (IICBA) and the Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA), conducted two training workshops in Lusaka to help address the challenges faced by teachers in Zambia. The first workshop built capacity among members of the ministerial technical committee selected to lead the development of a comprehensive teacher policy. The second focused on institutionalizing social dialogue and empowering teachers and their unions to more actively participate in policy development. 

These workshops followed a national stakeholder consultative meeting on the status of teachers, organized in December 2022, at which the Minister of Education launched the National Framework for Social Dialogue for Teachers, and during which participants began deliberations on the development process for a new teacher policy. After this successful beginning, the June workshops brought together key stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Education (MoE), the Teaching Service Commission, the Teaching Council of Zambia, teacher unions, civil society organizations and development partners, to collectively work towards strengthening the teaching profession to improve the quality of education. The workshops were led by UNESCO's Section for Teacher Development and the TTF and funded through UNESCO’s Capacity Development for Education (CapED) Programme that has been active since 2003 with a focus on least developed countries, currently financed by Finland, France, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

Paving the way for a comprehensive teacher policy 

Teachers play a crucial role in shaping the future of Zambia, but the country is grappling with challenges such as teacher shortages, declining interest in joining the profession and low teacher morale. To better position the MoE to attract, develop and retain quality teachers, the government solicited UNESCO’s support in February 2022 to develop a comprehensive teacher policy and accompanying implementation guidelines and tools. The first workshop in June 2023 was carried out to help drive that mission forward. On the urgent need for high-quality teachers, Joel Kamoko, Permanent Secretary for Educational Services at the Ministry of Education of Zambia, said, ‘The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers [as] teachers provide the power of education to today’s learners, thereby giving them the possibility for a better future ahead.’ 

The training made use of the Teacher Policy Development Guide to provide guidance on designing a comprehensive teacher policy tailored to Zambia’s specific needs. Carlos Vargas, Head of the Secretariat of the Teacher Task Force and Chief of Section for Teacher Development at UNESCO, spoke about the potential of the workshop to drive change, saying, ‘The development of a comprehensive teacher policy is vital for addressing the issues hindering teacher quality and availability in Zambia. By supporting the Technical Committee members, we are taking a significant step towards ensuring quality education for all.’ 

Carlos Vargas
Carlos Vargas, Head of the Secretariat of the Teacher Task Force, speaks in Lusaka about the importance of teacher policy. Photo credit: UNESCO 

The workshop took a participatory approach, with presentations made by UNESCO, TTF, IICBA, MoE, Education International and local education stakeholders. Speakers covered the importance of contextualizing policy and unpacked the different dimensions impacting the teaching profession, including recruitment and retention, teacher education, deployment, teacher career structures, working conditions, remuneration, standards, accountability and school governance. The main steps for developing and validating a teacher policy were also discussed. Through group discussions and plenary sessions, technical committee members had in-depth conversations and shared insights on key teacher challenges, potential policy actions and solutions and current opportunities on which to build in developing the country’s first national comprehensive teacher policy.  

Participants also benefited from experiences shared by speakers from other countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have developed comprehensive teacher policies using the Teacher Policy Development Guide with UNESCO and TTF support. These speakers included Jonathan Kamwana, Commissioner of Teacher Education, Training and Development at Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports, and Yaw Ankomah, Senior Lecturer in Educational Planning and Leadership at the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration at the University of Cape Coast, who was a member of the technical committee for Ghana’s comprehensive teacher policy. 

By the end of the workshop, committee members had enhanced their technical capacities, gained a better understanding of teacher challenges and acquired knowledge on framing a comprehensive teacher policy. The training also facilitated the identification of a roadmap with milestones for policy development, including the definition of a diagnostic study on teacher issues. A report summarizing the workshop’s outcomes will serve as a valuable resource for reference and basis for further collaboration. 

Sparking dialogue for education transformation 

Social dialogue that brings together government institutions, employers, teachers and their organizations in genuine exchange is essential to creating a teacher policy that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders. Therefore, building on the launch of Zambia’s new National Framework for Teacher Social Dialogue last year, the second workshop aimed to strengthen social dialogue by building the technical and organizational capacity of teacher unions and education sector personnel.  

According to Permanent Secretary Joel Kamoko, ‘Social dialogue is a vital mechanism for achieving quality education for all. Teachers are responsible for implementing educational reforms, and their engagement in social dialogue contributes to the achievement of key aspects of educational objectives and policies, including teachers’ professional development programmes.’ 

At the workshop, national and international consultants and UNESCO representatives made presentations, providing a platform to discuss the importance of social dialogue in improving the teaching profession’s status and the quality of teaching, in alignment with the Education 2030 agenda. Participants gained insights into effective responses and lessons from other national social dialogue frameworks. Gender issues, especially ways to promote equality and equity within the teaching profession, provided another key topic. 

Workshop participants
Workshop participants, including teacher unions discussing how to better enhance the role of teacher’s voices and perspectives in policy development efforts. Photo credit: UNESCO.

The training workshop on social dialogue marks a significant milestone in promoting meaningful engagement between education stakeholders and giving teachers a voice in shaping education policies. Through this effort, Zambia is taking a crucial step towards fostering a conducive teaching and learning environment, improving the teaching profession and enhancing teacher quality and working conditions.  

On the workshop’s potential impact, Carlos Vargas said, ‘By empowering teachers and education sector personnel through enhanced social dialogue, we can collectively work towards improving the teaching profession and creating an environment that supports quality education for all.’ 

Driving positive change in Zambia’s education landscape 

Both workshops represented important steps towards addressing the challenges faced by teachers and improving the education landscape in the country. By promoting collaboration, inclusivity and the exchange of ideas, these workshops have paved the way for a more equitable, high-quality education system in Zambia.  

Moving forward, UNESCO will provide assistance in Zambia to conduct a comprehensive diagnostic study as part of the teacher policy development process. Following the launch of the National Framework for Teacher Social Dialogue in 2022, a pilot programme on social dialogue has been successfully conducted in two specific provinces, benefiting 200 teachers. UNESCO will continue its support to define the implementation of the framework before its nationwide rollout. 

For more information about UNESCO’s work on teachers, click here. To explore related resources and materials on teacher policy and social dialogue, follow the links below: 

  • 30.11.2022

Zambia - National stakeholders meeting on the institutionalisation of social dialogue for teachers and the development of a comprehensive teacher policy

The purpose of this in-person national meeting is to create awareness about the teacher policy framework developed with UNESCO and IICBA’s support through the Capacity Development for Education Programme (CapED), foster national ownership, ensure sustainability in implementation, and to engage stakeholders in the key issues and the roadmap for the development of the comprehensive teacher policy in Zambia.

As part of the meeting organized by the Teacher Council of Zambia with CapED’s support, the Teacher Task Force will present its Teacher Policy Development Guide - a key reference designed to assist national decision-makers and education officials to develop evidence-informed national teacher policies as integrated components of national education sector plans or policies, aligned to national development plans and strategies.

The following are the specific objectives of this joint meeting:

  1. to launch and disseminate the developed national framework for social dialogue for teachers in Zambia
  2. to discuss the importance of social dialogues towards improving the status of the teaching profession, teacher quality, teaching and learning in line with the new education 2030 agenda, CESA (2016-20) and ILO recommendations (1966/1997);
  3. to identify mechanisms for scaling up the institutionalizing social dialogues for teachers in the education sector
  4. to identify and discuss key issues affecting the teaching profession in the Zambian education sector
  5. to develop a clear roadmap for developing a comprehensive teacher policy to guide the Ministry of Education in attracting, developing, managing and retaining effective and quality teachers for improved education service delivery
  • 25.09.2020

Professionalization of early childhood care and education personnel: the missing piece for strong leadership?


Quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) lays the foundation for good health, socio-emotional development, educational success in subsequent schooling and lifelong learning, and future labour market participation. As a key determinant of quality, teacher capacities and working conditions must be paid increased attention in efforts to promote the achievement of SDG target 4.2 on ECCE.  

A critical aspect in the professionalization of all education personnel, including ECCE personnel, is the reinforcement of leadership. Early childhood teachers and educators are in a position to take leadership in determining and adjusting curriculum and pedagogical practices and reaching out to parents and other stakeholders for the wellbeing and learning of young children. This capacity has been called upon particularly at times of crisis, such as crisis arising from natural disaster or conflicts or health crisis including the COVID-19 pandemic that we are still facing today. 

However, is leadership an integral part of pre-service and in-service training of early childhood teachers and centre directors? Is leadership a notion that teachers and centre directors are aware of as part of their professional identify as well as pedagogical and professional practices? Early childhood personnel may not consider that leadership is a quality that everyone can nurture, as they lack societal recognition of the importance and value of their work due to their inadequate working conditions and status. What can be done concretely to motivate early childhood teachers to constantly improve their leadership competencies? 

The World Teachers’ Day of 2020 is an excellent opportunity to raise these issues in relation to ECCE, to celebrate the tireless efforts and dedication of ECCE personnel in supporting young children and their families in uncertain and difficult times, and to reflect upon and learn from others’ experiences to enrich our own perspectives and practices. The webinar is jointly organised by VSO International, VVOB and the Thematic Group on ECCE Teachers of the International Taskforce on Teachers for Education 2030 (TTF).


Objectives and expected outcomes

The aim of the session is to raise awareness of the importance of teacher leadership in relation to ECCE, to discuss key issues around teaching leadership in the context of ECCE, and to point to innovations and recommendations on how to strengthen teacher leadership in ECCE. This will be accomplished by reviewing a set of international guidelines developed on the promotion of decent work of early childhood educators from the perspective of teacher leadership; discussing two concrete national studies from Africa and Asia; and highlighting lessons and experiences from the perspectives of an early childhood education centre leader working in a refugee camp as well as of an education ministry department in charge of early childhood education. Some of the key questions to be raised during the webinar are:

  • Why is teacher leadership important in the context of ECCE?
  • How leadership at different levels (i.e. classroom-, school/centre-, and community-level) affect factors of teacher motivation?
  • What kinds of pre-service and in-service training and other mechanisms are needed for nurturing a strong teacher leadership?
  • How can early childhood centre managers and education authorities facilitate teacher leadership in early childhood education, thus increasing their motivation?
  • What experiences can we find in teachers taking leadership, notably in curriculum and pedagogical innovations in times of crisis, including emergency situations and the COVID-19 pandemic?

The session is intended for all those concerned with the development of and investment in early childhood care and education (ECCE) and the education sector. This includes teachers and directors of early childhood centres, professionals from policymakers, teachers and directors of early childhood centres, professionals from teacher training institutions, civil society, private sector and international organisations supporting ECCE and education sector development.

Provisional agenda



Speakers’ bios

Anna Carmen Murru, VVOB

Zambian by birth, I hold a Masters’ Degree in Political Sciences, with a focus on International development and Africa, Anna Carmen Murru is currently the Partnership Manager at VVOB, working out of Zambia, but covering all VVOB partner countries. With VVOB, Anna has also previously served as Zambia Country Programme Manager, working with the Ministry of General education to build the capacity of teachers and educational leaders through existing educational structures, which is VVOB’s core work and approach. Her current role in the organization is to support networks, partnerships and programmes that cut across our country specific engagements.

Nikolina Postic, ILO

Nikolina Postic is a Technical Officer in the Sectoral Policies Department of the International Labour Organization. Her work primarily focuses on working conditions and labour rights in the teaching profession, with emphasis on social dialogue and the future of work in the education sector. She is currently managing a project on digitalisation, the future of work and the teaching profession in East Africa. Nikolina co-chairs the thematic group on ECE teachers and educators of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030.   

Purna Kumar Shrestha, VSO International

Mr. Purna Kumar Shrestha is an expert in education and development with 30 years of experience in classroom teaching, education leadership, teacher training, project management of grass roots-development works, research, advocacy, and participatory facilitation skills. He started his teaching career as a pre-primary teacher in 1990, and worked for Room to Read in Nepal. He is currently Education Lead Technical Advisory at VSO International. He led an innovative home-based early childhood education programme for Rohingya children in Jamtoli camp, Cox’s Bazar, and developed a mobile application VSO School app to empower ECE teachers and caregivers. He contributed to the development of MESHGUIDES on Early Childhood Care and Education in Emergencies. Purna is a member of the steering committee of the International Task Force on Teacher for Education 2030 and a member of United Nation Girls’ Education Initiative International Advisory Committee. Father of two young children, he founded the Early Years Education Society – UK ( in the UK in 2017.

Join the webinar here