Investing in Teachers is Investing in Learning


Investing in Teachers is Investing in Learning

Ensuring that qualified, professionally trained, motivated, and well-supported teachers are available for all learners is essential for addressing today’s key education challenges in poor and rich countries alike. The quality of an education system can exceed neither the quality of its teachers nor the quality of its teaching.
investing in teachers

Investing in teachers can transform education and will be crucial for the effective delivery of a post-2015 education agenda that focuses on equity and learning. Teachers who have adequate subject and pedagogic content knowledge, are effectively trained, and are sensitive to the diverse needs of learners can make a huge difference on the education of students, especially in the early years of schooling. Governments must ensure teachers are appropriately prepared and supported – and development partners must focus their long-term technical and financial assistance efforts to build the capacity of countries that lack necessary resources.


Professional Development for Teachers

INEE has produced a new publication, Where It’s Needed Most: Quality Professional Development for All Teachers, edited by Mary Burns and James Lawrie.

Some of you may have been party to the early development through input to the INEE hosted online forum.

The publication highlights the need to improve the planning, implementation, andsustainability of teacher professional development in crisis situations. This particular topic remains under-theorized and under-researched, further perpetuating the cycle of poor teacher professional development and, consequently, poor overall education delivery in humanitarian and development contexts. This guide aims to redress this omission by outlining a set of good practices in high-quality professional development for teachers who work in such contexts.

The publication draws upon the rich information produced by the INEE-hosted online forum Teacher Professional Development in Crisis and accompanies the annotated bibliography on the same topic.

Low cost but frequent and continuous school based  professional development is critical for those developing countries (too many unfortunately) who have increased enrolment but not increased appropriate professional development opportunities to cope with larger classes, few resources and increased accountability for results. Although the paper above is dealing with crisis situations, there are many relevant approaches which can be applied to most situations.

Teachers in Timor-Leste

I have written about teachers and students in Timor Leste before, so was pleased to find the article below, in relation to World Teachers’ Day.
When I started working in Timor Leste- the schools were just burnt out shells and there were no trained teachers.
Many new teachers were growing rice one day and recruited as teachers the next.

Teachers in Timor-Leste – the Bridge to the Future

World Bank   SUBMITTED BY JOAO DOS SANTOS ON THU, 2012-10-04 12:54

My gratitude and appreciation to all the teachers around the world for the wonderful work they do in contributing to education and development, in particular teachers who serve in Timor-Leste.

Your worth has been recognized internationally since 1994 – today is your day, World Teachers’ Day on October 5th.

Recently while visiting a few schools in Aileu, Ainaro and Liquica, I spoke to teachers, students and parents in villages about the profound difference teachers were making.

Fatima Cardoso, a 28 year old mother with seven children, lives in the high mountains of Aitutu village, Ainaro District about 84 kilometers from the capital Dili. Five of her children are now studying at school, She explained:

“Teachers are just like a bridge to help students pass to their future. I really appreciate the role of teachers. They help guide our children in the right direction. As parents we want something different for our children, we want our children to have a better education.”

“We are lucky because the school is very close school with very dedicated teachers working there, some have to spend hours on foot to reach the school to teach the students.”

Teachers like these are the backbone of education in Timor-Leste and the significant gains achieved during the last decade. Now 90 percent of primary aged children are enrolled in school and more children are staying in school, with three quarters completing all primary grades in 2010. More Timorese are able to read and write, with literacy rates among 15-24 year olds increasing by 70 percent between 2001 and 2007.

Teachers are playing a vital role to respond to the needs of children, the hope of thousands of parents and the dreams of government for a better development, as it is constituted in the National Strategic Development Plan of the Government of Timor-Leste. All of us count teachers as one of the key actors for a nation’s development.

Roberto de Araujo, the School Coordinator of Querema Primary School at Hatubuilico, Ainaro District, started teaching in 1994, during the Indonesian occupation.

“Teaching for me is about transferring all the knowledge we have to students. Helping them discover their ability guides them with moral knowledge and encourages them to understand the importance of education for their future, so the success of the students depends on the success of the teachers.”

Antonio Ximenes Paixeco, 17 years old, is a former student of Querema School, and is now studying at senior high school. I met him on his way home from school and spent a few minutes talking to him, asking him a few questions about his former teacher Roberto.

“I still recall the good things I got from him, he is very committed and very patient. I like the way he teaches, he really understood the subject before presenting it in the class. He will go over things until each of us understands.”

Although the teachers have made progress there remain challenges, in both the quality of education and the school infrastructure.

The World Bank has been supporting the education and training sector in Timor-Leste since 2000, with support from AusAID and other partners through financial as well as technical assistance. In recent years, the support has focused on expanding access to primary and secondary education through improving school facilities and learning and teaching materials, and strengthening the quality of learning through teacher training and curriculum development.

Earlier this year, over 600 teachers graduated with a degree in basic education from the National Institute for the Training of Teachers and Education Professionals, part of a broad strategy to both expand access and quality of basic education. “The training was really important, it has helped us understand that the learning process in the classroom has completely changed. Before, teachers were at the center and were 80 percent more active than the students. Now it has changed. Students have become central and are about 80 percent more active than a teacher. This has increased the students’ participation in the class and they are more active in the group discussion”, said Geraldo Ribeiro Soares, Director of Ulmera Primary School, in Liquica District.

Boaventura Maria Soares is a young teacher at Ulmera Primary School, of Liquica District. He started teaching in 2008 and graduated from University in 2010. As a young teacher, he is very appreciative of the training programme for the teachers provided under the Ministry of Education.

“The training is very important, as we now understand that the world is changing, there are new things that we need to know, such as teaching-learning methodologies. This will help us to use more up to date teaching techniques used in other countries, linking to more effective learning processes and impacting on quality of education across the country”.

Education is one of the most important pillars to reach your goals and dreams. World Teachers’ Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.

Political Violence and Intimidation Against Teachers in Zimbabwe

Having been a teacher myself, but only been threatened by drunk parents or wayward adolescents,it is difficult to comprehend the pressure that many teachers are put under, just for doing their job.

In Northern Tanzania teachers can be threatened just for trying to help girls achieve well at the end of their primary years (parents want to get them married early). In Colombia teachers in some areas have risked their lives to teach in Escuela Nueva schools where they are in the middle of battles between FARC and the military. In Afghanistan teachers may be killed for encouraging girls to attend school. The report below outlines the sort of intimidation that teachers in Zimbabwe have been subject to:


Political Violence and Intimidation Against Teachers in Zimbabwe ((Research and Advocacy Unit)

This report is a follow-up of a report published earlier in February titled, “Every School has a Story to Tell: Teachers experience with elections in Zimbabwe”. Whilst the first report is largely given in summary form, recording the violations that teachers have experienced since 2000, this present report gives deeper understanding to the violations and puts them in a global perspective. The report feeds into a broad campaign to promote the Right to Education by calling for the criminalisation of attacks on education and educational institutions. The report bridges the gap and provides knowledge of the existence and extent of attacks on education in Zimbabwe.


The full report is available here

The Experience of New Teachers: Results from Talis 2008

The Experience of New Teachers: Results from Talis 2008 (OECD)

This report examines the working lives of new teachers through the Talis 2008 survey of lower-secondary teachers and schools. new teachers are defined as having two years or less of teaching experience. In most countries, new teachers assume virtually the same teaching responsibilities as more experienced teachers, but they report that they often lack the necessary classroom management skills for effective teaching and learning. Their classrooms often have insufficient time devoted to teaching and learning and poorer disciplinary climate.


The full report is available here.

World Teacher’s Day – October 5th 2009

World Teachers’ Day is held annually to commemorate the anniversary of the signing in 1966 of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers. It is an occasion to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. This year World Teachers’ Day is putting the spotlight on the global teacher shortage and the challenges of being a teacher today.

Treguine camp 0

It is particularly important to recognize the commitment  of teachers who work in particularly difficult conditions, such as in refugee camps, emergency situations and places involved in conflict. I remember while working in Colombia, when teachers from communities who were being attacked on both sides ,from FARC and from military forces, and their lives were at risk. I asked how can you keep teaching under those conditions. They replied,”because we love the children”. We must remember also those teachers trying to teach in places such as Afghanistan ,encouraging girls to be educated and then tortured or killed because they try to keep the school open.

INEE tries to ensure that teachers are adequately supported while working in such conditions and provides resources and  guidance for  governments and NGOs. The following appears on the website of INEE.

Along with structures, supplies, curricula and furniture, appropriately qualified teachers are critical for the provision of quality, relevant and protective education. In emergency situations or during transition and recovery, teachers not only enable children to continue learning but they also provide life-saving information and serve as a source of reassurance and routine for children and the wider community. Yet a global total of 10.3 million teachers need to be recruited between 2007 and 2015 and the areas most desperately in need of teachers are those affected by or recovering from crisis, fragility and displacement (for more info, see here)

The INEE Secretariat presented on the issue of teacher support and compensation on 28 September, on behalf of the network, at the Tenth Session of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART) in Paris, France. The presentation allowed INEE to share information from members around the world about how crises are affecting teacher support and compensation and how that in turn negatively impacts upon quality and protective education. The INEE Secretariat then presented on the good practices contained in the INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensationin Fragile States, Situations of Displacement and Post-Conflict Recovery (INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation), which were developed in a widely consultative manner under the leadership of an interagency advisory group (INEE Secretariat, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children Alliance, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, Women’s Refugee Commission) with inputs from consultations and case studies prepared by INEE members working in Afghanistan, the DRC, Ethiopia, Guinea, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, the Thai-Burma border and Uganda.  The INEE Secretariat advocated that the Committee of Experts utilize the guidance within this tool to inform the application and monitoring of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation as it relates to issues of teacher remuneration, support and teaching and learning conditions in crisis and post-crisis settings.

INEE is pleased to highlight the fact that a standardised PowerPoint and targeted User’s Guides on the Teacher Compensation Guidance Notes have been developed for:

These User’s Guides explain why the INEE Guidance Notes are relevant for each of these actors and how they can be utilized; it also shares relevant lessons learnt for those preparing to use this tool. These tools will support INEE member and partner discussion and action on teacher support and compensation issues, including when specifically introducing the INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation to a new audience. All these resources, and more information about INEE’s Teacher Compensation Initiative can be found here:

Apart from these guides, we take this opportunity to highlight a number of other tools, resources and websites below that we hope you will find useful, and might be of particular interest as we celebrate the work of teachers worldwide.

INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit Thematic Guide on Teachers and other Education Personnel To help contextualise the good practice guidance within the INEE Minimum Standards, this Thematic Tool Guide contains practical field-friendly tools, guidelines, checklists, case studies and good practices linked to specific Minimum Standards relating to how to train, manage, compensate and monitor teachers and other education personnel, providing them with the necessary materials, support and supervision. Download here.

INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensationin Fragile States, Situations of Displacement and Post-Conflict Recovery (INEE Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation)
These Guidance Notes, available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic, provide guidance on the policy, coordination, management and financial aspects of teacher compensation, but also on teacher motivation, support and supervision. Download here.

Teachers Under Threat Podcast
As part of the Beyond School Books podcast series on education in emergencies and post crisis transition and in recognition of World Teachers’ Day, Amy Costello speaks with Dr Mario Novelli, Lecturer in International Development at the University of Amsterdam and Mr. Sunai Phasuk, Thailand and Burma researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, about targeted attacks on teachers in Colombia and southern Thailand, and the devastating impact this is having on the education of children. Listen from here.

Education International World Teachers’ Day page and poster
Education International represents nearly 30 million teachers and education workers operating in 172 countries and territories, from pre-school to university. As the world’s largest Global Union Federation, Education International works to protect the rights of every teacher and education worker, and every student they educate. Download here.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics Information Sheet on Global Demand for Teachers
A brief on the number of teachers needed worldwide. Download here. Please note that, according to UNESCO, by the end of the week a technical paper on the Teacher Gap will be available at

In addition, there are a number of relevant reports available on the INEE Teacher Compensation webpage under the Related Resources Box, including:

  • Listen to the Teachers: Education in Rural Africa
  • Meeting EFA: Afghanistan Home-Based Schools
  • Leveraging Learning: Revitalizing Education in Post-Conflict Liberia
  • Teaching Well? Educational reconstruction efforts and support to teachers in postwar Liberia
  • Managing Teachers: The centrality of teacher management to quality education. Lessons from developing world


World Teacher’s Day website:

Education International:

Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART):

UNESCO Teacher Training Initiative for Sud-Saharan Africa (TISSA):

EFA Working Group on Teachers:

UNICEF Handbooks for Teachers & Educators

Child Protection
Compendium on Quality in Basic Education

Human Capacity

roleplayTrain copy

Working with head teachers and teachers in rural and isolated  areas makes you humble while at the same time angry! Humble because people with so little in terms of material possessions can offer so much to their students. Angry because those in authority living in urban areas may look down on rural dwellers with some disdain and limit their opportunities and restrict their development.

Floating school,Cambodia



We need to educate  those in authority that everyone has capacity to learn and develop and those in rural areas need a belief in themselves that they can learn well.


Ray Harris 2009