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Teacher Development Becomes a High Priority at Pan-African Conference

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African Descent Teacher in Kindergarten School

The Pan-African Conference on Teacher Development (PACTED III) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, discussed the status, training initiatives, and opportunities for teacher development in Africa. Held from July 16-17th, officials from 18 countries and representatives of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, the African Development Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, and civil society organizations were among those in attendance.

Education International (EI) Vice-President, Irene Duncan-Adanusa, noted several prerequisites for quality teacher education development: teacher recruitment, teacher education and development, teacher motivation, and social dialogue. She concluded her keynote speech by saying that “as no nation can rise above the level of its education system, so it is that no educational system can rise above the level of its teachers. Therefore, there can be no genuine transformation of education without transformation of society’s perception of teachers and a revaluing of the work that teachers do.”

Duncan-Adanusa announced the EI Mobilising for Quality Education (MQE) campaign set to launch on October 4. MQE hopes to ensure the recruitment of high-caliber candidates for teachers, the provision of high-quality resources, and increasing access to education by harnessing the immense power of technology. Additionally, Edem Adubra, the Head of the Secretariat of the International Task Force on Teachers for EFA presented plans for establishing and working on the PACTED Continental Teacher Development Roadmap which aims to ensure highly trained teachers for schools across the nation.

The forum discussions resulting in a call for prioritizing teacher development and quality education is not new. Sub-Saharan Africa’s education sectors are suffering from a lack of resources. The 2012 Education for All Monitoring Report speculates that African countries must recruit over 2 million teachers to achieve universal primary education by 2015. Other challenges discussed during the conferences included the need for greater teacher organizations’ involvement in PACTED discussions, recruiting and retaining quality educators, investing in teacher training, encouraging teacher professionalism, and improving teacher morale and motivation. EI says “teaching should be an attractive professional and not just a waiting room for job opportunities.”

According to Fuad Ibrahim, Ethiopian State Minister of Education, the teacher education training system has begun undergoing a transformation and it will continue to improve the system. The nation has 35 teacher education colleges that have been training thousands of educators.

The African Union remains committed to raising the bar for the future by making the necessary investments in improving teacher training and standards of professionalism. There is a consensus that the dialogue needs to continue as the African countries work to provide the resources and develop the education system for the future.

Creative Commons Love: USAID U.S. Agency for International Development on Flickr.com

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