Governments and international partners must invest in quality teachers. That’s according to an EI delegation that attended the launch of the 2013/14 Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report (GMR) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The call was made at a discussion forum jointly organised by EI, the International Task Force on Teachers for EFA, and the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), soon after the GMR launch on 29 January. The discussion forum focused on the theme, “The GMR 2013/2014: Implications for a renewed agenda for Teachers and Quality Education”.
Resources, infrastructure, and training
Governments must demonstrate political will and commitment to improving teacher training and the status of the teacher, said Marieme Sakho Dansokho, EI Executive Board member and General Secretary of the Syndicat des Professeurs du Sénégal(SYPROS), at the forum. Welcoming the findings of the GMR, she urged governments to improve infrastructure and provide resources to enable teachers to carry out their duties effectively. “An improved status of the teacher can attract the best candidates into the profession,” she said. “Coupled with appropriate initial training and professional development, this can improve the quality of education.” She urged governments to strengthen social dialogue and involve teacher unions in education policy development.
Government commitment deficit a regret
Another EI Executive Board Member, Margaret Rwabushaija, lamented the lack of government commitment to address teacher and education quality issues. Rwabushaija, who is also National Chairperson of the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU), highlighted UNATU’s campaign, Mobilising for Quality Public Education, that was launched near Kampala in December.
Evidence in the GMR confirmed the need for governments to have comprehensive teacher policies, added Edem Adubra, Head of the Secretariat of the International Task Force on Teachers for EFA. Adubra stressed the need for governments to adhere to the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers and the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel.
EI/ETA seminar on trade union rights
Coinciding with the GMR launch was a three-day seminar on trade union rights organised jointly by EI Africa region and the Ethiopian Teachers’ Association (ETA) in Addis Ababa, from 27-29 January. The workshop, facilitated by EI Senior Coordinator for Africa Emanuel Fatoma, brought together 25 participants from various ETA regional organisations to discuss human and trade union rights, as well as ETA’s role in promoting these rights.
The topics discussed ranged from ETA’s aims and objectives, power structure, and ILO conventions as they affect teachers. Ethiopian labour laws, collective bargaining, and EI as defender of teachers’ rights were also discussed.
The workshop concluded with a presentation on EI’s Unite for Quality Education campaign by Dennis Sinyolo, Senior Coordinator for Education and Employment. Participants suggested that EI be asked to provide training programmes for ETA members.
In her closing remarks, EI Chief Regional Coordinator Assibi Napoe urged ETA leadership to continue to defend educators’ rights in their country and to play an active role in the region. EI Executive Board members Margaret Rwabushaija and Marieme Sakho Dansokho also attended the closing ceremony.