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Teacher Policy Development Guide

The Teacher Policy Development Guide was developed through a participatory and inclusive approach under the 2014–2016 Strategic Plan. The Guide facilitates the review of evidence-based national teacher policies. It also frames teacher policies within the education sector plan and national development priorities, and examines the interlocking dimensions for a teacher policy, and their correlations. Finally, it outlines the phases in the process to develop a teacher policy, and outlines the steps and issues to address when implementing a national teacher policy.

Between 2018–2021, the guide was piloted and evaluated in a number of countries. It is currently being disseminated to a large range of stakeholders as a learning tool to promote capacity development at the country level.

What is it for?

The TTF developed the Teacher Policy Development Guide to ensure that every learner is taught by qualified, trained and well-supported teachers. Based on the principle that a comprehensive (holistic) teacher policy is necessary to improve the quantity and quality of teachers, it addresses issues and policies that work best to ensure quality teachers and teaching, including attracting, training and supporting good teachers, cost-effectiveness and policy trade-offs.

The Guide applies to teachers as defined by the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers adopted in 1966: all those persons in schools or other learning sites who are responsible for the education of children or young people in pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education. It equally covers teachers in both public and private institutions (including non-governmental organizations) and school heads, directors or principals and deputies as part of school leadership and governance.

What does it cover?

The Guide is designed to assist national decision-makers and education officials develop evidence-informed national teacher policies as integrated components of national education sector plans or policies, aligned to national development plans and strategies. It emphasizes that such policies are country specific but can draw on the evidence of best practices from a wide range of countries and organizations.

The Guide presents an overview of nine interrelated teacher policy dimensions and issues to be considered in a national teacher policy; outlines policy responses that need to be considered; and suggests steps to elaborate and implement a national teacher policy.

These key dimensions include: thorough and relevant initial teacher and school leadership education; continual professional development and support; remuneration and material incentives comparable to similar professionals; and a safe, healthy, stimulating teaching and learning environment.

Who is it for?

The Guide was developed to support:

  • Public education authorities responsible for education and teacher policy, planning and practice, including ministries or departments of education, labour, civil/ public service and finance; teacher or public service commissions or equivalent bodies dealing with teacher policy; and professional bodies such as teacher professional councils, or joint bargaining forums that include unions and government;
  • Private education providers including for profit or non-profit schools, secular or faith-based or religious schools, and non-governmental organizations or communities established to complement public education; and
  • Education stakeholders who may be involved in policy dialogue with government to develop and implement a national teacher policy, including: teachers and teachers’ unions or associations; head teachers/principals and their associations; teacher education institutions; learners and student associations; parents and parent-teacher associations; and international agencies and organizations.

Online course

The Open University, in collaboration with the TTF and UNESCO, has developed an online course based on the Teacher Policy Development Guide. It offers courses and interactive learning elements to help users developing teacher policies.

 Through a dedicated user-account on the website, users are able to track their progress.  Chapters 2-5 have focused activities to help policy-makers and education stakeholders apply the knowledge provided to their own context and help them frame their teacher policy as it develops. They are also designed to assist learning and understand the concepts presented.

The online version is available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish. 

Related publications

Full versions

Summary versions


New module on Crisis-Sensitive Teacher Policy and Planning

Applying a crisis-sensitive lens in the development of national teacher policies is essential to ensure that teachers can act as critical agents of support and protection and to ensure that quality, inclusive education continues, even during crisis. This involves working to anticipate and address challenges with recruitment, deployment, retention, training, ensuring job security and safe working conditions, prioritising teacher well-being, and identifying key actions that teachers can take to make schools areas of peace, safety, and learning. Such a lens requires the inclusion of key provisions to dimensions of teacher management necessary for the prevention and mitigation of, and recovery from conflict and disaster.

This module has been developed to promote the development and implementation of crisis-sensitive national teacher policies, in recognition of the important role played by teachers in preparing for and responding to crisis and emergency situations. It complements the Teacher Policy Development Guide. Download here.