Since the Dakar World Education Forum in 2000, tangible progress has been made towards achieving the six Education for All (EFA) goals, particularly with regards to Universal Primary Education (UPE). However, the rapid growth in intake of school-age children at the primary level was not equally matched by commensurate teacher recruitment. There was a growing realization of the urgent need to address the teacher gap to achieve education for all children, youth and adults.
At the Oslo Education for All High-Level Group (HLG) meeting in December 2008, national governments were urged to map out their short and medium-term needs to recruit, deploy, train and retain quality teachers, whilst development partners were called to support national efforts to address the teacher deficit and provide predictable support to cover costs. To this end, the Oslo Declaration endorsed the creation of the International Task Force on Teachers for EFA or Teacher Task Force (TTF).
Phase 1 – 2009-2012
During the first phase of its activities (2009-2012), the TTF developed an Action Plan that addressed gaps in three teacher-related areas:
- Policies: Development and/or reinforcement of relevant national policies, strategies and plans for the provision of teachers;
- Capacity: Capacity to collect, manage and use data and information for policymaking, policy implementation and monitoring and evaluation. This also relates to human resource constraints at national levels with respect to planning and management of teacher provision for EFA; and
- Financing: The need for increased investment on teachers at national levels, and international support for country-level recurrent expenditure to meet teacher needs for EFA.
During this first phase, the TTF served as an effective mechanism for advocacy, policy dialogue at global and regional levels, and knowledge development and sharing on critical teacher issues. In March 2012, an external evaluation of the structure and work of the TTF recognized its relevance and recommended its extension up to 2015 and beyond.
Phase 2 – 2014-2017
The second phase of activities (2014–2017) saw the TTF continue to support its members address policy, capacity and financing gaps on teachers and teaching.
At the end of the EFA era, the TTF moved into its third phase of activities. TTF members played a key role in advocating for a stand-alone item on teachers under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 and decided to articulate its activities around the newly adopted international education goals. The Strategic Plan 2018–2021 therefore built on the SDGs, especially target SDG 4.c, as well as the 2015 Education 2030 Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action. Consequently, the official name of the TTF was changed to the “International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030”.
Phase 3 – 2018-2021
The third phase of the TTF was also informed by an external evaluation conducted in 2016–2017. The conclusions and recommendations of the evaluation were discussed by the TTF Steering Committee in May 2017 and drove some of the strategic directions of the Strategic Plan 2018-2021. The plan was articulated around the three main lines of action that are at the core of the TTF’s work: advocacy; knowledge creation and sharing; and country support and engagement. Following these main lines of action, the plan foresaw three flagship initiatives: reinforcing the Policy Dialogue Forum; building an online knowledge platform on teachers and teaching; and piloting the Teacher Policy Development Guide developed during the 2014–2016 period.
Current Phase of Work – 2022-2025
An external evaluation conducted in early 2021 informed the Strategic Plan 2022-2025, which presents the fourth phase in the network’s existence. The evaluation recognized the value added of the TTF’s “work and capacity to provide support in the fields of advocacy and knowledge exchange.” The TTF will pursue its work in these areas to influence and inform global discussions and to advocate for the need to increase the supply of qualified, well-resourced, and motivated teachers. It will also seek to advance the discussions on teacher-related norms and standards as an essential dimension of the quality of education and learning.
Bearing in mind the evaluation recommendations regarding the need to recalibrate the TTF’s engagement at country level, the TTF will reinforce regional and national policy learning. In this new Strategic Plan, the objective is to foster exchange between members, create dynamics at the international and regional levels, with the TTF acting as a champion of change. The regional and national partners will receive special attention, with the assumption that this exchange between members will lead to them adopting and implementing the policy lessons leveraged by the membership.