World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5th since 1994 – when it was created by UNESCO – celebrates teachers worldwide. Its aim is to mobilise support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.
Having been a teacher at pre-primary, primary, secondary, tertiary and university levels I can understand the highs and lows of being a teacher. Witnessing teachers in Colombia who were risking their lives, being between the FARC and the Military, who were carrying on ‘because they love the children” makes you humble as well as proud of being part of that profession.
Having facilitated training in countries coming out of conflict such as Timor Leste, Chad, Azerbaijan and Mozambique you are again reminded of the difficult contexts in which teachers have to work each day, often not being paid (such as in Comoros) and realise that the money that is wasted on military hardware could be far better spent. I could go on….but let’s celebrate!
“Take a stand for teachers!” is the 2012 motto for World Teachers’ Day. Celebrations are being organized around the world. ”Teachers… ultimately determine our collective ability to innovate, to invent, to find solutions for tomorrow. Nothing will ever replace a good teacher. Nothing is more important than supporting them.” (Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General). World Teachers’ Day is held annually on 5 October to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. It also commemorates the anniversary of the 1966 signature of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers.
Taking a stand for the teaching profession means providing adequate training, ongoing professional development, and protection for teachers’ rights.
All over the world, a quality education offers hope and the promise of a better standard of living. However, there can be no quality education without competent and motivated teachers.
On this day, we call for teachers to receive supportive environments, adequate quality training as well as ‘safeguards’ for teachers’ rights and responsibilities…We expect a lot from teachers – they, in turn, are right to expect as much from us. This World Teachers’ Day is an opportunity for all to take a stand.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General
Teachers are among the many factors that keep children in school and influence learning. They help students think critically, process information from several sources, work cooperatively, tackle problems and make informed choices.
Why take a stand for teachers? Because the profession is losing status in many parts of the world. World Teachers’ Day calls attention the need to raise the status of the profession – not only for the benefit of teachers and students, but for society as a whole, to acknowledge the crucial role teachers play in building the future.
An estimated 1.7 million more teachers are required to reach Universal Primary Education by 2015. While recruiting new teachers, the quality of teaching and learning must also be improved and schools should be supported in their efforts to attract qualified teachers. The challenge of quantity must be met head-on,while ensuring quality and equity.
As an example of what teachers have to do in conflict and post conflict contexts, read on….
Case Study: Somali Teachers Invented Their Own Style of Teaching Children in Traumatic Times FENPS
Somalia had declared its independence in 1960. Although the development and social progress of the country ware booming between 1970s and 1980’ but the situation changed when clan militias overthrew the government. The capital city of Somalia, Mogadishu, has been a war-torn environment for more than twenty years. Everything in the city is upside down. Schools, hospitals, roads and other social services barely function. Desks, chairs, doors, and windows of public schools were looted or destroyed.
In the face of these challenges, Somali teachers organized themselves and combined their efforts to establish schools and learning centers to teach children and run therapy and trauma reduction activities in emergency situations. Somali teachers had never joined any political wing in Somalia. They mobilized community members and opened formal and non-formal schools in each district or village in Mogadishu with support from UNICEF and other national and international organizations. Mohamed Dahir Ali is a head teacher of one of the schools in Mogadishu. I met Mr. Mohamed in his school at Yaqshid District in Mogadishu and I asked him some questions about how Somali teachers address teaching pupils at violence conflict and displacement sites.
October 5th is World Teacher’s Day and being a teacher myself I am more than happy to extol the vital place of teachers in society. As this year’s focus is on teachers who work in emergency or post crisis contexts I reflect on those teachers I have worked with in places such as Chad, Colombia, Timor Leste and Les Comores. In Chad teachers for nomadic students often had to put up with violence from sedentary agriculturalists or even be threatened by mines laid during the civil war, as they crossed the desert. In Colombia passionate teachers risked their lives teaching in communities sandwiched between the FARC and the military. I asked why they put their life at risk? They answered, without thinking -‘because we love the children‘. In Timor Leste rice farmers volunteered to become teachers so that schools could operate soon after the devastation following the independence vote which left all schools smouldering and few trained teachers left to teach. They had few materials ,little training and often just four walls -no windows, doors or roof. It was important to open the schools so that children could ‘get back to some sort of normality’. In Comores teachers often do not get paid for six months or more due to the fragility of the economy and political instability. So it is time to celebrate the brave efforts of teachers worldwide.
INEE has put together a list of resources that can be accessed easily from their site.
This year’s World Teachers’ Day is paying special homage to teachers who work in emergency and post-crises contexts. In times of disaster and crisis, teachers play a crucial role in bringing stability and recovery to a community. They provide life-sustaining and life-saving information to children, youth and their families, and help provide a safe, protected environment where learners can begin healing from the effects of a crisis. Teachers themselves often face many personal difficulties in emergency situations or during transition and recovery, and show great resilience in championing education in challenging environments.
Along with structures, supplies, curricula and furniture, appropriately qualified teachers are critical for the provision of quality, relevant and protective education Yet to meet the internationally agreed education targets by 2015, 1.3 million new teachers need to be recruited each year (of which approximately 276,000 correspond to post creations) and the areas most desperately in need of teachers are those affected by or recovering from crisis, fragility and displacement. A global projected total of 9.1 million teachers need to be recruited between 2008 and 2015 (UIS, 2010). (for more information, click here).
The International Task Force on Teachers for EFA is dedicated to addressing this critical gap. Click here to read their most recent update.
INEE Blog Conversation: Focus on Teachers In anticipation of World Teachers’ Day, INEE, UNESCO and the Task Force on Teachers for EFA invited INEE Members to comment on either or all of the following questions:
What is the most important thing you’ve learned from a teacher?
What are the biggest challenges that teachers face in crisis settings and how can we best support them?
How should we support governments in reducing the teacher gap and upholding EFA commitments in crisis contexts?
Click here to read the discussion and join in! Contributions already shared will be used to guide discussion during tomorrow’s World Teachers’ Day events in New York and Paris.
Human Rights Watch Case Study on INEE Blog: Separatist attacks on teachers and the government’s use of schools as military bases are greatly harming the education of children in Thailand’s southern border provinces. Human Rights Watch has therefore determined Southern Thailand to be one of the most dangerous places to be a teacher. To read more about this case study, visit the INEE blog here.
Good Practices for Teaching and Learning
The recently launched INEE Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning articulate good practice on issues of curricula adaptation and development; teacher training, professional development and support; instruction and learning processes; and the assessment of learning outcomes.
The Teachers’ User Guide (Appendix 8 in the Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning) offers practical tips for teachers to keep in mind when planning and supporting classes in crisis settings.
Download the Guidance Notes; to request a hardcopy, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the one-page User’s Guide for the Guidance Notes
Access the Resource Pack, which offers implementation tools, teaching materials and case studies on Teaching and Learning.
Read Case Studies on Teaching and Learning submitted by INEE members
World Teachers’ Day 2010 – UNESCO calling for stories about heroic teachers
To celebrate World Teachers’ Day (WTD) on October 5, UNESCO is inviting the public to send in stories, photos and videos that pay homage to teachers involved in their country’s recovery from natural disaster, conflict and other crises. Selected content (sent to email@example.com) will be published on the UNESCO website.
With the theme “Recovery begins with teachers”, World Teachers’ Day 2010 is a tribute to teachers’ vital role in social, economic and intellectual rebuilding.
On October 5, teachers from Haiti, Israel, Lesotho, Mali, Lao PDR and France will share their experiences dealing with crisis at a discussion organized at UNESCO in Paris. A presentation of the latest statistics on the global teacher shortage and the opening of a photo exhibition on teachers who work in particularly daunting conditions are among other highlights of UNESCO’s celebration of the Day.
“Teachers provide continuity and reassurance…. By giving hope for the future and providing structure and a sense of normalcy, they help to mitigate the effects of conflict, disaster and displacement.…. Supporting teachers in post-crisis situations is an investment in peace and development,” says the joint statement for the Day signed by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and the chief executives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Education International (EI).
“Teachers are peace builders,” added Ms Bokova. “They pave the way to living together, by promoting values of respect, tolerance, mutual understanding and solidarity. This mission is more vital than ever in our increasingly connected and multicultural societies.”
World Teachers’ Day is an occasion to celebrate teachers, but also to draw attention to their status, employment conditions and the needs of countries where teacher recruitment is not keeping pace with increases in student enrolment. According to the latest projections by UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics (UIS), 9.1 million more teachers will need to be recruited over seven years (2008-2015) to meet the Education For All goal of universal primary education by 2015.
UNESCO is organizing an all-day celebration on October 5. Ms Bokova will open the photo exhibition as well as the afternoon session, chaired by Qian Tang, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education. In addition to teachers’ testimonies about supporting recovery from natural disasters, HIV/AIDS, conflict and violence, other presentations will cover such topics as promoting excellence in teaching, the International Task Force on Teachers for Education For All and accelerating teacher development through new technologies.
World Teachers’ Day, held annually on 5 October since 1994, commemorates the anniversary of the signing in 1966 of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers.
As part of UNESCO’s ongoing support of education in emergency and post-crisis situations, the International Institute of Educational Planning (IEPP) will issue on 5 November the second edition of its Guidebook for planning education in emergencies and reconstruction, aimed primarily at ministries of education. The revised edition contains five volumes and an interactive CD-Rom.
More information about Teachers’ Day
From the latest Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies Bi-Weekly Bulletin
REPORT: Field Notes – Education in Conflict and Transition Contexts
This Field Note outlines UNICEF’s role in providing education in conflict affected contexts. It presents recent developments in this field and discusses lessons learned and good practice based on our experience.
Country case studies illustrates some of the innovative approaches UNICEF is using to ensure that children have continued access to education during and after conflicts and crises.
The case studies look at Schools as Zones of Peace in Nepal, the Go to School Initiative in Southern Sudan and school provision and capacity building interventions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
To download the full report click here.
Well , having finished the manual on school based training, we immediately thought perhaps it is better if there were opportunities for teachers to work with teachers in other schools close-by. It is not new, but we have now embarked on cluster based training.
The work in PEDC covers 40 provinces and 126 districts, involving more than 4,000 main schools with their 14,000 satellite sites, aiming to reach the most ‘unreachable’, but luckily not ‘unteachable’!
Many students in the more isolated areas are ethnic minority students (there 53 ethnic minorities in Vietnam), some of whom find themselves being taught in a language of which they only know a few words. Such is the challenge for teachers and teacher trainers.
What should a cluster look like? How many schools?
Its a bit like forming groups in training sessions – about 4 seems just right, 2 is too small and 6 can be too big, but of course it all depends on geography and communications. In some of our more mountainous provinces distances can be quite far between satellite sites, let alone main schools.
Here are some criteria we are considering using for identifying the ‘lead’ school in a cluster
Main school should be centrally located for easy access to the other three main schools.
Head teacher should be trained (under 50?) and with proven experience of leading professional development activities.
Low number of students repeating grade 1 in 2009.
Have at least one key teacher who has trained teachers at district level.
School has potential as resource base for the school cluster (could be linked to Inclusive Education resource teachers).
Has proven effective School Development planning process and implemented plan.
Not wanting to be ageist, but the lead school head teacher will be an investment for the future and needs to have some more years to serve.
Leadership of the cluster could of course be rotated depending on the overall competence of the school managers, but again geography may necessitate for one central school to maintain coordinating responsibility. Facilities, such as a large meeting room, may only be found in the lower secondary school , so the lead school may be chosen with that in mind, as well as the presence of electricity.
What do the cluster schools do?
The obvious starting point is monthly professional development activities where follow up discussions and sharing of experiences can occur following a training workshop. Workshop (1) can be a school or cluster based activity (of about two days not to disrupt the school week too much )
The trials in the classroom can be part of an action research cycle and can include ‘lesson study‘ or lesson observation activities. The results of these activities are brought together once again , as a cluster , in workshop ( 2 ) which consists of feeding back and reflecting as well as gaining new knowledge and skills, and the cycle continues.
Trainers, managers and teachers are encouraged to keep a ‘professional diary’ which provides notes for reflection and action .
The note book can be quite simple with three columns .
Reflection and Discussion
At the start of workshop (2) teachers can bring their notebooks to input some ideas for approaches that have worked well and to raise issues that other teachers can help explore through collaborative problem solving – such as the use of force field analysis:
In Colombia, in Escuela Nueva microcentres, teachers meet together to adapt the learning guides so that learning guides fit the local context.
In a centralised state such as Vietnam it is often helpful to see the benefits of centralisation. When it was realised that too many motorcyclists were being killed or severely injured on the roads in Vietnam,the government instituted a law to mandate all motorcyclists to wear helmets.
In Hanoi, almost overnight,everyone was wearing one. So centralisation can have its benefits.
This approach may not work with training teachers,though. I am working in education and find that the nearer the ‘trainee’ is to their workplace,the more likely they are to implement what they have been trained. So decentralisation to the district and more importantly to the school is a challenge as well as an opportunity.
Although in Vietnam, teacher training is centralised, the PEDC project decided to work at the local level and provide training for trainers for ‘school based training’. What does this mean in practice?
Normally the Ministry of Education and Training will provide training during the long break (July/August). The problem with this is that there is no organised follow up ,unless a head teacher makes it his/her duty to observe the application of training in the classroom. This approach, although common, is obviously not learner -centred. The teacher is expected to receive much ‘content’ , which is often subject based, and then after the training and their holiday, attempt to apply all of the knowledge and concepts, on their own, in their classroom. This model is doomed in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
With school based training focused on active learning in the classroom the first question to ask is:
If we want teachers to manage an effective and stimulating classroom where all students participate, learn new skills and knowledge and achieve well – how do we train the teachers?
Answer: they have to be trained in an effective and stimulating training room where all participate, learn relevant new skills and knowledge, evaluate themselves and achieve, as well as develop new attitudes towards their teaching and the students.
As imagined, training has to be fully participative and challenging (including group problem solving) and learning is through participation, reflection and analysis.
Participants have to take some responsibility for their learning environment as well as the training process and are organised into workshop committees , such as public relations, games and singing, materials and welfare as well as evaluation.
As emotions are a key element in learning it is important to develop the psycho-social environment as much as the physical environment. Apart from committees the facilitators try to
•Increase participation and involvement (e.g. creative group work tasks)
•Increase use of effective pair and group work through relevant activities (appropriate to their working context).
• ‘help and support’ participants to learn
•Encourage good workshop relationships – by the use of games, singing etc.
Effective training can include creative and practical problem solving activities focusing on group cooperation, lesson planning,making teaching aids and the needs of students.
To summarise, the benefits of school based training:
1. Pedagogically effective – closer to the real school situation. Professional development is continuous based on action research and cooperative learning.
2. Administratively effective – more flexible for planning and organizing. Less disruptive of classes
3. Cost effective – less travel time and accommodation costs
As mentioned in an earlier post the 20th November is not only Universal Children’s Day, but also the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) has produced a celebratory explanation of some of the articles of the CRC and also some important resources. INEE is an open global network of over 3,500 practitioners, students, teachers, staff from UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, donors, governments and universities who work together to ensure all persons the right to quality, relevant and safe educational opportunities.
Tomorrow, 20 November 2009, is the 20th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is a legally binding international instrument spelling out the principles that Member States of the United Nations agree to be universal – for all children, in all countries and cultures, at all times and without exception, simply through the fact of their being born into the human family. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.
The CRC is of particular importance to education in emergencies, because it forcefully brings together provisions relevant to emergencies and armed conflict in ways that few other international treaties do, offering added protection for the consistently most vulnerable group: the child.
The following 2 articles affirm the right of the child to education, in emergencies, as well as in times of peace and stability:
Article 28 obliges all state parties to establish educational systems and ensure equal and non-discriminatory access to them. Especially primary education must be compulsory and free to all, but also secondary, vocational and higher education must be made progressively available. Education must be provided in a way that respects the dignity of the child at all times. Lastly, Article 28 obliges States to encourage and promote international cooperation, with particular account taken of the needs of developing countries.
Article 29 defines the aims of education, chief amongst these being that education shall be directed to the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential. This echoes the over-riding principle of the CRC, as stated in Art. 3, of the best interest of the child, requires that schools be child-friendly in the fullest sense of the term and that they be consistent in all respects with the dignity of the child. Lastly, that education must be for “the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin”.
These 2 articles must be read together with a few other key articles in the Convention:
Article 2 on non-discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.
Article 38 on the respect for the rules of international humanitarian law in times of conflict, ensuring the continued and specific protection of children and civilians, protecting them from taking part in hostilities and entering into armed forces.
Article 6 (right to life); Article 9 (separation from parents); Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child); Article 19 (Child’s right to protection from all forms of violence); Article 22 (Refugee children); Article 39 (Rehabilitation of child victims); and the 1st Optional Protocol (On the Involvement of children in armed conflict).
The right to education is also articulated in many other international conventions and documents, which do not limit this right to children, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951); the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966); the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006); and the non-legally binding Dakar World Education Forum Framework for Action (2000), promoting Education for All.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the body of independent experts responsible for reviewing progress made by States parties in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, devoted its 2008 Day of General Discussion (DGD) on to articles 28 and 29 of the Convention dealing with the right to education, focusing upon the education of children in emergency situations. The day was intended to provide States and other actors with more comprehensive guidance as to their obligations to promote and protect the right to education as outlined in articles 28 and 29. For more information about the DGD, please click here.
The Committee released its report, including recommendations, which you can find on the INEE website along with several other supporting documents about the day. Among the recommendations particularly relevant to INEE members, the Committee:
calls upon States parties to honor their obligation to fully ensure the right to education for every child within their jurisdiction, without any discrimination, throughout all stages of emergency situations, including the emergency preparedness phase and the reconstruction and the post emergency phases.
calls upon States parties, donors and relief agencies to include education as an integral component of the humanitarian relief response from the outset.
urges all States parties, in particular those that are prone to natural disasters or in areas likely to be affected by armed conflict, to prepare a plan of action for the provision of the right to education in emergency situations.
urges States parties to fulfill their obligation therein to ensure schools as zones of peace and places where intellectual curiosity and respect for universal human rights is fostered; and to ensure that schools are protected from military attacks or seizure by militants; or use as centres for recruitment. The Committee urges States parties to criminalize attacks on schools as war crimes in accordance with article 8(2)(b) (ix) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and to prevent and combat impunity.
urges States parties, United Nations agencies, donors and relief agencies to ensure that INEE Minimum Standards are applied at all stages of humanitarian relief response in order to ensure the right of children to education in emergencies.
recommends that States parties and other international partners support child participation so that children can voice their views with regard to what they learn (the content) and how they learn (rights-based and child-centered active learning) and are empowered by the relevant content of education and the active learning process.
The DGD, and these ensuing recommendations on education in emergencies, built upon the 2008 report of Vernor Muñoz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education on the right to education in emergencies. Many INEE members contributed to the contents of this report through questionnaires developed by the Special Rapporteur and disseminated on the INEE Listserv and Website. For a summary of the report, the full text for download in Spanish and English, and highlights relating specifically to INEE and the INEE Minimum Standards please click here.
Right to Education Project http://www.right-to-education.org
The RTE site offers information and resources for States, civil society organisations and individuals on how to interpret and claim the right to education. It is centered on the basic premise that education must be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable to all; that education systems must be accountable, participatory, transparent and non-discriminatory; and that education rights entails both the right to, in and through education.
UNICEF Website: 20th Anniversary of the CRC http://www.unicef.org/rightsite/whatyoucando.htm
The UNICEF site includes a Take Action center that articulates what individuals can do – visa via governments, families and communities, schools and teachers, the media, the private sector, and development and humanitarian organizations — to change the Convention from words on paper into real actions for children. It also contains a section for youth, helping them to understand the CRC, know their rights and take action: http://www.unicef.org/rightsite/433.htm
INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit Thematic Guide on Human & Children’s Rights
The INEE Minimum Standards present a global framework for coordinated action to enhance the quality of educational preparedness and response, increase access to relevant learning opportunities, and ensure humanitarian accountability in providing these services. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of the foundational documents for the INEE Minimum Standards. The tools and resources in this guide are a selection from the INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit that relate to the cross-cutting issue of human and children’s rights. To access the Thematic Guide, please click here. All of these resources are available online and on the INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit www.ineesite.org/toolkit.
Your Right to Education: A Handbook for Refugees and Displaced Communities
The Women’s Refugee Commission created Your Right to Education: A Handbook for Refugees and Displaced Communities to raise awareness of everyone’s right to education. The handbook uses drawings that readers at all levels can understand. It is hoped that you will share Your Right to Education with children, young people and adults in your community to help them better understand the right to education, how it fits with other human rights and the benefits that education may bring. It is also hoped that Your Right to Education will serve as a tool to discuss these issues in depth and to encourage action to expand and improve education in displaced communities. Click here to download the Handbook in English, French and Arabic.
A complimentary resource is Right to Education During Displacement. A resource for organizations working with refugees and internally displaced persons (2006, Women’s Refugee Commission), which is available here.
Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)
This website and listserv offers consistently high-quality and comprehensive information on the rights of the child as defined in the CRC. It also has a selection of resources relating to education. Explore the website, and sign-up for their listserv CRINMAIL here: www.crin.org.
A Human Rights Based Approach to Education for All
(2007, UNICEF and UNESCO)
This document brings together the current thinking and practice on human rights-based approaches in the education sector. It presents key issues and challenges in rights-based approaches and provides a framework for policy and programme development from the level of the school up to the national and international levels.While the predominant focus of the document is on primary basic education and child rights within education, it is based on the EFA goals and situated within lifecycle and lifelong learning approaches. It addresses the right to education as well as rights within education, which include human rights education itself. Click here to download this resource.