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Nigeria: To transform education, we need qualified, motivated and supported teachers

By the co-Leads of the thematic Action Track on teachers, teaching and the teaching profession, representatives of Nigeria, Romania and the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030

Ahead of the Transforming Education Summit in September, education ministers along with hundreds of youth, teachers and other stakeholders are meeting this week in Paris to revitalize efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 and transform education. Together, they are considering how to deliver on existing commitments and identifying new ways to recover pandemic-related learning losses and transform our education systems for sustainable futures. To help the education community get back on track and give new life to efforts to achieve SDG 4 between now and 2030, today we are launching a campaign to put teachers, teaching and the teaching profession at the heart of education transformation.

Barriers to the teaching profession are barriers to quality education

Putting qualified and motivated teachers into classrooms is the single most important thing we can do to support better learning outcomes. In many parts of the world, teachers are too few, classrooms are too crowded, and teachers are overworked, demotivated and unsupported, with the result that learning outcomes suffer. Alongside the educational disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, the quantitative and qualitative “teacher gap” is throwing our education targets, including SDG 4, way off track. Children in remote or poor areas are disproportionately affected.

More teachers are desperately needed. Globally, we are still millions of teachers short: recent estimates point to sub-Saharan Africa alone needing 15 million teachers to achieve SDG 4 by 2030. Compounding the teacher shortage, in many countries, teachers lack minimum qualifications and training.

Even if teachers are qualified, teacher retention rates are often low since poor working conditions and lack of support drive teachers to change careers. Too often, becoming a teacher is not seen as an attractive career path because the profession is poorly paid and poorly regarded. In many countries, teachers are simply not being paid a living wage, further undermining education systems.

The use of digital technology in education holds much promise for opening up learning to more children and young people. However, we need to improve access to technology for both teachers and learners, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and low-income countries where on average less than 1 in 3 schools have computers for learning and fewer than 1 in 5 have internet. We also need to better prepare teachers to adapt their teaching so that ICTs are used as a means to an end, not as an end in itself.

#TeachersTransform learning

During the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers were resourceful in continuing to educate and innovate in difficult circumstances. They forged new ways of teaching and engaging their students. Importantly, they supported students beyond academic learning, contributing to their well-being. In Rwanda, teachers innovated by using play-based learning to help rebuild students’ well-being following school closures and lockdowns. In Uganda, teachers used the radio to address learning gaps and to provide professional and well-being support to remote teachers affected by isolation.

Teachers know how to achieve the best learning outcomes for their classrooms and they should be given autonomy to organize and adapt to the changing needs of their students. This kind of flexibility has the potential to foster both bottom-up (grassroots) and top-down (system-wide) transformations. To support such efforts, school leaders should be given more autonomy and responsibility. And particular attention must be given to teachers working with displaced and refugee populations and those affected by conflict, including the educators themselves.

Governments and civil society must work together to build respect and trust for teachers and appreciation for the role teachers play in educating future generations. Serious commitment and investment are needed to grow the teacher workforce, improve training and support, include teachers in decision-making and raise the profession’s status.

Education systems need to transform to better support the teaching profession

To genuinely transform education, we must build a workforce of teachers who are engaged, respected and properly resourced. Consultations held as part of the thematic Action Track on teachers, teaching and the teaching profession have suggested three ways in which we can achieve this goal.

First, comprehensive national policies for the teaching profession need to be developed. These policies must provide stronger scaffolding for teacher preparation, career paths and governance, and should also lay out ways to empower leadership and promote innovation, develop qualitative frameworks and provide better work conditions.

Secondly, we need teacher participation in every step of decision-making and policy-making, through robust social dialogue. Teachers were at the forefront of the education response to COVID-19 and are best placed to address learning gaps and long-term learning solutions in the pandemic’s aftermath.

And lastly, we need to increase investment in wages, professional development and working conditions. As part of this, governments must honour their commitment of 20% annual expenditure on education. Domestic education budgets must grow and international donors need to increase levels of education aid to meet the benchmark of 0.7% of gross national income. Teacher policies should be properly costed and effectively implemented, especially in countries with the most severe shortages.

Much work remains to be done, but one thing is clear: teachers are central to transforming education and alleviating the global education crisis. Only together can we reimagine education and deliver on the promise of quality education for all.

Join the #TeachersTransform campaign launched today by the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030, as part of the thematic Action Track on teachers, teaching and the teaching profession. More information here.

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Unesco: Teachers are often trained in private institutions

The UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (#WHEC2022) started yesterday, aiming to reshape ideas and practices in higher education to ensure sustainable development. To feed into the discussions, we have released a new policy paper on the role and impact of non-state actors in tertiary education. One of the interesting findings illustrates the not-often mentioned role of non-state actors in teacher education, particularly in the Global South, which this blog explores.

As the new paper shows, non-state teacher training institutions operate in at least 22 sub-Saharan African, 17 Latin American and 7 South Asian countries. Non-state actors have made an important contribution to teacher education programmes in conflict-affected countries. In Afghanistan, non-state teacher training colleges were established in each province, along with rural college satellites to facilitate access for those in remote areas. In Angola and Mozambique, DAPP, a non-governmental organization (NGO), has played a key role in teacher training, in collaboration with the governments. In Somalia, where the main public institutions for teacher education were destroyed during the civil war, non-state actors have trained most teachers since 2002.

These teacher training programmes tend to be government regulated: State and non-state providers largely follow a centralized curriculum or qualification framework. In India, the government regulates minimum qualifications for trainers in both sectors, as well as the level of fees. In Mozambique, state and non-state institutions follow the same criteria and conditions for admission. In recent years, non-state teacher training institutions have been closed in Chile, Colombia and Ecuador for failing to meet minimum quality standards. In Costa Rica, poorly regulated non-state institutions offer programmes from which students graduate in considerably less time than required by public programmes.

But, non-state teacher training programmes are increasingly available by distance, which raises concern about the lack of a practical component. In response, some countries, including Chile and Mexico, have banned such programmes. In Brazil, where the law gives preference to teacher education conducted in person, as the figure below shows, 67% of entrants in initial teacher education enrolled in distance courses; of those, over 95% were at non-state institutions. In Botswana, difficulties in regulating the large number of online programmes offered by non-state institutions leave many unaccredited and likely substandard. Pakistan developed national standards in 2016 to accredit distance teacher education programmes and thus increase regulatory oversight over them.

The recommendations from our new paper, which echo those of the 2021/2 Global Education Monitoring Report, aim to harness non-state actors’ contributions without sacrificing standards or accessibility. They call on governments to ensure that, regardless of how state and non-state actors share responsibility, the tertiary education system continues to strive for more quality and equity.

  • Design laws, policies and programmes from an equity and inclusion perspective. Ensure that tertiary education financing does not favour some learners and exclude others. Increased cost sharing with households must be met with strong student financial support systems. Any attempts to diversify provision should be designed in a way that ensures equity.
  • Establish quality standards that apply to all state and non-state education institutions. Countries need stronger quality assurance processes. For-profit universities have come under scrutiny for offering lower-quality education and engaging in malpractice.
  • Establish common monitoring and support processes that apply to all state and non-state education institution Regulations need to be simple, transparent and efficient. Lack of monitoring capacity has led to corruption in cases involving non-state actors in tertiary education, with issues such as illegal admissions, aggressive marketing, unfair treatment of staff and embezzlement of subsidies.
  • Maintain the transparency and integrity of the public education policy process to block vested interests. Policymakers need to take into account insights and perspectives from all stakeholders, not just the powerful. Governments need to maintain trust in public policy processes through measures that promote transparency, including safeguarding against lobbying and revolving door practices.

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Uganda schools reopen after almost two years of Covid closure

Africa/Uganda/14-01-2022/Author and Source:

Children in Uganda have expressed their joy at finally returning to school nearly two years after they were closed because of Covid.

“I am really excited because it’s been a long time without seeing our teachers. And we have missed out a lot,” Joel Tumusiime told the BBC.

“I am glad to be back at school,” echoed another, Mercy Angel Kebirungi.

But after one of the world’s longest school closures, authorities warned at least 30% of students may never return.

Some have started work, while others have become pregnant or married early, the country’s national planning authority said.

About 15 million students have been affected by the closure, the government says.

“We can’t let this happen again. We must keep schools open for every child, everywhere,” the UN children’s agency, Unicef, warned on Twitter.

Some classes reopened in October 2020 temporarily but closed again in May and June of the following year.

While schools were closed, there have been some lessons via the radio, TV and newspapers while some schools have provided printed materials, but these have not reached everyone.

Wealthier Ugandans have also been able to access online classes and home tutors.

But many children have not been to school for about 22 months.

One pupil explained how she continued learning during the long hiatus.

“My parents never had the time to study with me. When schools were closed, I was able to read, but on my own. Sometimes I would meet with friends to study,” said Christine Teburwa. Like Joel and Mercy, she is in Primary Five, meaning they are between nine and 11 years old.

Pupils who have not had any education since March 2020 will resume classes a year above where they were before the pandemic.

However, some parents in the capital, Kampala, questioned this.

“My children have not been learning at all. I wish they could be allowed to continue from where they stopped,” Rachael Nalumansi said.

“Before the first lockdown, our children had only been in school for two weeks. So it is a bit concerning that they are now promoting them to the next class,” Vanetta Bangi said.

For those students who have not accessed any form of studying during the pandemic, the curriculum will be abridged to focus on core areas and give them a chance to catch up.

Lessons were already underway at some schools I visited on Monday morning while at others, students were still cleaning classrooms and re-organising their desks. Others were still registering with the school administration.

Boarding school students in Kampala and the nearby districts will start throughout the week, to avoid congestion on public transport.

Despite authorities instructing that health and safety measures like masks and social distancing should be in place, not all institutions have the space or facilities to ensure that these steps are properly followed. Some have huge numbers of students and very few classrooms.

But it is not only learners who will struggle, but many parents’ incomes were also hit by the pandemic, and some will find it difficult to raise money for tuition fees and other school requirements.

The phased reopening of schools, which started in November with universities and higher education institutions, was pegged to the vaccination of over 550,000 teachers, their support staff, and students aged 18 and above.

Uganda, which has had some of the world’s strictest lockdowns, is now moving to fully reopen the economy despite being at the start of its third wave of the pandemic driven by the Omicron variant.

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Kenya: Govt says Kshs 8B PRIEDE project has been successful

Africa/Kenya/17-12-2021/Author: CLAIRE WANJA/Source:

The targets of the Kenya Primary Education Development (PRIEDE) project funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to the tune of Kshs 8 billion in line with the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) has borne fruits.

Deputy Director for Education, Sebestian Owanga said the project, which has run for the past five years, involved training teachers on effective Early Grade Mathematics (EGM) teaching methodologies, training Headteachers  and Board of Management (BOM) chairpersons for prudent financial management as well as provision of EGM textbooks to 6 million grade one and two pupils.

Mr. Owanga, who spoke while on the assessment as well as closing mission of the project in Kakamega County through class observation sessions, he said the mathematics teachers can now ensure that they actively engage, infuse ethics and empower the learners during the lessons.

He said that the project has ensured adequate supply of text books and the learner to book ratio is one to one.

The DPCD stated that the newly adopted teaching methodologies employ the Competence Based Assessment (CBA) which is learner-friendly where they described as either Meeting Expectation (M.E), Approaching Expectation (A.E) or Below Expectation (B.E).

“The CBA tool has discarded the use of derogatory words such as poor or weak that would lower the self-esteem of pupils with low competence,” he observed.

A lesson goes on for grade 2 pupils at St. Martin mixed primary for the deaf in Mumias West sub county in Kakamega County.

He added the teachers have shifted from the pedagogy that emphasizes quantity to that of quality where learners are now engaged during the lesson, taught morals and at the end of the lesson they all empowered basing on their varied abilities.

He called on the head teachers to ensure that all the pupils are registered in the National Educational Management Information System (NEMIS) as capitation disbursement will be based on this information.

The Director Teacher Education (DTE) Margaret Mwandale said they are encouraging collaborative teaching and learning where two teachers handle a lesson together and the learners are paired up.

Mwandale stated that at first, they trained selected teachers in counties but through the School Based Teacher Support (SBTS) initiative, the trained ones have taught the others.

The DTE said their mission was to look at school enrollment, staffing, performance trend,financial management and community involvement in school activities.

She stated that parents and the community are key stakeholders in the implementation of CBC therefore they should part and parcel of the school management.

The Director observed that the introduction of the Teacher Performance Appraisal and Development (TPAD) tool has boosted teacher performance by reducing incidents of absenteeism.

She said as PRIEDE project closes, the next target is the teacher training colleges where they intend to ensure that the trainees are taught CBC-inclined pedagogical skills.

The other members of the delegation were Elizabeth Owiti from Elimu Coalition (EC) and Kananu Murungi from the directorate of Special Needs Education (SNE).

Joseph Muhombe, the Headteacher of St. Martin mixed boarding primary school for the deaf in Mumias West SubCounty, lauded the MOE, GPE and other development partners for the efforts of uplifting education standards in the country.

Mr. Muhombe, however, disclosed that only grade one and two classes have adequate mathematics text books but the other learning areas including English, environment and hygiene there is a shortage of textbooks.

The head teacher stated that grade three, four and five as well as standard six, seven and eight (last 8-4-4 system lot) have limited text books in all learning areas.

He said the school has an enrollment of 370 against 22 teachers, the he said is inappropriate as a class is supposed to hold 10 learners for a lesson.

The school head complained that they are forced to admit Pre-Primary 1 pupils (age 4) because the parents do not know the sign language to teach the children.

“The little children are admitted into boarding because the parents or guardians do not know the Kenya Sign Language (KSL) and failure to introduce the child to it at an appropriate age would make them be completely unable to learn it,” he explained adding thatin some instances the parents release the children for fear of stigmatization by the community.

The team also visited Kakamega primary in Kakamega Central Sub County and Eshitare primary inButere, Eregi mixed in Ikolomani (regular schools) as well as St. Emillian Eregi primary for the deaf.

All in all, the CBC programme will go a long way in molding all round learners by instilling the ethical values and equipping them with the desired competencies.

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Kenya: It’s time to introduce corporal punishment in schools, KUPPET says

Africa/Kenya/12-11-2021/Author: Source:

The recent wave of arson attacks in schools has seen a good number of secondary schools torched, leaving authorities with no option but close some of the affected institutions.

Amid questions over the motives behind the fires, education stakeholders are proposing drastic measures to curb this trend. The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) wants the Ministry of Education to allow the use of physical punishment so as to ensure more immediate compliant behavior in children.

“Our proposal to the ministry and the teachers service commission is let us bite the bullet and introduce corporal punishment,” KUPPET Busia Branch Secretary-General Morphat Okisai

Besides corporal punishment, Okasai says learners found guilty of indiscipline should be suspended and expelled from school in order to serve as an example to the rest.

“As it stands now, we have allowed the rights of children to override the rights of everybody else,” a tough-talking Okisai charged.

He says learning institutions must be protected from being razed down at all costs to prevent education in the country from being jeopardized by a few “bad elements” in society.

And that’s not all. Okasai says the ministry should consider employing full-time counselors to address student unrest and the torching of schools. He says the counselors who will be enlisted for school programs should be put into the Teachers Service Commission payroll.

He wants the ministry to find a long-lasting solution, reiterating that granting mid-term breaks to students is not a remedy to school unrest.

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Kenya: 90 schools to get internet connection under Digital Literacy Programme

Africa/Kenya/20-08-2021/Author and Source:

Nokia, Safaricom, UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of ICT have announced a joint initiative that will connect at least 90 schools with high speed internet.

Under the Digital Leraning Programme, the initiative aims to ‘connect the unconnected’, with the ultimate goal of supporting the Kenyan Government’s plans to scale broadband connection to all schools by 2030.

“As part of our Transforming Lives purpose and vision to become a purpose-led technology company, we are always looking for partnerships that allow us to use our services to deliver social impact in areas aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals. Our shared value partnership with UNICEF and Nokia allows us to connect schools in underprivileged areas and increase access to digital literacy. This will ensure that the students there are not left behind when it comes to reaping the benefits of an ever-increasing digital society,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom.

The connected schools are spread across rural and informal urban settlements in Kenya, serving an estimated 32,670 students.

Schools are using Nokia’s FastMile 4G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband solution to provide reliable, high-speed connectivity delivered over Safaricom’s 4G/LTE network. Nokia’s meshed WiFi Beacon technology is used to boost the Internet signal in selected classrooms and computer labs.

“An important belief that we hold at Nokia is the need to provide ‘broadband for all’. With remote learning becoming the prevailing issue during the Covid-19 pandemic, the topic of digital equity takes center stage again, so we are excited that this collaboration will facilitate access to many students currently unconnected. This is an initiative we are very proud to be a part of and hope that it is a significant step to a brighter future for all those reaping its benefits,” said Amr K. El Leithy, Nokia Senior Vice-president for Middle East and Africa Market.

The importance of good connectivity has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. School closures in Kenya in 2020 meant that children had to stay at home for six to nine months, leaving them reliant on remote learning.

The digital divide meant that students who could access the internet were better placed to continue with their learning.

“Children have a right to access quality education wherever they are, yet for too long, the digital divide has prevented disadvantaged children from enjoying the same benefits as their connected peers. By connecting schools to the Internet – with a focus on the most disadvantaged areas – we can start to level the playing field. This allows students and teachers to gain digital skills and access the latest education materials, providing a brighter future for some of the most vulnerable children in Kenya,” added Maniza, UNICEF Kenya Country Representative.

Schools equipped with a broadband connection, digital devices and teacher training will now be able to make better use of video communication, digital curricula and online content, thereby improving digital literacy and skills among school children.

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Kenya: KICD denies over supplying schools with text books

Africa/Kenya/13-08-2021/Author: ANTONY GITONGA/Source:

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) has denied claims that it authorized the oversupply of textbooks in public schools across the country.

The institute has attributed the move to the mass transfer of students from one school to the other due to Covid-19 that saw parents lose jobs and relocate to their rural homes.

In the last couple of months, headteachers and leaders have cried foul over the continuous dumping of unwanted books in the schools by printers.

Some schools have been forced to buy plastic water tanks to store the books with their stores already filled up.

But according to KICD Director Professor Charles Omondo, the flooding had affected a few schools after learners were transferred at the height of the pandemic.

“A few schools that were affected by the transfers had problems with the books supply but we are reviewing this problem,” he said.

Omondo at the same time denied that set books were being changed every year noting that KICD had evaluated all the books needed by schools.

“We have given teachers the books that have met the threshold and they are supposed to pick one per subject while the others can be used by the teachers for reference,” he said.

Addressing the press in Central Primary school in Naivasha, the director added that they are visiting schools to ensure grade five pupils have received learning materials.

He said that plans for the transition from 8-4-4 to Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC) system were in place with the government moving in to build in more classes.

KICD has further disassociated itself from a long list of books being demanded by some private schools

Earlier, Gilgil Mp Martha Wangari had raised an alert over the possible loss of millions of shillings in procurement of textbooks for public schools.

According to the Mp, schools were oversupplied with hundreds of books that they did not need as part of the capitation fees that went to pay the printers.

“It’s time that we allowed teachers to procure the books that they need and we should put a threshold on the amount used to buy the books,” she said.

She added that tens of schools in the country had been oversupplied with books that they did not require while set books were being changed every year.

“When parliament resumes we shall summon the CS for Education to clarify on this issue where printers are dumping unwanted books in schools,” she said.

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