In March 2016, VVOB was accepted into UNESCO's Teacher Task Force, an initiative to support the achievement of internationally-set education goals. The Task Force is the hub for teacher-focussed initiatives and a global alliance of partners working together to address the need for more qualified and motivated teachers worldwide.
Teacher professional development at the heart of VVOB’s education portfolio
Joining the Teacher Task Force was a logical move for VVOB, working in close partnership with ministries of education around the world on teacher development. VVOB supports initial teacher education and continuous professional development in all of its projects and programmes. VVOB achieves this through capacity development and the strengthening of institutions for initial teacher education, in-service teacher training providers and structures supporting school leadership. VVOB’s membership in the Teacher Task Force now offers greater opportunities to learn from others and share knowledge and practical experiences on teacher development, which can lead to collective actions at all levels.
Teacher Task Force as a multi-stakeholder partnership
The Teacher Task Force is a multi-stakeholder partnership of entirely voluntary nature, with more than 100 members including national governments, intergovernmental organisations at global, regional or subregional levels and other UN agencies: international non-governmental organisations, civil society and global teachers' organisations, bilateral and multilateral international development agencies, and global private sector organisations and foundations.
The Teacher Target in SDG 4
The Teacher Task Force has been actively involved in processes related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focussing on the place and role of teachers and teaching in designing the new international education agenda and shaping its implementation modalities. In 2014 and 2015 intensive consultations took place to review the status of achievement of the six Education for All (EFA) goals adopted in Dakar in 2000. Under the leadership of UNESCO, global education partners have encapsulated their vision on education for the next 15 years in the Education 2030 agenda. World leaders gathered in New York in September 2015 to endorse the Sustainable Development Goals for the next fifteen years, with Goal Four aiming to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all". This ambitious goal is indispensable for the realisation of all other SDGs and can only be achieved if educational systems are supported by a qualified teaching force. This is why the global education community made the pertinent pledge in the Incheon Declaration, which clearly articulates the comprehensive approach to Teachers and Teaching: "We will ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems."
Policy Dialogue Forum
As a new member of the Teacher Task Force, VVOB participated in the 8th Policy Dialogue Forum which took place in Mexico City from 15 to 17 March 2016. This Forum concentrated on the theme 'Implementing the Teacher Target in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Education 2030'. The main focus was on sharing relevant policies, practices and tools among international key stakeholders with a view to facilitating the understanding, implementation and monitoring of the Teacher Target in the SDGs and new the education agenda. Discussions were organised around four subthemes: teacher education (pre-service, in-service and professional development, innovation and pedagogy), teaching and learning, financing teaching and teacher development, and monitoring and evaluation in teacher development. Nearly 300 participants attended the Forum, including a diverse representation of national governments, global and regional intergovernmental organisations, international nongovernmental organisations, teacher organisations and associations, development agencies, private companies and foundations.
Teachers for Education 2030 Declaration
Countries’ experiences and frameworks developed and applied by relevant institutions provided the substance of the sessions at the Forum. In-depth discussions of experiences and frameworks guided the formulation of conclusions and recommendations for facilitating the implementation of the Teacher Target at national, regional and global levels. Recommendations were consolidated in an outcome document: The Mexico Declaration on Teachers for Education 2030.
VVOB joining the Teacher Task Force deepens and formalises its ongoing partnerships with UNESCO. VVOB has recently strengthened ties with UNESCO in several of its programmes. In Zimbabwe for instance, UNESCO, VVOB and the ministries in charge of education successfully organised a joint workshop in April 2016 on teacher competences and standards. During this workshop, Mr Gerrit Stassyns, Programme Manager for VVOB in Zimbabwe, stated that the teacher professional standards and competence framework serve to define and articulate all the core values, knowledge, skills and attributes required of teachers, and provide a well-defined benchmark and platform for teachers to identify their professional growth needs.
Mr Stassyns reaffirmed VVOB's commitment to enhancing teacher competencies highlighting the importance of partnerships to complement the government's efforts to strengthen the quality of education.