Dan Jones, Campaigns Manager at RESULTS and Co-ordinator of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Education for All, discusses the groups recent event at Parliament.
On Tuesday 9th July, Mark Williams MP and the APPG on Global Education for All hosted an event to celebrate the Send My Friend to School campaign 2013 and this year’s theme, “Every Child Needs a Teacher”.
The event, which took place in a packed Jubilee Room off Westminster Hall, saw MPs, Peers, young campaigners, government officials and representatives from civil society and the private sector come together to discuss strategies for closing the global trained teacher gap. The event came a few weeks after the UN had published new figures showing that 57 million children of primary school age are still out of school around the world – only a small improvement on the previous year. And that just as progress appears to be stalling, donor aid to basic education had declined for the first time since 2002.
UNESCO estimates that 1.7 million more new teachers need to be recruited to achieve universal primary education by 2015 (nearly 1 million in Sub-Saharan Africa alone). This is not including 5.1 million teachers who need to be recruited simply to replace those retiring or leaving the profession. In addition to this major global gap, the event also discussed some of the specific challenges facing teachers in developing countries, such as class sizes as high as 150 students to one trained teacher in some countries. Other issues include the inequitable distribution of teachers with fewer, less qualified teachers in poor and rural areas, and the lack of teachers trained in an inclusive approach that supports children with disabilities and other marginalised groups.
Speaking at the event were this year’s Send My Friend to School Young Ambassadors, Mill Wells and Sam Whittingham, who earlier this year visited India to see some of the education challenges there for themselves. Sam and Millie represent around 500,000 young people from schools around the UK taking part in this year’s Send My Friend campaign, who are calling on world leaders to fulfil their promises to education for every child.
Dr Edem Adubra from the International Task Force on Teachers for Education for All also spoke at the event, and talked about the twin challenges of quantity and quality facing teachers in developing countries. He talked about the task force’s work to coordinate globally and to support countries to develop and strengthen their policies, capacity and financial investment in teachers to achieve education for all. You can download Dr Adubra’s presentation in full here.
Finally, Marg Mayne, Chief Executive of VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) highlighted the work her organisation was doing to strengthen education systems and teacher training. Marg talked about VSO’s ‘Valuing Teachers‘ research and its evidence on the importance of recruiting and training more female teachers because of the positive impact this has on girls’ enrolment in and completion of education. Marg concluded by highlighting the Global Campaign for Education’s call to action and the recommendations for the UK Government to use its vital position as the top bilateral donor to education to:
- Focus on reforming teacher training, in particular in service training, as part of its strategies to improve the quality of education.
- Invest in female teachers, particularly in rural areas and at lower secondary school.
- Find ways to incentivise good teachers to work in the areas in most need.
- Collaborate with national policy-makers and practitioners to embed inclusive education principles throughout teacher training and practice.
- Work with global partners on efforts to overcome shortages of trained teachers.
- Ensure that investment in teachers is recognised as fundamental to the success of post-2015 goals of achieving quality education for all.
The talks were followed by a short discussion and a drinks reception.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of RESULTS.